Many people dream of owning their own makeup line and enjoying fame like Kylie Jenner’s. However, it’s no simple task to start a makeup line, especially because of the woefully inadequate traditional business advice that amplifies these challenges.
So that you don't waste time and funds on an ineffective startup method, I'll teach you everything you need to know about how to start a makeup line using the lean startup method, which will make the startup process cheaper, more efficient, and easier in the long run. The lean startup method was the brainchild of author Eric Reis, who explained it further in his 2011 book, The Lean Startup Method.
Before I jump into an explanation of the lean startup method, I'm going to explain why the traditional startup method doesn't work.
The traditional flawed business startup process
The steps to the traditional business startup method typically look something like this:
- Identify a passion or skill set you can cash in on (in this case, I’m guessing it’s makeup).
- Write a makeup line business plan.
- Fund your business.
- Choose a location for your business.
- Choose a structure for your business.
- Decide on a business name.
- Form your business formally: register your business, get tax IDs for your business, apply for business licenses and permits, and open a business bank account.
- Ultimately fail because this method is flawed.
When you read the steps it's not hard to understand why most entrepreneurs find this to be a reasonable way to start their business. (All except for that last step, which most business columns leave out.) The traditional startup method makes it seem like if you have a great location for your store and a comprehensive business plan, the money should just pour in with little effort from you.
But just because it looked easy for Kylie Jenner to start Kylie Cosmetics doesn't mean that it was, and it doesn't mean that it will be easy for you to start a makeup line yourself either. In fact, four out of every five businesses that use the traditional startup method fail during their first year of business. These businesses aren't failing because their owners didn't try, or because they sold low-quality products. They fail because they use the traditional startup method, which provided them with shaky business foundations, ultimately dooming them before they were even open.
The traditional business method makes three flawed assumptions that prove devastating to businesses.
Assumption 1: You have deep and intimate knowledge of your market.
If you’re here learning how to start a makeup line, then it’s safe to say that you still have a lot to learn about the beauty industry before you launch your makeup line.
When you first get started learning how to run a makeup line, you haven’t yet mastered the ins and outs of the market and the cosmetics industry, how private label vendors work, and how to provide high-quality makeup products. If you’ve worked for another company that started their own makeup line, you probably have a vague idea about the market and more insight into how the beauty industry works than someone who starts a makeup line with no industry experience at all. But you’ll quickly discover that learning how to start a makeup line is far different than working in someone else’s makeup shop.
The first flawed assumption that the traditional startup method makes is that you’ve already mastered the beauty industry and know everything you need to know about the market. It can take the average business owner decades to obtain this level of industry expertise, so it’s obvious that this assumption isn’t accurate for most people. It would be like playing a video game for the first time and starting out on the expert difficulty level.
When you use the lean startup method to start a makeup line, you figure out your business and the beauty industry before you develop makeup products and create your makeup line. When you equip yourself with this knowledge and experience before you start your makeup line, your business has a better chance of success.
Assumption 2: Your needs and wants are more important than your customers’ needs and wants.
No matter what sort of business you want to start, the main goal of any business is to make a profit. However, if you don't acknowledge customer feedback, don't appear to care about what your target clientele wants or needs, and don’t go out of your way to develop any measure of brand loyalty, you can expect that your business won’t remain open for long.
The traditional startup method encourages you to consider all the reasons that YOU want to start a makeup line, rather than considering the reasons YOUR CUSTOMERS would want to buy your makeup products.
Using the lean startup method, you’ll talk to potential customers about their makeup needs. For example, do customers want more hypoallergenic products? Do they want more organic, eco-friendly makeup options? Would they like to see a business that provides tips, tutorials, and suggestions about which products in their cosmetics line customers should buy?
The reason the traditional startup method’s first assumption is so flawed is it assumes that as the owner of your cosmetic line, your wants and needs outweigh those of the customers who will buy your makeup. One major distinction between the traditional startup method and the lean startup method is their philosophies regarding the importance of customers’ desires.
