How to Start a Makeup Line
Everything you need to know about starting your own makeup line
Research & Refine your Business Idea
So you want to create and sell your own makeup line?
Congrats, beauty entrepreneur! Not everyone can – or wants to – do what you want to do. And that’s okay. Some of us are creators and hustlers, others of us are consumers. Both have important roles to play.
The makeup and cosmetic business is a good industry to get into. It continues to grow, with the lastest stats at $170 billion annually. Although there is plenty of competition, there is always room for new products that will help a specific group of customers solve a certain problem they have.
Maybe they have super dry skin in winter and you want to create a great line of moisturizing foundations.
Maybe they have developed an allergy to perfumes. You can help them by developing a fragrance-free line of makeup that is just as good – if not better – than their current cosmetic favourites.
A lot of people are looking for organic, natural, or paraben-free makeup. There’s also a niche market for luxury makeup and budget-friendly, quality makeup.
One piece of advice we have to give you is to start by creating one product. Just one.
Whether you choose lipstick, eyeliner, rouge, concealer, mascara, or eyeshadow, start by creating one amazing product. Work hard to become crazy successful with that one product, and then proceed to grow your line slowly, one new product at a time.
There is plenty of room in the cosmetic industry to create unique products. The key is to find out what people are looking for, make it, and then market it well.
Marketing involves more than showing up on social media or having ads on bus stops around your town. Marketing starts with creating a brand, then a logo. Above all, it means creating a detailed plan to grow your makeup line from nothing into a profitable business.
Creating your Business Website
A website is essential no matter what kind of product or service your business provides.
In every type of business including the makeup industry, more and more people turn to online search engines to look for specific products, whether they’re purchasing locally or online.
You can keep this in mind when you begin blogging for your makeup business. One way to attract potential customers via your website is to have blog posts that answer your potential customer’s questions.
For example, if you have decided to specialize in organic lipgloss, your product might be exactly what a former cancer patient might be looking for. You can write blog posts that address the importance of noncarcinogenic ingredients in lipgloss, looking your best during and after cancer, and what to look for in an organic lipgloss.
You can also write posts on various tests you have put your lipgloss through such as extreme weather tests and eating and drinking tests.
You can collect reviews of your product. Whether these reviews are from friends and family or from a celebrity or well-known icon in the makeup industry, positive reviews can help sell your product.
Having a website is also one way to track how many people you are reaching. You can get specific about the visitors your site is attracting.
What age groups are your visitors from? Which country are the majority of your visitors from?
Using that information, you can develop a more specific marketing plan.
From your website, have links to your social media accounts and invite your readers to follow you. The more they get to know you and your makeup brand, the more likely they will be to buy from you.
Lastly, you can set up your first shop right on your website. Opening a virtual store front is one of the least expensive ways to start selling your products.
Setting up a website isn’t as hard as it may sound, in-fact, many hosting providers have tailored their service around small businesses who may not be tech savvy. We suggest going with BlueHost to host your website. Their service is simple and easy to use/setup and they’re currently offering 60% off hosting, including free domain registration.
Additionally, creating a blog on your website is also a great way to attract organic traffic and expand your business. Checkout our full guide on the best and easiest way to setup a WordPress blog here.
Get Ideas for your Makeup Line business name!
Marketing Your Business
Makeup businesses do well with eye-catching visuals. These can include:
- before and after pictures,
- staged photoshoot of the product,
- staged photoshoot of a model wearing your product,
- makeup tutorials, and
- YouTube videos.
One key here is that your marketing should not be solely focused on making sales. Help your customers. Have fun, develop a relationship with your subscribers, and address their makeup or skin care issues.
You can also reach out to other influencers who have created a name for themselves in the makeup niche. Are they willing to give you some tips? Would they consider featuring you on their site? Would they be willing to come over to your blog and share a post?
Some makeup products, especially those that are handmade, can find a niche on Etsy. Lots of crafters and traffic from wanna-be-crafters make Etsy feel like a virtual craft sale.
Speaking of craft sales, plan to find some local craft sales where you can set up a vendor table. Many of these happen in the fall and in the months leading up to Christmas but many communities have craft sales that run year round. Make sure you’ve developed your brand before setting up a table. Choosing colours and a logo are just the beginning.
Your logo should give a clear idea as to the vibe of your makeup line. Do you plan to create luxury makeup? If so, avoid pink teddybears, cutesy-fun names, and childlike fonts. Rather, consider an elegant script in jewel-toned colours.
Also consider how your packaging represents your makeup line and brand. If you drop ship your makeup, add in some pretty tissue paper and a small thank you/business card. If you start off by selling your product off a table, package it up nicely with some ribbon and/or add a reusable bag.
Print off marketing material such as business cards and pamphlets which discuss what makes your product and your mission unique. Consider have a limited number of branded t-shirts to give away in exchange for people’s contact information.
You can also begin getting your product out by handing out small samples to family and friends. Ask for their honest feedback and always look for ways to improve your product.
Setting Goals and KPI’s
KPI stands for key performance indicators. KPIs can help you move forward in your business if you set and track specific goals.
