Updated: May 5
Are you ready to make your beauty brand dreams a reality? The cosmetics industry is booming, with billions of dollars in revenue up for grabs. And the best part? You can be a part of it! The makeup industry is constantly growing, with research showing that the global cosmetics market revenue is expected to reach over 100 billion U.S. dollars in 2023. But how do you start your beauty brand?
First things first, let's talk money. You'll need to source capital and create a solid business plan. And don't forget to learn from some of the most successful beauty founders out there - through Female Startup Club (hint, hint) - they know the ins and outs of the industry.
Once you've got your finances in order, it's time to develop the backend and get your products ready for sale. Make sure to network with retailers, price your products correctly, and be open to making changes along the way.
In this article, we'll guide you through the steps to becoming a beauty founder, from sourcing packaging to emulating successful brands. Plus, we'll show you how you can start your beauty brand right from the comfort of your own home.
How To Start a Small Beauty Brand on a Small Budget
Let's get something out of the way: you don't need to have all the money you need for your business to start a beauty brand. Focusing on yourself as your funding source puts unnecessary stress on you and can cause you to feel overwhelmed. Still, it's important to know how much money you need.
Contact other beauty female entrepreneurs to find out how much capital they stashed to start their business. A good resource to visit is the Small Business Administration, which can help you calculate your startup costs by estimating your expenses.
You can save money when starting your beauty brand in the following ways.
Focus on growing your audience. Instead of launching your beauty or skincare products immediately, make a few products to start growing your audience. This will give you valuable feedback that will help you hone your brand and figure out what your brand is about. You can also start an e-commerce store to sell your products.
Start creating products at home. If you're producing facial oils or other simple formulations, you can make these at home, but you must follow the FDA guidelines to ensure quality and cleanliness. The law doesn't require cosmetic products to be approved, except for color additives, but cosmetics must be branded properly to be safe for consumers.
Consider using a local business incubator. An incubator is a company that helps business startups to grow because it provides them with essential resources, such as access to mentors or office space, therefore helping them to save money.
Where Can I Get the Money To Start a Beauty Brand?
There are various methods available to you to earn the money you need to start a beauty brand.
To start a beauty brand, consider using your savings, getting a loan, or asking close friends or family to help you. Before you do, writing up a detailed plan for how you will spend the money is essential.
A detailed business plan will ensure that your investors feel positive about loaning you the money and can expect it back.
Of course, there are also external financing resources, such as getting a loan from the bank, but this isn't always viable. It's good to research beforehand by visiting banks in your area to compare the loan rates.
Make sure you have your personal finances in order, and a good credit history, as both of these will be evaluated.
To improve your credit rating, you should foster healthy financial habits.
Pay your loans on time. If you miss any payment, this can decrease your score. Ensure you've set up automatic payments to help you make payments on time.
Don't use too much of your credit limit. It's recommended to keep your credit use at less than 30% of your total credit limit.
There are also alternative ways to raise money, such as crowdfunding. This method can help to raise money while marketing your business. There are three main types of crowdfunding to consider for your beauty startup.
Rewards crowdfunding. This is when people provide a contribution in return for a reward, such as product discounts.
Equity crowdfunding. This enables you to raise funds in exchange for unlisted shares, or equity, in your beauty business. Instead of shares, you could give investors convertible notes. Basically, they will lend you money with the expectation of converting the debt into shares in the future. This type of funding is usually considered in cases where the startup's value hasn't been evaluated.
Peer-to-peer lending. This works similarly to a loan from a financial institution, but the money comes from individuals. You will submit an application form on a peer-to-peer lending website to match with lenders interested in supporting your business.
Advice From the World's Most Successful Beauty Founders
Get inspired by what the most successful female beauty founders have gone through and learned when building their empires. Here's some of the best advice we have heard from beauty founders on the show:
Priyanka Ganjoo (KULFI Beauty) - “Unless you’re creating things that people value, there’s no point of creating it at all.” If you create things that people value and spark strong emotion and connection, people will discover that and they’ll want to share it. Put in that quality of work to your R&D to create something valuable and don’t worry too much about the immediate gratification of just getting something out there.
Lindsey Martin (Kiramoon) - “Be making that pre-launch effort.” You absolutely want to kick off with a bang. Start as you mean to go on. The truth of the matter is, beauty is SUCH a saturated space, and you need to give someone a reason to pay attention.
Fiona Chan (Youthforia) - “Get yourself onto TikTok.” Create a product that works well for TikTok. Something visual, as we chatted about at the start of this episode. Then, it’s all about consistency. You want to be creating at least two TikTok videos a day. Don’t be shy to get in front of the camera yourself, people absolutely love getting an authentic peek into the day-to-day and behind-the-scenes of building a brand.
Stephanie Lee (SELFMADE) - “Build this brand for yourself and everyone that needs it, not to be perfect.” As a woman, if you’re planning to be an entrepreneur, a pitfall I’ve encountered time and time again is this idea of perfectionism. So much of our paralysis comes from spinning in circles around certain things, when what we should be doing is just putting it out, seeing how people react, and then changing it. Get it out and iterate along the way.