The lean startup method encourages you to learn what your customers want from a new cosmetic line, and how they’d like to see the beauty industry change before you start a makeup line. You can use the information that customers provide to create a makeup line designed to meet the wants and needs of the customers, which will ultimately make them happier and contribute to higher profit yields and a more successful makeup line.
Assumption 3: You have unlimited cash to burn.
Unfortunately, no one has a never-ending supply of money. Even the world’s richest people spend their money wisely. No matter which method you start your makeup line with, you will eventually have to take some financial risks, but it’s not a good idea to recklessly spend your money.
If you use the traditional startup method to start a makeup line, you’ll start with a brick-and-mortar shop and hundreds of makeup and beauty products that you’ve never market-tested. The reason for this convoluted process is that the traditional startup method assumes that every business owner in the industry has access to vast reserves of money that they can use to start the line of their dreams.
There are lots of reasons why this isn’t a reasonable assumption. It can cost between $17,500–$62,550 to start a makeup line, depending on factors such as how much it costs to start your website and e-commerce store, pay legal fees, obtain business licenses and permits, lease rental property for a lab or office, market your brand, and purchase all the materials and ingredients you need to produce your makeup. Most people don’t have a good way to replace between $20,000–$60,000 if they lose the money because their business fails.
If you use the lean startup method to learn how to start a makeup line, you’ll start more gradually. This involves either selling homemade products using quality ingredients, or selling someone else’s cosmetics until you learn enough about customers’ beauty needs to start your own line. By starting your makeup line in small, incremental steps, you can test out the beauty products to determine which products customers love, as well as getting the chance to research the cosmetics industry before diving headfirst into it and making risky financial decisions.
If you’d like to learn how to start a makeup line and avoid becoming a statistic (one of the four out of every five businesses that fail each year using the traditional startup method), choose a more creative method with a higher success rate: the lean startup method.
What is the lean startup method?
Simply put, the lean startup method is a particular technique that entrepreneurs use to start a business, or to sell products that have been manufactured by an existing company before making the decision to create their own products.
Three phases make up the lean startup method: build, measure, and learn.
The main idea behind the lean startup method is experimenting with products and ideas you’re confident will be successful. With the lean startup method, you’ll begin to build your business immediately (but in bite-sized tasks rather than all at once in the way the traditional startup method does), rather than creating a business plan and sticking to it, come what may. Other chief components of the lean startup method are choosing the cheapest and easiest products for you to produce, and sales and marketing tactics that are the most effective.
You start with the build phase. This phase requires you to identify a problem that many people in your community share, then find a solution to the problem. Are there no local beauty or cosmetics shops? Do people want to see a cosmetics line with quality products that are eco-friendly or hypoallergenic?
Next you’ll move on to the measure phase. The most important tasks in this phase involve both testing your solution and selling your product. This allows you to find out whether your products and ideas are successful. Do people like the quality of your makeup? Does your mascara volumize without causing clumps? Do your eyeshadows have a lot of pigment or do people complain about having to use several coats just to see the color?
Last is the learn phase. During this phase you’ll request feedback from your customers that you can use to upgrade your makeup products and ensure you’re left with a successful makeup line. Do customers like the quality of your makeup? Did any of your customers complain about your makeup not being hypoallergenic? If you have long-lasting cosmetics in your makeup line, such as lipstick, did they stand up to scrutiny?
If you find that you have a product or marketing strategy that isn't working, don’t worry. The purpose of the learn phase is to identify the products and marketing strategies that work so that you don’t spend unnecessary time and funds on the ones that don’t.
If you find that something isn’t working, you can simply start the build, measure, and learn cycle over again as many times as you need to until you find a strategy that works for you and your line.
Why use the lean startup method?
If a salesperson wanted to sell you an expensive, high-end product that would have an 80% chance of failure within a year, would you still buy it? This is the reality of the traditional startup method, whereby four out of every five businesses fail before they’re even a year old.
