Ideas and discoveries

26 May 2023

In high school, she devoted herself to making cosmetics. She has now come second in the business competition and she is preparing new products

Monika Wikarská wants to connect science and business | Autor: Václav Koníček
With her own brand of cosmetics Wikarska Monika Wikarská from the Faculty of Chemistry at BUT took second place in the competition Let's do business. Although the doctoral student has been making creams or deodorants since high school, she resisted the business for a long time. But the competition and the interest of her surroundings gave her the necessary self-confidence. She founded the company and is about to launch several new products this year.

Monika Wikarská was born as a scientist. From an early age, she says she was fascinated by exploring things and finding out how the world around her works. Ever since I was a kid, when I discover something new, I want to explore it in depth. I've always tried to make everything myself,” she says with a smile, recalling, for example, her efforts to make her own magnesium.

It was no different in high school when she became interested in beauty products. “Before I even bought anything, I wanted to understand the ingredients so I could choose the right cosmetics for me. But I found that there's not much information on the packaging. So I started to look up the details and found that sometimes the information is quite contradictory. So I decided to study chemistry and try to make something myself,” says Wikarská, describing the beginnings of her cosmetics brand. In addition to soap and lotion, for example, deodorant was gradually added, as well as a number of satisfied customers from friends and acquaintances. “Based on the feedback, I've found that my cosmetics work much better than commercial products,” she adds.

I live in the present. Competition taught me to plan, says young scientist

When Monika Wikarská was deciding which path to take at the end of high school, she chose chemistry because of her interest in cosmetics. After her engineering studies, she applied for a doctoral study and thought she would pursue a career as a scientist. “I told myself that I didn't want to be an entrepreneur because I enjoy science more,” she explains. Even during her studies, however, she did not stop making cosmetics. “People around me were using it, coming back to it, so I found it was something that I think the market wanted. I set up a business and started selling Snow deodorant which is my most wanted product,” says Wikarská. And when she saw the Come Do Business competition, she thought she might give it a try. “The competition made me realise where I am and where I want to go. It's the part about the plans that is very mystical to me. I live enough in the present and what's happening now. I don't think about how big my business should be one day, how many employees I want to have, how many cosmetics I want to produce and sell,” she says, adding: “But this competition has shown me how important it is for me to grasp some of that, to anchor it and to be clear about where I'm going.”

The most popular product is Snow Deodorant. Now around 25 are sold per month | Autor: Paulína Strečanská

She says the forms she had to fill out in the first and third rounds helped her the most. “I basically had to put together a business plan. Filling it out helped me a lot to organize my thoughts. When you do it just for yourself, you often think that you don't really need it. But here I wanted it to be done well, so I really had to sit down,” says Monika Wikarská. She said she also very much welcomed questions from the commission. “There were people from the business who asked me difficult questions. They opened up the discussion and made me think,” she explains. But she sees the biggest benefit of her participation in the support she has received. “They gave me courage. I was thinking in small numbers until then. A person who doesn't know much about business doesn't trust oneself. Many times they changed the amounts in crowns into euros,” laughs Monika Wikarská, adding that she stopped being afraid of the business after the competition. “I feel now that I have a whole community behind me.”

New products and research projects

Right now, main focus of Monika Wikarská is on ensuring stable production with the quality she demands. “Manufacturing is still a burning issue. I am now communicating with several companies that could produce cosmetics,” she confirms, adding that it was only through this that she realised that the composition of the products is quite complex. “It never occurred to me when I made them myself,” she adds with a smile. She would like to launch four new products as soon as production can be secured. “It will be skincare products. Over the years I have tried hundreds of formulations and these four stood out for their functionality,” she explains why she chose them.

This year Monika Wikarská would like to introduce four more products | Autor: Paulína Strečanská
She believes that the combination of scientific experience and entrepreneurship brings great opportunities for her in the future. “It opens the door, for example, to writing joint projects. If cosmetics were the only reason to start a company, I probably wouldn't do it. Because there are enough cosmetics on the market. What motivated me to found the company was the opportunity to bring innovations from the scientific world to people. There are many scientists around me who have interesting and already applicable research, but connecting the two worlds is challenging in practice,” says Monika Wikarská, who has already established the first such collaboration. “I told my colleague Juraj Vodička that I would like to have a biodegradable packaging for my cosmetics, but I can't find any suitable ones. He contacted me a week later asking if we could write a project for SIGMA TAČR together, because his best friend Andrej Baco from Panara already has such material. It just hasn't been applied in cosmetics yet. We have already written the project and now we are waiting to see how it turns out,” says Monika Wikarská, an entrepreneur and scientist.



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