You Smell
MPW startups megan cummins you smell
Founder(s): Megan Cummins
Age: 27
School: Savannah College of Art and Design
Graduation: 2008

In 2007, Cummins was working on her thesis as a senior at Savannah. Her prompt? Create a package design. She decided to bundle handmade soap in vintage-inspired wrapping—and hasn't stopped since. She titled it You Smell and Cummins, now 27-years-old, says that customers frequently email her saying that they can even smell the soap when they open their mailbox. Like the Wild Squirrel founders, Cummins also appeared on Shark Tank this year; Robert Harjavec offered her $105,000 for a 20% stake in the company. The deal fell through once filming ended, but investors began calling Cummins—just in the knick of time. "I started a very difficult journey where [me and my fiancé] went broke and had to use our savings and engagement ring money to stay afloat," she says. An investor paid Cummins upwards of $140,000, and she gave him 30% of You Smell.

Up next? The luxury soap startup is building its customer base and expanding its product line (think body scrubs and liquid soap), then plans to start distribution conversations high-end chains. "The hardest part has been saying no to big opportunities that would make us fast money but would ultimately ruin the brand we've crafted—or crushed us from rapid growth," Cummins says.


  @FortuneMagazine - Last updated September 27 2012 02:56 PM ET
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