But you can completely avoid the failings of the traditional startup method by using the lean startup method instead. You’ll learn how to start a makeup line at a lower cost than if you had used the traditional startup method, and you’ll create a community of people who eagerly await new cosmetic products introduced by your line.
The lean startup method can reduce the costs associated with starting a cosmetics line, which means you’ll pay less for your business than other entrepreneurs who use the traditional startup method. This is because the traditional startup method assumes you have a vast reserve of money that you can use to cover the costs of starting a large-scale business.
But using the lean startup method, you’re able to learn about the beauty industry, as well as how to run your business successfully. Without the pressure to make high-risk financial decisions immediately, your cosmetics line has a better chance of surviving beyond its first year of business than cosmetic lines that used the traditional startup method.
How can I tell you so confidently that the lean startup method is the ideal way to learn how to start a makeup line? Because I’ve used the lean startup method myself to start five different businesses over the span of eight years. I sold off three of them, and I still own the remaining two, which are going strong today. I’ve also helped thousands of people start their businesses using the lean startup method, and I can help you start the makeup line of your dreams too!
How do you use the lean startup method to start your makeup line?
Each time I start a new business, I use the core ideas behind the lean startup method as my guide: build, measure, and learn. Using the lean startup method will make your startup costs far cheaper than if you had chosen the traditional startup method, and you’ll have all the skills and experience you need to build solid business foundations for your company and ensure that it has a successful future.
The first of the three phases in the lean startup method is the build phase. This phase is designed to build and develop your business. You’ll identify a problem that many people in your community have with cosmetics or beauty products, other cosmetic lines, or the cosmetics industry at large. You’ll create a community for your makeup products, recognize an opportunity to solve the problem you’ve identified, and then develop a solid solution to the problem.
Once you complete this phase, you can be sure that you have great ideas for the products and services you intend to sell, and that there is a need for your products in the community. This phase will help you build a business from nothing, as well as ensuring that you have the skills and knowledge to establish a foothold in the industry.
Step 1: Identify a problem
First, you need to find a problem that many people share, that you can provide a solution to using your makeup line.
You can’t dive right in and start selling your makeup products right away because there are tons of new makeup lines out there, and customers can’t afford to buy products from them all. Instead, it’s better to understand both the beauty industry and the market and determine a convincing reason for people to buy your makeup.
The tricky part is finding the convincing reason.
If you’re observant enough, it should be easy to find a “pain point,” a business term that describes a problem that a lot of people have that causes them annoyance or pain so severely that they will either solve the problem themselves or pay someone to provide a solution. In this scenario, you want your makeup line to be the solution that people are looking for.
You can’t just sell the same makeup that appears in other lines, or use the same marketing strategy as others in the cosmetics industry. But the only way to avoid this is to conduct market research and find a problem that can be solved with your makeup, specifically. Are there no local makeup lines in your area? Do other brands produce low-quality products?
Give careful consideration to the complaints and desires of the people in your community, and their thoughts on the cosmetics industry. Do other companies sell makeup that isn't intended for long-lasting wear? Do other brands sell eyeshadows that don't contain enough pigment? Do their foundations feel greasy or smell bad? Do people have problems finding a reputable store to buy high-end makeup from in your area?
Once you’ve talked to several people, you should be able to identify some common industry problems. Ask how greatly customers feel these problems affect them. When you’re asking about other brands, you’ll find out about the local beauty industry and the market, the marketing and reputation of other lines, the types of cosmetic products that are popular in your area, how people use cosmetic products, the services and information that people expect from makeup brands, and what services of other brands that customers have grown to expect. From this feedback you can choose the problem you want to start solving.
How do you choose which problem to focus on?
There are no clear-cut instructions for how to choose the problem you want to solve while learning how to start a makeup line. However, these tips should make the process easier:
- Choose the problem that affects the largest number of people. Are there no stores in your area that sell cosmetic or beauty products? Are local businesses not in the habit of stocking the particular cosmetic and beauty products that people request? Do people want trendier makeup products, like magnetic eyelashes?
