Introducing Kaurtino Scrunchies, by Bismun Kaur

Friday, October 21, 2022
by Bismun Kaur and Joieta Choudhury

One of the many beauties of the Science and Business program are the success stories that are created as a result of leveraging the resources, applying course content, and following the guidance of mentorship that the program has to offer. To introduce the launch of the Science and Business program’s newest collaboration, we’re excited to spotlight Kaurtino; an environmentally conscious e-commerce company that manufactures and sells luxurious handmade scrunchies made from high quality and repurposed fabrics.

Founded by Science and Business student, Bismun Kaur, Kaurtino strives to be “The Best Care For Your Hair.” Every scrunchie is sewn in Toronto by Kaurtino, a mother & daughter team with 52+ years of combined sewing experience! The company name derives from Bismun's last name, the Punjabi word “Kaur” meaning princess, and “tino” meaning small, therefore translating into “small items for a princess.” To date, Kaurtino has fulfilled 200+ orders, sold over 350+ scrunchies, and donated to social causes such as the YMCA Women’s Shelter and the Sick Kids Hospital.

Prior to starting her business, Bismun was passionate about hair care. Being a science student, she takes good care of her hair, growing it to over 45 inches long! Part of her hair care is scrunchies. Traditional hair ties are made from rough elastics causing tension, breakage and split ends. Kaurtino scrunchies reduce hair breakage as the fabric is so smooth that there is virtually no friction. Scrunchies allow the hair to be tension-free, encourage hair hydration, and promote silky smooth hair!

To celebrate the launch of the Science and Business program’s collaboration with Kaurtino, we had Bismun reflect on the past 1.5 years of success with her company.

1. Why did you start Kaurtino? 

I bought scrunchies in November 2020 but was disappointed with the quality. With my mom's 50+ years of sewing experience, we knew there had to be a better way! Thus, the idea of creating soft, silky, and luxury scrunchies was born. At the end of my 1A term, in December 2020 I made my first scrunchie! I wanted to focus on school, so in my 1B term I focused on product development to design high quality scrunchies. I launched Kaurtino on the same day of my last exam in 1B, knowing that I would have time in the spring term to focus on my business. The main objective of Kaurtino has always been to create and provide high quality scrunchies. The most rewarding aspect of my small business is exceeding customers' expectations! Nothing makes me happier than seeing others enjoy the Kaurtino products that my mom and I have built. I appreciate customer feedback and often seek their input for new colours and designs. 

2. How is Kaurtino unique? 

Because my mom and I sew every scrunchie ourselves, we can customize scrunchies to any fabric, colour & design. We have made custom scrunchies for our customer’s events such as birthdays, engagements, and weddings.  

Beyond creating high quality products, Kaurtino is committed to sustainability. We are eco-friendly as we use 100% of all fabric to reduce waste. This is achieved by creating a map and plan of exactly how we will cut the fabric (prior to cutting) to use the entire piece! With every order we provide a free scrunchie and elegant packaging which is perfect for gifts! Scrunchies are packaged in either reusable organza bags or recyclable tissue paper. Additionally, our stickers are made from acid free paper and soy-based ink. Moreover, the Kaurtino’s Fabric Repurpose Initiative repurposes donated clothing into scrunchies, saving clothes from being thrown to landfills.  

3. How did you overcome your biggest obstacle? 

As a small business, I could not afford to hire employees. Thus, my greatest obstacle was learning and perfecting new skills to make up for my lack of employees. Determined to make Kaurtino a success, I have acquired numerous skills and knowledge regarding budgeting, accounting, taxes, intellectual property, shipping, sewing, inventory & production, supply chain management, leadership, quality control, custom packaging, SEO, photography, cinematography, managing & creating engaging social media content and more! 

4. Do you have advice for other student entrepreneurs? 

Time management has become a buzz word with little merit — instead, I prioritize tasks. To optimize my time, I categorize tasks based on urgency and importance and prioritize the deliverables that are both time-sensitive and most significant. Additionally, one should be mentally and physically organized. For mental organization, I keep a separate agenda for my business and personal life. Moreover, I use a digital calendar to focus on current tasks and my physical UWaterloo calendar to assess the big picture for the next four months. For physical organization I keep my workspace minimalistic and clean. Time is money, thus I automate parts of my business whenever I can. I automated my POS onto my website and planned social media posts via Meta Business Suite. 

Entrepreneurs rarely share the mental journey it took to make their business successful. In the beginning I felt very overwhelmed; there was so much to do and only me to do it. But I took one step at a time, learned new skills, and never gave up! No successful business was built in one day.  

There is a misconception that starting a business is easy, fun, and highly profitable. This could not be further from the truth. I put countless hours into Kaurtino before it paid off. In the beginning, I felt discouraged, and the lack of results made me doubt myself. Few people believed in me, and I felt frustrated that my results were significantly and disproportionately less than my input of hard work. But if you really love what you’re doing, the purpose of your business, and its mission, then you will keep going back to it. Your brain might want to stop but your heart cannot, because you genuinely enjoy it. The speckles of success outweigh the depths of failure. That’s when I knew for me it’s more than just a business. To me it’s not about maximizing revenue but rather maximizing customer value (I don’t have investors so I have this freedom). Despite all my losses, I had faith in myself that one day my hard work will pay off (and if it didn’t, at least I had learned a lot of skills along the way). Success is inevitable if you learn from your mistakes and never give up because you keep failing until the only option is to succeed. The private victory is achieved much ahead of the public one, best said by Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji, “conquer your mind and you will have conquered the world”. 

5. What Science and Business or UWaterloo Resources Supported You? 

The Science and Business professors, Kashif Memon and Okechukwu Igboeli are very welcoming, supportive, and encouraging. Furthermore, the SciBus program itself provided me with a strong foundation of knowledge to feel confident in my ability to commercialize my idea through the courses that contributed to the expansion of my entrepreneurial toolkit.

The following courses have contributed to my business success: 

  • CS 100 - HTML Design  

  • HRM 200 - Recruiting and retaining talent 

  • SCBUS 123 - Market analysis and planning  

  • SCBUS 223 - Leadership and management amongst large groups 

  • AFM 123 - Using accounting and finance tools for budgeting and forecasting 

  • AFM 131 - Overview on business, structures, models, marketing, entrepreneurship 

In my winter 2022 term, I participated in Enterprise Co-op at the University of Waterloo’s Conrad School of Business. There, I gained access to alumni advisors that have also taken Enterprise Co-op. I am very grateful to have met Wayne Chang and Ren Kamalanathan who believed in me and gave me effective feedback for Kaurtino. I hadn’t understood the importance of a mentor until I met them! 


Altogether, starting and growing a business has been an excellent, challenging, and rewarding experience. I am sincerely grateful for everyone that has supported me along the way. I hope my journey inspires yours. 

To learn more about Kaurtino check out their website and Instagram