Best Beauty Brands on TikTok Right Now
As we just mentioned, TikTok is absolutely key nowadays. It is helping to move more beauty products and bring people's attention to new brands.
Research has found that 89% of TikTok users purchased beauty products seen on the TikTok app, so it's an influential platform.
Here are some of the most famous beauty brands currently making waves on TikTok, that you can draw inspo from:
From 3D printed prototype to sell-out success the revolutionary facial icing product Contour Cube is now TikTok famous having been viewed by over 25M people, gaining a global customer base and a following of over 150K. The Australian-designed Contour Cube™ is a facial icing tool that has been uniquely designed to sculpt your face, de-puff eye bags, and address your facial skincare needs from breakouts to fine lines.
> You can listen to Sarah Forrai’s full episode on how she started her business on the Female Startup Club podcast
At Youthforia, they believe that makeup is an extension of your skincare. All of their products are formulated to be so good for your skin, you can sleep in it. Fiona actually tests all of their products by sleeping in them for an extended period of time. Most conventional makeup brands formulate with fossil fuels and liquid plastics, which can be harmful or irritating to the skin. Instead, Youthforia uses skin-friendly plant-based ingredients to provide luxurious textures and targeted treatments for your skin. And they’ve managed to build some crazy buzz on TikTok in the last year, go check them out.
> You can listen to Fiona Chan’s full episode on how she started her business on the Female Startup Club podcast
Chances are you’ve already seen this brand on Instagram or Tiktok, but if you haven’t Experiment is a chemist-led brand building science-backed beauty 2.0. They're rebranding what a science-backed beauty brand feels like for the next generation of consumers and also what it looks like. All of their products are clinically backed, thoughtfully sustainable, and ridiculously fun. You’ll probably recognize their first product which is the acid neon green reusable sheet mask we’ve all seen cruising around the internet.
> You can listen to Lisa Guerrera’s full episode on how she started her business on the Female Startup Club podcast
Manufacturing Platforms You Can Use To Source Packaging
Product packaging is an important element to consider when starting your own beauty brand. It's the first thing your potential customers will see, so you want it to make an impact.
Here are some companies that offer packaging.
Idealpak. This offers a variety of custom packaging solutions. There are different materials provided in which to store your products, such as aluminum and glass. The company also provides label designs.
Epac. This company provides flexible pouches for packing different beauty and health products, such as lotions. There are also sustainable options made out of polyethylene which is great for clean beauty brands.
Petro Packaging Company Inc. This company manufactures clear tubes ideal for packaging cosmetics. They're also shatterproof so that they can be shipped successfully.
Paper Mart. This company provides various packaging options for cosmetics, such as cosmetic boxes. Depending on your beauty brand's vision and mission, various materials are available, such as plastic or metal.
How To Start a Beauty Brand From Home
Starting a beauty business at home can help you keep your expenses down while becoming an indie beauty entrepreneur. We recently had the founder of Dehlicious Body, Zara Saleem, on the show who did just that.
Here are some important things to bear in mind.
Get into the right mindset. If your mind's not in it, you won't have the energy to succeed. You have to be passionate about your beauty brand and be prepared to put in 100% to make it a success. This passion will also help you to overcome potential obstacles in the future.
Figure out how to make a difference. You should consider how your beauty brand can appeal more to the public. To help you, ask yourself what will make your products special. Similarly, how can they help people and positively change their lives? You must ask yourself these important questions to remain focused on your mission.
Think about your beauty product cost price. How much does it cost to make your individual products? Think about the cost of sourcing ingredients all the way through to finding packaging for them. This can feel overwhelming, so it's useful to research makeup brands you admire to see how they achieve these goals.
Build a social media following. Work on cultivating a larger presence on social media. Interact and engage with fans through your blog posts and product news updates. Get feedback about your products from your followers and customers so that you continue giving them what they want and fine-tuning your brand.
Find the right location for your business. While you might be able to operate your beauty business from inside your home, you need to ensure that the products you store and manufacture are kept safe and hygienic. You also have to check the rules and regulations in your state to determine if you're allowed to run a business to prevent setbacks.
Get the right permits you need. You might need a general or specialized permit from your state. And, if your goal is to sell directly to your consumers, you might need to apply for a sales tax collection account from the State Department of Revenue.
Network with beauty retailers. To start distributing your products to retailers, you need to network and build relationships in the beauty industry. A good idea would be to network with people such as women entrepreneurs and women in business. These can help you to set up meetings with retail stores.
If you were feeling a little lost about how to begin your own beauty brand, I hope this article has been a great help.
Just remember: focus on building funds for your business via donations and crowdfunding. Get advice from successful beauty founders in the industry. Research the most popular beauty brands and products, and find out if you need permits to run your business in your city and state. Remember, starting your own beauty brand is totally doable! Just take it one step at a time and don't be afraid to ask for help along the way. You got this.
If you liked this ultimate guide to starting a beauty business as a female founder you might also like the weekly Female Startup Club Newsletter, which features the incredibly inspiring stories of 400+ female founders we have interviewed to date.