- Choose a problem that creates a “pain point.” If you choose a problem that no one cares about, then it isn’t a problem and isn’t a good idea for your business. If you’re learning how to start a makeup line, it’s important for you to know that the more annoyed a problem makes people, the better an idea for your business. For example, do people want to see a business that sells makeup from high-end lines like Kylie Cosmetics? Do they want quality cosmetics that don’t cost a fortune? Would they like to see new beauty products or cosmetics that other industry locals don’t sell?
- Focus on a problem that you can easily solve. It doesn’t matter if you’ve chosen a problem that affects many people if you have no way to feasibly solve it. If people demand a line of makeup made with ingredients that you can’t afford to use, then that’s not a sustainable business solution for you. But what you could do is offer one new product each month with the fancy ingredients that your community has requested.
The key tasks you need to focus on in this step are identifying and choosing a problem that causes a lot of inconvenience for a majority of your community, one that people would pay someone else to solve.
Step 2: Build a community
After you’ve identified a problem, the next step in learning how to start a makeup line is to create a community made up of people affected by the problem you’ve identified. Because of our technology-driven culture, you can easily create an online community for your brand engaging various social media platforms.
You could create a Facebook group, Reddit forum or Instagram page, for example. This step ensures that you’ll create an online community of people who will eventually become a pool of loyal clients. This phase is a good time to develop your company’s branding and marketing techniques, all while you’re conducting market research on your cosmetics. Using the traditional startup method, you would need three different steps to accomplish everything that the lean startup method completes in one easy step.
It’s a good idea to create an offline, as well as online, community. This can include meetup groups or clubs that meet regularly at other local small businesses. Offline communities are great because it makes your community members feel a more intimate bond with you through face-to-face interactions, and you get the benefit of receiving feedback in real time as opposed to waiting for comments online.
Another research and marketing source you should consider is local business groups, such as the Chamber of Commerce. They can provide small businesses with a variety of benefits that you might otherwise miss out on, so it’s a good idea to seek them out when you’re learning how to start a makeup line.
Reasons to build a community:
- Creating a community gives you the chance to learn not just about the problem you identified, but also about how it affects your community.
- Creating a community gives you the opportunity to develop your marketing tactics and branding.
- After you’ve launched your makeup line, you already have a customer base and demand for your business and your products to focus on. You’ve already educated them about your company and products, which provides great marketing.
- You can easily gain funding and support for your business before you actually launch your makeup line.
How to build a community:
- Create a Facebook group that you can grow by discussing various makeup techniques and products, as well as makeup and beauty trends, cosmetics that your customers are interested in, and any topics surrounding the cosmetics industry that community members want to discuss or learn about. You should consistently post about cosmetics and beauty products, make frequent status updates, create new discussions with community members about new trends in the cosmetics industry, and interact with your community members. All this will lead to the growth of your community.
- Start a Twitter account and create interactive polls. Consumers love any sort of interactive viral media because it gives them a way to voice their opinions. It's also a great way for you to easily obtain free customer feedback, while also learning about the current market demand for various cosmetics.
- Use Instagram to post pictures of new cosmetics, various natural ingredients, pictures of you creating the cosmetics, cosmetics tutorials, and other topics pertaining to the cosmetics industry. Using Instagram this way will not only build a community for your business, but it will also create interest in your business and your cosmetics line—both of which are important while you're learning how to start a makeup line.
- Use your social media profiles to network. One of social media's biggest advantages is the ability to reach out and talk to other people and make valuable connections. With your social media, you can reach out to other entrepreneurs in the beauty industry, other local business owners (regardless of their industry), and private label manufacturers to obtain valuable information about starting a makeup line. You'll learn about various marketing techniques, how private label manufacturers work, insurance and legal considerations, various taxes you may need to pay, as well as various other elements of the cosmetics industry.
Creating a community for your cosmetics company, you gain support for your brand and receive customer feedback that is crucial when starting your makeup line. When customers have a platform to freely voice their opinions to cosmetics companies, they take advantage of it.
