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The Incredible Project of the Students from the Faculty of Chemistry

They discovered the competition by reading the newsletter of the Warsaw University of Technology’s Career Office. ‘We were curious about the task, so we registered on the platform, and so began our journey’, says Dominik Gutowski. The journey ended in Paris with the International Finals of L’Oréal Brandstorm 2017. Or maybe it just began for real?

FloChemists Team Members, i.e. Dominik Gutowski, Andrzej Wiśniewski, and Kamila Woźniak study Chemical Technology and participate in the Chemistry Science Club ‘Flogiston’. A competition like Brandstorm formed an opportunity not only to assess their knowledge, skills, and creativity, but also to see how the business world operates.

There were two categories in this year’s edition: Brand Challenge and Tech Challenge. Our students decided to try their hand in the latter. They had quite the task – to create a concept of an innovative product for L’Oréal Men Expert, which would attract new consumers – Millennials. In addition to the idea itself, a business plan had to be presented.

Solution Like the Fulfilment of Dreams

The team from the Warsaw University of Technology developed a hair care product that works without water. ‘The entire idea was to create a material that, thanks to its chemical and physical properties, would absorb hair sebum’, says Dominik Gutowski. ‘Such material would be placed on a comb, and you’d only need to comb your hair to clean it. We were inspired by existing oil-absorbing sponges used to collect oil in oceans after e.g. tanker accidents. Unfortunately, we don’t have a prototype of our product. Our knowledge is based on assumptions and the scientific papers we’ve read.
However, such is the scientist’s task: to exceed subsequent boundaries’.

Students from the Faculty of Chemistry have worked on their solution for about 2 months. ‘During this time, we’ve analysed men’s issues with body care, invented the product, checked that it’s theoretically possible to make, and developed the business plan’, describes Dominik Gutowski.

What’s interesting, it was not the solution’s technical aspects, but the business elements that constituted the largest challenge for our young engineers. ‘Fortunately, we could count for the help of L'Oréal’s employees’, says Dominik Gutowski.

On the Way to Paris

21 teams from the entire world took part in the competition’s international finals. To get there, one had to complete several stages: qualify for the domestic finals, win them, and then shine in the regional finals bright enough to advance to the Paris finals. ‘The Finals are structured like an expo’, says Dominik Gutowski. ‘The Jurors walked between team stands. Each team had 5 minutes for their pitch, and then 5 minutes for a Q & A. 10 minutes in total to sell their product’.

In the end, the winners included the team from Brazil (won in the Tech category), Thailand (won in the Brand category), and Singapore (who received the CSR award).

phot. Twitter / L'Oreal Polska

What Next?

‘For now, our idea will remain at the design stage’, says Dominik Gutowski on plans. ‘To develop it, we would certainly need a lot of time, research, and money, which kind of restricts us’.

However, young engineers want to take advantage of the knowledge and experience gained by participating in L’Oréal Brandstorm 2017. ‘I think that this competition was a good method of learning how start-ups work, and an inspiration to develop more ideas that we’ll certainly want to expand as start-ups’, summarizes Dominik Gutowski.


Agnieszka Kapela

Office for Promotion and Information