I am the CEO of S. Mei Accessory, LLC.
It all started one day in September 2011. My curiosity drew me to a lecture called “How to Brainstorm an Idea” given by two local entrepreneurs. It was an introduction for the upcoming “Business Idea Competition,” sponsored by J. Christopher Burch, the co-founder of Tory Burch. The reward for the winners was $5,000.
It was a bright day. I was typing notes on my laptop when suddenly a ray of sunshine hit and revealed the stains on my laptop screen. Without anything handy to wipe them off, I used the tail of my plush raccoon pencil bag.
Where was my screen cleaner when I needed it?
I caught this moment. When the lecturer asked if anyone had a good idea, I stood up and pitched: “Don’t we all have this feeling, that our laptop screens are the filthiest when we have nothing but sleeves to clean them?”
The room boiled up. “You are absolutely right on!” The woman next to me was excited. She later became my business mentor and led me to the world of business. She ran a famous ice-cream company in upstate New York.
Of course I didn’t know that at the time; I knew nothing about business.But the challenge was alluring.
I entered the competition. Day in and day out, I asked myself questions and criticized my answers. A stylish, portable and high-quality screen cleaner for the young professional became my goal. I developed prototypes to visualize the progress and made a video to illustrate the market. Then I branded it “Mei” – my last name and a word for “beauty” in Chinese – and sewed it on a small white velvet box. I won.
I was satisfied. I invested the money on photography equipment and went back to my normal life as a journalist. But it was not the end.
During Christmas 2011, I had a thorough conversation with my mentor. We both agreed on the large market and the practicality of my product. She promised, “I will teach you anything you want to know about business.” So I resumed the project.
I developed a complete business plan, and advanced to a finalist in the New York State Business Plan Competition in April 2012. I didn’t win the prize, but I gained numerous connections.
I incorporated my business, and currently am working with a researcher at Cornell University to develop the best possible material for my product.
Meanwhile, I imported my favorite Chinese artists’ handmade jewelry and paper flowers, and opened my first Etsy store.
This is a story to be continued.
For more reports on my business, please go to:
To visit my Etsy Store, please click ( more products coming soon! )
To know about the Chinese artists’ artworks, please enjoy these pictures and video: