There are many reasons you might want to know how to start a makeup line. Maybe you’re an expert, an enthusiast, a business-owner who wants to expand their product, or you’re just looking to start a business in a viable market. Either way, the beauty industry is big – and it’s only going to get bigger. In 2020 alone, this industry racked up over $483 billion.
And come 2025, it’s expected to grow beyond $7 billion.
Clearly if you’re thinking about jumping on the beauty train…now’s the time! But there are a lot of steps to consider before you actually get started – and one of the most important is sustainability.
In the beauty industry, over 120 billion units of nonrecyclable packaging are created – each one taking up to 1000 years to decompose. If you really want to know how to start a makeup line in 2021 that will thrive in these times, having a sustainability plan is key.
Not only is climate change a global crisis, but sustainable and environmentally-conscious businesses are becoming more and more valued by consumers. Customers are opting for vegan options, products with sustainable ingredients, companies who have as little of a carbon footprint as possible, and products that have sustainable packaging.
Before beginning your beauty business, take the time to establish your goals and values as a company and include your sustainable targets. What is going to be the impact of your business on the environment and community? Consider your ingredients, consider the impact of your packaging, and look into best practices for building sustainable beauty products. Keeping this in mind while making your plans from square one will help you ensure that you will be creating a business that will last, and that will contribute to solving a problem in the world, and not creating another one.
Also keep in mind that practicing sustainability in business stretches beyond just the environment – it’s also about the community at large. Considering these things when beginning any business venture is not simply about getting ahead, it’s about being conscious of the impact that your new business will have on the world, and working to be a force for good.
So how do you actually go about starting a cosmetics line? You may have ideas already floating around your head, but still don’t know where to start. If this sounds like you, here are some beginner tips to help get you on track to building your own cosmetics empire.
Before you start a makeup line, you have to make sure you understand the industry and world that you’re about to enter. You’re going to want to do your market research, and look at how other companies have built their brands, and find out who your top competitors will be.
Do a detailed competitor analysis, and get to know other people’s products. Look at the branding of successful businesses, find out why they’re doing so well and study how they are promoting themselves as a business.
Especially if you’re new to the world of entrepreneurship, you’re going to want to soak up every bit of information you can from people who are doing what you want to do. Follow successful makeup lines and influencers, and test their products. Look at some of the most popular lines out there, and study them down to the fine details of their font choice on their packaging.
Once you have a rounded-out view of the industry, it’s time to see where you fit into it. Ask yourself if you are willing to put up with the struggles that come with being in the beauty business. And if you’re up for the challenge – great!
Your next step is to position yourself in the makeup industry. Find something that you are passionate about, and find a niche that your product will serve. If you want to know how to start a makeup line, you have to ask yourself some important questions:
You have to know your “why” and establish the goal behind your makeup line, before you go and build your business. Find something that is going to make you stand out from the rest, and infuse your cosmetic line with it. Whether it be the story behind it, a special ingredient you use, or the branding behind each and every makeup product. Whatever you do, make an experience that customers won’t be able to find anywhere else.
In the makeup industry, there are many ways to approach building a cosmetic line. You can start reselling makeup, making cosmetics at home, or you can build products with a manufacturer. While there are pros and cons to each, it’s important to look at your goals and find which direction will help you achieve them.
Your choice will also depend on how much involvement, and what kind of involvement, you want in your makeup business. While creating natural, at-home products or being a small, home-run business can be a great way to start – it also comes with being super strict and familiar with FDA guidelines. You have to consider all the possible complications when it comes to ingredients and safety, and be sure you’re following regulations.
Meanwhile, working with good, experienced manufacturers to create your product can help you avoid some of those risks, and help you grow a bigger business. Regardless of which product you choose to offer, do your research and make sure it aligns with your mission.
Before starting your makeup line, you will need to figure out how you will be funding and operating your business. Is this something you are willing to personally invest in? If so, how much? If not, you will need to find other investors or people to loan you the money to get started.
Do your research and talk to people in the business – this will help you come up with an accurate figure for how much you will need to start your brand. Along with this, you need to build out the rest of your business plan so you can use it to get all of your specifics in order, and so you can pitch your idea to investors. This is where you will include everything about your business, and have a solid place of reference that will guide you every step of the way.
As a beginner entrepreneur, the best way you can start to get your business off the ground is to build your audience first. Many celebrities and influencers launch their own clothing lines, makeup brands, or merch after they’ve built a solid brand and following online. By doing this, you ensure you have an interested audience before you invest in a business idea, and it will help you build credibility when pitching to any investors.
So, if you want to know how to start a makeup line that will sell: flesh out your Instagram page or TikTok account before you build your product. Start by creating videos about makeup, do reviews, challenges, makeup tutorials, or anything that will attract a loyal audience. This is what builds authority and credibility, and this way people will trust that your product will serve them because your online content already does. After all, word of mouth is the best marketing tool.
Leveraging an online audience can also lead to doing makeup and brand partnerships with other popular makeup brands, and build yourself in the industry even further.
When it comes to makeup lines, the packaging and branding of your product is everything. Especially if you are going to be selling in physical stores, your packaging is what helps you stand out, shows your brand and it also has a significant impact on sales. In fact, 72% of Americans say package designs influence their purchasing decisions, and 62% also say the physical material of the packaging also sways their decision.
Work carefully to design your packaging with eye-catching designs, and a brand and style that matches your product and message. Take into account your materials, quality, and environmental impact.
When it comes to beauty products and makeup in particular, there are a lot of extra elements you need to consider when it comes to shipping your products. Especially with delicate products like powders, consider how easy it is for them to break, and find out what you can do to make sure your customers are happy with their overall experience. Not only that, but you also have to consider ingredients.
It’s not only important to recognize what ingredients you use and their impact on safety, wellbeing, and environmental implications – but you also need to consider that some ingredients can’t be shipped to certain countries.
Make sure to spend time looking into what ingredients you want in your products, and what kind of limitations or extra precautions need to be taken into account.
Once you’ve nailed down all of the specifics of your business plan and product, now it’s time to find your manufacturer. If you are not running a small business out of your home, you’ll be working with some kind of a manufacturer to produce your products. And with this step, there are many different things to consider.
Do you want to work with someone in your country? Overseas? Are you working with a “private label” manufacturer, where you can alter their formula, make it unique to you, and sell it under your brand? Or will you go with a “white label”, where you use a standardized formula of cosmetics but change up the packaging to fit your brand?
When it comes to finding good manufacturers, it really comes down to networking and doing your research. Do you know other people who have started a cosmetics business? Can you find a mentor or connection to have a casual chat with about their journey to finding manufacturers? Is there someone on LinkedIn or from college who can give you advice for common things to look out for? Leveraging your network is everything in business – whether it be in the beauty industry or not.
Just like with any business, there are legalities and specific steps you have to take in order to protect yourself. You will want to register your cosmetics line as a business to separate it from yourself – this way, if you get sued, your house and life-savings aren’t on the line.
The specifics of this process will depend on where you live. But first, talk to a good lawyer. Do your research into the specifics of what it will take to run your business in your location, get insurance, and make sure you have all of your bases covered before you get started.
When you have everything ready, now it’s time to set up your store! There are plenty of platforms you can use for your online shop – from Shopify to Etsy to store features on website builders like Squarespace. Even if you are hoping to sell in stores, you will still want a place online where people can order directly from you.
Take some time to research how to set up an online store, and put in the effort to make sure your customer’s experience will be as smooth as possible. Make sure you have clear access to customer service, and have a smooth system set up to help you manage inquiries and requests.
Now, you’re ready to sell your products! Pick a launch date for your store, and build hype for it on and offline. Before and after your launch, you should have a solid marketing plan lined up to help you stay relevant and present on people’s feeds. When it comes to marketing and selling a new product, you will need to get creative and find interesting ways to get your product seen – especially if your following online is relatively small.
Some ways you could get your product seen is to use influencers, do free giveaways, and get people reviewing your products. If you are wanting to bring your cosmetics beyond your home and online store, look into selling your cosmetics line to vendors and getting your product out into stores. Starting by giving samples, running promotions, and even doing IRL popups can be a great way to build hype and recognition around your brand.
Starting any kind of business can be overwhelming, but the hardest part is simply getting started. If you are new to the world of entrepreneurship, then it can really help to speak with people who have been in your shoes. Take courses with experienced business people, reach out to successful business owners you meet in person, or find them online – you might be surprised at how much people are willing to help if you simply get out there, and ask.
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