Late nights, long hours and lab work. In the midst of this and studying for the NBDE Part II, we had a crazy idea to start our own business as a creative outlet beyond dental school. For us, the transition into clinic came with a steep learning curve. Whether it was trying to remember a plethora of facts and guidelines when presenting patient cases to our covering faculty, or even scribbling down notes on loose paper (only to later misplace them), we felt that an extra bit of guidance and organization would have helped ease this transition.
Both of us enjoy art and this gave us a chance to hone our respective graphic design and business skills. After a whirlwind of research and planning, Lilac Paper bloomed. Lilac is the official color of dentistry, so it only made sense to incorporate this into our brand name. Our main goal was to create a product that we personally wish we had throughout dental school. Thus, the idea for designing a unique, dental-specific school planner came naturally to us. We compressed those loose, scribbled notes into a reference section filled with key dental facts, helping to save valuable time otherwise spent searching through Powerpoints. We also created patient tabs to record important details, meant to help users build stronger relationships with patients beyond a clinical level. It’s easy to get swallowed up in the rigmarole of dental school, so we incorporated weekly/monthly goals along with inspirational quotes to help mitigate the stress. We really wanted to make a unique product that any dental enthusiast would love. So, we made our planner completely customizable by allowing customers to selecting the start month, personalize the cover and let their chosen degree shine (RDH, DDS or DMD).
While we were counting down the release of our planners, we doodled teeth characters and decided to make fun badge reels and pins to brighten our dental school attire. We received such a positive response from our fellow colleagues, faculty and staff. Everyone encouraged us to share our products with students from other dental schools, which pushed us to develop our website.
Building a business based on our personal interests, while still being able to incorporate everything we’ve learned in dental school, has been such an unexpected adventure. We never thought we’d learn to master producing kiss-cut stickers, binding planners, and even putting together the perfect packaging. We currently do not outsource anything for production, so designing, printing, binding, cutting and assembling all takes place in our homes. This has been such a special opportunity to play both the roles of dreamer and creator: to bring our ideas to reality while being an integral part of the process from start to finish. More importantly, this has given us an opportunity to be a colorful part of some of the most important years of a dentist’s career. We hope you see some Lilac characters floating around at your dental school soon!
~ Rachel Dason and Charlene Veranunt, Loma Linda ’16
Charlene and Rachel are fourth year Loma Linda University dental school students. After graduation, Charlene plans on practicing General Dentistry in Los Angeles and Rachel will start residency in Dental Anesthesia. Charlene is passionate about helping the underprivileged in Thailand and both hope to continue to use their skills in dentistry to serve others.