Angie Onassis Parlionas
CEO, YOYO Lipgloss
Former St. John's University Peter J. Tobin College of Business MBA student Angie Onassis Parlionas is the inventor and CEO of YOYO Lipgloss—lipgloss that is attached to a retractable reel that clips onto your jeans, belt or handbag, making it easily accessible. The birth of YOYO Lipgloss came to Angie when she was a young child. “I was obsessed with lipgloss and lipstick so much so that my parents would punish me by taking it away from me. So one day I thought, ‘wouldn’t it be great if I could actually have my lipgloss semi-permanently attached to me?’” That is when YOYO Lipgloss was born.
The groundwork of her invention began with a search to confirm no other similar product was currently on the market. When no exact matches were found, Angie proceeded to build a business plan, based on what she had learned in Professor Larry Boone’s Entrepreneurship class in 2003. This plan helped her to determine profit potential, industry and target consumer information, and growth potential within the US cosmetics industry. From that point she got online and researched manufacturers around the world, choosing three in Zhejiang, China because of their excellent pricing and communication skills. Angie and her mother, who is also an investor in YOYO Lipgloss, traveled to Guangzhou, China to attend The Canton Fair and to meet her manufacturers of choice.
YOYO Lipgloss is now sold in over 75 locations nationwide and has already sold over 1,980 replacement tubes and 24,000 YOYO Lip Glosses since its inception in December of 2007. Angie attributes the new-found success of her product to professors such as Larry Boone and Leon Schiffman who she feels truly fostered her educational experience at the Tobin College. “Many teachers don’t realize that it takes one person to say the right words or teach in a certain style that sparks interest in a student. These professors did exactly that for me,” says Angie. “Having had my own business when I began graduate school (an online DJ bookings company) helped me to better apply the techniques I was learning about in the classroom, so I was immediately able to use what I was learning about in real life,” Angie adds.
Because of the Entrepreneurship Class offered at the Tobin College, Angie quickly realized her online DJ bookings company would not be profitable or marketable and scratched that idea for YOYO Lipgloss. Angie also feels that her Tobin education also taught her how to properly conduct research, discover credible sources of information and develop discipline and character.
The Executive-in-Residence program, another successful course offered at the Tobin College of Business, was also attended by Parlionas. “During this class, we created a business model for KeySpan Corporation and at the end of the semester, we presented our final project to KeySpan’s board. It was an amazing experience that also aided in my being able to build an effective business model for my own company.”
Employing over 50 sales people, and four in-house employees, YOYO Lip Gloss will be featured in Joyce Leslie this spring and they are currently in negotiations with several large retailers as well as distributors for product placement. Angie also has plans to expand internationally, and hopes to build a foundation that would permit some of the company's profits to go towards social causes. Sales are progressing as projected within their business model. “I live YOYO Lip Gloss. It is all I think about and there is no doubt in my mind that this product will continue to be profitable,” says Parlionas.
To learn more about YOYO Lipgloss, logon to www.yoyolipgloss.com.