SWAKE earns $2,500 in capital at UGA Entrepreneurship’s Build/Test Accelerator

Sweatproof makeup company seeking to change the way people think about perspiration
From left Jeffery Whitmire

As any person wearing makeup in the June heat can attest, makeup and sweat don’t mix.

But Vanessa Sachs, a UGA master’s degree student in consumer analytics and a fitness instructor, is on a mission to change the way people think about how sweat fits into their day.

Sachs launched her sweat-friendly cosmetics brand SWAKE after working through the UGA Idea Accelerator program in fall 2021. Since then, she’s been at road races, gyms and anywhere there’s sweat to let women try her foundation, which stays put during and after workouts.

“We know what we’re creating is changing the lives of those who use our products,” Sachs said. “Because we’re not just makeup. We’re for the ‘lifelete’ — those high achievers, those busy people who we love and who we are. Don’t let sweat be your enemy, let it be your empowerment.”

Sachs’ ability to craft a marketing strategy to expand her potential customer base and her established online sales record helped her win $2,500 at the UGA Entrepreneurship Build/Test Accelerator Pitch Contest on June 23.

Terry College Entrepreneurship lecturers Cali Brutz and Jim Flannery designed the Build/Test Accelerator to be the next growth stage for students who complete the UGA Idea Accelerator.

Judges — including MoveBuddha founder Ryan Carrigan, Chispa House owner Cartter Fontaine and Athens-based serial entrepreneur Bjorn Barja — evaluated each startup on how far they’d come since the Idea Accelerator phase and who was best poised to invest the $2,500 prize.

“The biggest thing is the traction you already have,” Carrigan told Sachs after announcing her win. “You’ve figured out your supply, where you’re going to get your demand, and your projections look pretty exciting. Any of you guys could have won; it was incredibly tight. But for you, the decider was that you’re going to get the max benefit of this $2,500 for where you are in your business.”

Other finalists included second-place winner Chicktopia, a company headed by poultry science student Chris Ayers and engineering student Jeffery Whitmire that produces automated chicken tractors for pastured poultry. Natural hair educator and product developer Odera Ani came in third place with her line of bespoke natural hair products and hair care training, DeraStyles.

DeraStyles, Chicktopia, SWAKE and the six other teams that participated in the Build/Test Accelerator will go on to participate in UGA Entrepreneurship’s Summer Launch Program, which aims to help entrepreneurs get into the market and start bringing in revenue.

The teams who participated in the 2021 Summer Launch Program generated $61,792 in collective revenue, Flannery said. He hopes this year’s group will clear $100,000 by the end of the summer.

For more information about joining a fall 2022 Idea Accelerator cohort, visit terry.uga.edu/entrepreneuership.