BIG IdeaBounce 2024 | 14 Finalists Dazzle In SharkTank Contest

Team Chick

School Affiliation: WashU Olin

Description: Chick is developing simple skincare products using live probiotics from the ancient grain kefir that will strengthen the skin’s natural barrier and promote a balanced and diverse skin microbiome.

Problem:

Chick is addressing the problem of persistent acne. Existing skincare products use bacteria-killing ingredients that offer short-term relief from skin conditions like acne, eczema, and rosacea. While many of these products are successful at killing bad bacteria on the skin’s surface, they also kill good bacteria that promote a healthy microbiome, weakening the skin’s defense mechanisms and causing dehydration, inflammation, and heightened susceptibility to future breakouts.

Solution:

Chick is creating a series of probiotic skincare products using kefir, the most powerful probiotic in the world; a single tablespoon of kefir grains can contain anywhere from tens of billions to over a trillion live probiotic microorganisms. Probiotics restore and maintain a healthy microbiome, addressing the skin’s issues while preserving its natural defense mechanisms. They strengthen the skin’s natural barrier, guarding against pollutants, allergens, and irritants. Finally, they enhance skin hydration, reduce inflammation, and hinder acne-causing bacteria growth.

Market:

We conducted interviews with 50 Gen Z consumers in the age range of 18-25 from July to October 2023 to identify our target customer as GenZ consumers who are:

  • Struggling from persistent acne and unable to address all their skincare concerns
    • 100% of respondents had skincare issues they have been unable to solve with existing brands.
    • 80% of respondents experience negative side effects from their existing products.
  • Ingredient-conscious
    • 92% of respondents would pay more for a product with healthier ingredients as opposed to one with harsh chemicals.
    • 74% of respondents believe it is important that their skincare products are free of synthetic chemicals.
  • Long-term health-conscious
    • 82% of respondents have long-term skincare goals and consider future consequences when selecting a product.
  • Socially conscious
    • 83% of respondents actively look for skincare products that are ethical, sustainable, and cruelty free.
    • 91% of respondents would pay more for skincare products that are ethical, sustainable, and cruelty free.

Competition:

Chick distinguishes itself from competitors by harnessing the full power of kefir in its formulations. We stand apart by incorporating live probiotics into our acne treatment, in stark contrast to most “probiotic” offerings that feature inactive postbiotics. Competitors opt for postbiotic or synthetic chemical options because ensuring the stability and viability of live probiotic products can be challenging. However, Chick uses freeze-dried kefir grains in its acne treatment to create a stable powder, maintaining live probiotic benefits and creating a unique find in the industry.

Chick takes pride in offering pure, all-natural formulations that each incorporate kefir, unlike our competitors whose products are riddled with harsh synthetic chemicals that counteract probiotic benefits. Instead of the common emphasis on anti-aging that targets millennials and Gen X consumers, Chick will target Gen Z consumers. We highlight the anti-acne effects of probiotics and advocate a healthy socially conscious brand, aligning with the values of the emerging generation.

Value Creation:

Our product was inspired by our brother Marc, who was born with Down syndrome and autism and has additionally incurred a developmental delay so that he has the permanent cognitive ability of a one-year-old. When we were kids, our mom used to make us read the Velveteen Rabbit in order to understand real beauty–beauty beyond superficiality–which is the same type of beauty Marc has always shown us. We have been very fortunate in our lives to have had many incredible professors, mentors, and teachers, but none has been more impactful than Marc.

Marc has shown us to find the real beauty in people, to understand what really matters in life, and what it means to experience real unconditional love. He has shown us the truth about what is real, and that is what Chick is all about. The beauty industry has become so saturated with a message about fixing parts of yourselves that are supposedly imperfect, disliking parts of yourself that make you who you are, wanting to be someone else, and doing things that are harmful to yourself in order to achieve those ends. We hope to create a more positive message–a message about beauty in realness and beauty beyond the surface.

Our brand will emphasize health and taking care of your skin because you love it and want it to be healthy, not because you feel the need to sterilize it with chemicals and harm it in order to look a certain way. Through our real ingredients and emphasis on being your real self, we hope to emphasize the importance of seeking and achieving what really matters because what’s real is more valuable than anything superficial or shallow. We hope our story and message will resonate with our Gen Z audience in order to create a brand that extends beyond the product itself, creating a positive shift in the messaging and values of the beauty industry towards young people.

The Team:

Christina Trivisonno: Double major in Marketing and Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology (2025) Mary Trivisonno: Double major in Entrepreneurship and Ancient Studies (2025) Kevin Tibbs: B.S. Pre-medical Yuliya Kozina: Dual MBA and MD (2026)

Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.