‘HotLips’, a mouthpiece heater invented by a Slippery Rock University student, won second place in the Student Business Plan Competition, taking home a cash prize of $5,000.
David Tini, junior music education major, created ‘HotLips’, which is a mouthpiece heater for trumpets, a year ago and entered the creation in the competition.
“You have to submit a business plan and have all the supporting documentations that goes along with it,” Tini said. “It was good for me to try and organize my thoughts into a specific, coherent manner.”
The Student Business Plan Competition is an event sponsored by the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. Tini said that there were over 200 applicants from across the state.
Tini said that the creation of his business has taught him a lot.
“It’s been an experience learning how to operate a business, how to do the paperwork for running a business in Pennsylvania and being able to communicate and explain things to potential investors and people who want to buy the product,” Tini said.
‘HotLips’ has been successful so far, with a reserve of a hundred units for fall, which is the busiest time for the product.
Tini currently has new products on the way for his ‘HotLips’ business, including mouthpiece heaters for the rest of the brass family, including trombone, french horn, tuba and mellophone.
These are the same concept as the original accessory for trumpets, but modified in size to attach to their respective instruments.
Running a business has added a lot of work to Tini’s schedule, and he said that he’ll work full-time over the summer on the business. Tini is currently doing his own assembly but is looking to grow the company by adding a few team members to work on things throughout the week while he focuses on schoolwork.
“There’s only so much time you can put into anything,” Tini said.
Tini said a lot of people in the music community have bought ‘HotLips’, including a member of the Pittsburgh symphony orchestra and a professor in north Texas who won a Grammy award for his trumpet playing. ‘HotLips’ has also found its way to high school and college students.
“I’m looking forward to next fall because a lot of people know about it. Before when you searched mouthpiece heaters nothing came up but now I’m the first thing on Google,” Tini said. “I think it’s going to expand rapidly and I’m very excited about it.”