CSUF Entrepreneurship Success Story: Tristan Schmitt ’16

In today’s modern business world, the way in which companies conduct business is rapidly changing. In the past, companies would purchase items from a manufacturer and then sell them for a higher price in order to cover the cost of operating a store. However, growing popularity among online businesses is now marking the end of traditional brick and mortar stores. This transition to online markets has made the creation of businesses easier for prospective entrepreneurs.

Luckily for the Entrepreneurship students at Cal State Fullerton they are well positioned to take advantage of this new paradigm. For recent graduate Tristan Schmitt his success in the textile industry has helped propel his company, Modern Zinc, into the international marketplace.

Tristan started his entrepreneurial journey when he began attending Entrepreneurship classes at the Mihaylo College of Business and Economics. Then, during a venture creation class, Tristan and his group developed an idea that would soon be the foundations for which his future company would be built upon. By harnessing the power of zinc, Tristan and his group developed a business plan that focused on using zinc in textiles such as pillow cases and blankets.

”The concept of Modern Zinc came not long before my 465A Venture Creation class at CSUF. At that point Modern Zinc was just an idea with no real plan for the future. Throughout the 465A class I worked closely with a group of classmates, mentor, and professor to turn this idea into a realistic business,” said Schmitt.

After refining their business plan, Tristan and his team began to work closely with one another in order to solidify their project. With the help of his teammates, their teacher, and mentor the final business plan was created. The time put into researching this project was not only extensive, but also helped to make their project unique.

“Because the sheets and pillowcases we sleep on collect a lot of sweat, oils, and dead skin cells it is important to wash our sheet regularly…. Smart fabrics [with positive hygienic properties] such as silver- and zinc-infused fabrics had made a debut in the market…. No one was using this technology in the bedding industry so we saw an opening for a new product. We spend a third of our lives in bed so it seemed like a perfect place to use the technology,” said Tristan Schmitt.

After completing his class, Tristan approached his friend Andy Burde and together they launched Modern Zinc.

“My business partner Andy Burde and I went forward to build the brand with new logos, a website, and pictures. Through our network of friends, we were able to bootstrap this part of the process but still had a lack of capital to place our initial order with the manufacturer. This led us to use crowdfunding for this project through Kickstarter so we could start manufacturing our zinc-infused bed sheets.” Said Schmitt.

With a goal of $15,000 dollars for their crowdfunding campaign, Schmitt’s Kickstarter page garnered the attention of customers from all over the world. In order to assure their customers that their money was being well spent, different packages were offered to those who submitted a certain amount of money for every category. In addition, professional grade photos and videos explaining the product were also available on the page for those curious about the benefits of zinc.

Tristan and his business partner were able to raise $16,384 through their crowdfunding campaign.

“We have completed our Kickstarter campaign and just recently placed an order for the zinc-infused bed sheets. We expect the sheets to arrive in November from our manufacturer and we will start shipping them to our customers for Christmas. Once we have delivered the products to all our Kickstarter backers we plan to launch our e-commerce store and continue selling bed sheets online,” said Schmitt.

With a successful Kickstarter campaign and new business under his belt, it is no wonder that Tristan’s success in the market will only continue to grow as he continues to apply the lessons and skills that he learned from the Center for Entrepreneurship at Cal State Fullerton.

For more information about Tristan’s company, please visit the Modern Zinc website.

CSUF Entrepreneurship

We are dedicated to helping the next generation of entrepreneurs develop the skills that they need to compete locally and globally. The CSUF Entrepreneurship program does many things, including: consulting projects where students serve up fresh strategies to actual businesses, competitions for students from middle school to grad school, helping entrepreneurs go from concept to launch, frequent seminars and office hours for entrepreneurs and professionals, and much more. Interested in becoming a part of the CSUF Entrepreneurship community? Reach out to us at csufentrepreneurship@fullerton.edu for more information! CSUF Entrepreneurship depends on the support of the community, please go here to donate.

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