Smart is identifying a need, figuring out how to fill it yourself and then turning it into a burgeoning business—while still balancing school and a full- time job.
To say Tasia Richardson is busy is an understatement. The senior criminal justice major from Battle Creek, Michigan, is a factory worker and WMU student ambassador by day and lip gloss mogul by night.
“Coffee is my best friend,” she laughs. “Most nights I'm falling asleep making the lip gloss, but it's worth it.”
Her business venture, Eunique Kisses—a play on her middle name, Eunique—is a passion project that grew out of necessity. A self-described “girly girl,” she had trouble finding lip gloss that stayed on all day and didn't dry out her lips. So, she decided to make it herself.
“The process of getting my business up and running started with doing a lot of research on things that are good on lips, benefits from certain ingredients, and also my main focus was marketing.”
Despite a few bumps in the beginning of her journey—including launching a business during a pandemic—Richardson kept at it and pushed on toward her dream. On a typical day over the summer, she would work in the factory at Kellogg from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., take an hour break and then work until about midnight at her parents' house perfecting and packaging her lip gloss recipes, developing marketing strategies and handling sales. Now that fall semester is underway, she'll continue growing Eunique Kisses from her apartment while also introducing prospective students to the WMU campus as a student ambassador and tour guide.
“Helping students decide what college they’ll go to, that’s a big decision to make that determines your future. So, to be a part of that decision-making, that’s really big,” says Richardson, who is happy to share her own Bronco success story. “WMU set me up for life by making me believe in myself. The school cares about every student and will do whatever they can to make you succeed.”
Richardson’s full tuition is covered as a Future Force scholar. The program, in partnership with the Southwestern Michigan Urban League, offers a full scholarship to Battle Creek high school students who complete an intensive four-year program that focuses on building college readiness, developing leadership skills and volunteering in the community while also excelling in the classroom.
“Western has pushed me to challenge myself. I honestly don't think I would've had as much courage as I did with Eunique Kisses if I weren’t attending Western,” says Richardson, who aspires to use her sign language minor and become an interpreter after graduation while continuing to grow her business. “I'm proud to be a Bronco because we inspire each other, we motivate each other, and the atmosphere is unmatched.”