Before you even have a makeup line up and running, you can use the KPI concept to keep you on track. The process of starting a makeup line can take several months and having a KPI to help you focus on your goals can be helpful. Rather than worrying about making your first sale before you even have your first product in your hands, use measurable goals to help you create a business plan.
Then use it to identify your brand. Then make your website. And then move on to marketing and eventually, sales, tracking social media and advertising trends.
The most important thing about KPIs is that they are specific, measurable, and attainable. You can’t expect to have a six figure month in one year if you have start up bills and loan to pay. Keep your goals small and review them often. Always have a plan to get better and become more successful.
Plan your Finances
Starting a new makeup line doesn’t have to cost thousands of dollars. But you will need some equity to start off with.
First things first. Take time to do your research. Learn everything you can about makeup and skin care. Know the common ingredients in makeup and how they work.
Learn about the makeup industry. If you don’t have a background is cosmetology, this step could take you several months. It will be worth it. Take a look a past trends in the beauty industry and see what the experts predict will happen in the future.
Once you’re ready to make a business plan, consider paying an expert for business advice. An expert can help you decide how you should register your new business. You can register as a sole proprietor or a limited liability company (LLC). Each of these has its benefits and drawbacks. An expert can explain these to you.
A business expert can also help you create a detailed business plan. Your plan will talk about start up costs and also what kind of strategies you hope to use in order to grow your business. This is where your months of research will pay off!
At this point, you should have created a separate business bank account. A business expert can guide you through this process. But how will you get money if you don’t even have a tube of your lipstick in your hands?
You have some options.
You can be working and making money during this time as many entrepreneurs do.
You can apply for a small business loan.
You can look for an angel investor who will then also have a stake in your company.
You can have a go at crowd funding.
You can ask family and friends if they would be willing to help you out. If you take this route, make sure you draw up a contract that details how you will repay them.
Creating a logo and a website will also cost money. It is possible to do these things yourself or you can find an inexpensive freelance designer, such as on Upwork.
Your makeup creations will cost money. Whether you buy your products in bulk or enter into a relationship with a lab or a distributor, creating the first product will take time – and money.
If you prefer to focus on selling locally, rather than spending money on renting retail space, approach businesses who specialize in locally made and/or organic, natural products. Many of these places would be happy to carry your product on their shelves.
Rely on free social media for as long as you can but eventually, the time will come when you’ll need to pay for online ads.
Adopt an Entrepreneurial Mindset
How do you feel now about starting your own makeup line? If you’re excited, chances are you’re a natural entrepreneur.
If you find yourself thinking, “Wow, that’s a lot of work! I’m not sure I can stick it out through months of research before even seeing my first product,” maybe creating and starting a new business isn’t for you.
Entrepreneurial types are a special breed of people.
They need to be creative. If plan A, B, C, D, or E doesn’t work, they have to come up with plans F through Z.
They’re tireless. Initially, many entrepreneurs work full-time while pursuing their own business on the side. Balance isn’t something most entrepreneurs tend to do well.
They don’t give up. When things get tough, they persist. They find a second wind – and a third and a fourth. They push through until they see results.
They’re constantly learning. Not just about makeup and the cosmetic industry, but also about marketing, about how to improve their website, and how to grow their business.
They keep their customer in mind. Through it all, entrepreneurs have a passion to help people. And at the end of the day, solving someone’s problem is often what gets them through the tough times.
You may or may not feel you have an entrepreneurial mindset. It can be developed. Read books, listen to podcasts, get on mailing lists designed to help small businesses. There’s a lot of great information out there on creating an entrepreneurial mindset and learning that change and growth is a part of it is a great first step.
Other things to consider when starting your Makeup Line
When it comes to registering your makeup line, you’ll need to decide between an LLC and a sole proprietor. Although a sole proprietorship is easier to set up, it’s usually best to choose the protection offered by an LLC. This way, the company takes the fall should something go wrong, not you personally. Do your research and talk to business experts to find out which would be best for you.
Next, decide on a business name. This is the fun part! Before you finalize your choice, check to see if it’s available as a domain name and check also across social media accounts including YouTube.
When you register your business, you can also register your business name and get a tax identification number.
Accounting & Bookkeeping:
A business expert can set you up with a way to track your finances. There are many online programs that have been made specifically for small business. You can also hire someone to do your finances for you if you feel that crunching numbers is over your head.
A business expert can also give you advice on trademarking your products as well as helping you find out which kinds of permits and licenses you’ll need to sell makeup online or locally.
If you don’t have a cosmetology degree, it might be worth it to bring an expert on board. You likely won’t need to hire anyone full-time, but customers will be impressed if you can tell that that your product has been reviewed and approved by someone with a cosmetology degree. Be willing to pay for an expert seal of approval.
While some makeup lines start off in someone’s basement, a makeup lab that specializes in creating makeup is often the best way to go. They have the equipment and know the best and safest procedures to follow. To find a makeup lab near you, Google “your town” + makeup lab.
In the beginning days of your business, it will be sensible to hire freelance experts to do pieces of work for you, especially those parts of your business that you may not have experience in.
You can hire a web developer to create your website. You can hire someone else to develop your brand and logo, etc.