You won’t have to work hard to get information from consumers. They’ll tell you which makeup products they’re using, which cosmetics companies they like, how they feel about various types of packaging, which beauty and cosmetics trends they’re excited about, and how they feel about the beauty industry.
This information is important, so it’s crucial to complete this step before you launch your line.
It’s also important to establish your company online for free advertisement. As customers comment on your posts, interact with your brand, and leave online reviews, your online community will grow. It will grow substantially when word spreads that you make changes to your cosmetics, packaging, and makeup products based on feedback from your online community, as well.
The growth of your online community means that your company website and social media pages will become more visible to other people, and this will help encourage growth, as well.
Step 3: Identify a solution opportunity
Unfortunately, it’s not enough to simply identify a problem. You must solve it.
You’re learning about starting a makeup company, completing important research about your potential customers, and creating a community that is based on your brand. Now is a good time to figure out the competition by asking your community questions about things like what types of makeup and beauty products they’re currently buying, how they feel about other cosmetic companies and the makeup and beauty products they sell.
Ask about the sort of packaging that other companies are using. Would your community like to see more eco-friendly packaging for makeup, or would they like the packaging to be more stylish? Do people have problems finding specific types of makeup or beauty products in your area? Do people like the advertising and marketing efforts that other companies and brands use? Do other makeup companies offer an e-commerce store so that you can make online makeup purchases through their website? How difficult is it to navigate their websites, and do customers like the website design of your competition?
Learn about things like the marketing tactics and sales strategies of other makeup companies and your competition in the beauty industry, the most popular makeup and personal care products sold in your area, whether people like natural ingredients and eco-friendly packaging, and whether potential customers are interested in buying makeup and personal care products from a new company or if they exclusively buy from their favorite brand name.
Take this information and use it to brainstorm ideas for a solution.
Step 4: Develop a solution
The fourth step is to develop a solution that your makeup line can provide to meet the needs of your community. Developing a solution shouldn’t be rushed. The solution should meet the needs of your community, but also create a demand for the makeup, beauty, and personal care products that your brand will sell, and be something that people in your community would pay for.
How to develop your solution:
- Consider all the possible solutions to the problem you’ve chosen. If people can’t find a particular makeup, beauty, or personal care product, then you should advertise that as the first product in your line. If people want a makeup company that gives beauty tutorials, and will teach people how to use various personal care products, then that should be the cornerstone of your branding.
- Ask for feedback about the solution ideas you’ve developed for your makeup brand. Your target audience is vital to your business, so focus on them and find out whether there’s a demand for your brand. You need to find a solution that your community approves of, and they need to agree that your solution solves their problem. This is a good time to talk to other makeup companies to figure out whether your solution is something that you can feasibly produce.
- Create and develop the MVP, or Minimum Viable Product, of your brand. An MVP is also referred to in the beauty industry as a “hero product.” It’s the product or service that has the lowest production costs, is most easily produced, and yields the most profit.
You’ve found the right solution for your brand when it solves the problem you’ve identified, costs the least to produce, and is something you can provide easily. Creating an MVP will cut manufacturing and packaging costs of each makeup, beauty, and personal care product in your line. And, because your brand won’t be constrained by the unnecessary financial burdens of the traditional method, it will be more successful in the long run.
The next phase in the lean startup method is the measure phase. I use the term “measure” in the scientific sense, where it means “test” or “experiment,” so don’t go grabbing your ruler just yet. In this phase, you’ll conduct a series of tests that will help you figure out if your solution is viable.
Step 5: Test your MVP
You’ve now identified a problem, developed a solution, determined that your community likes the solution you’ve proposed, and developed the MVP for your brand. Now you need to test the MVP for your brand. Experimentation and testing are major building blocks of the lean startup method, so you’ll often test beauty products and other features of your brand over time.
You must consider many factors when you create your MVP, such as a good private label manufacturer, the right packaging for your beauty products, which ingredients to use, and the branding that you use to advertise and sell your cosmetics online, and present on social media.
The good news is that because the lean startup method allows for failures, if any component of your line fails—whether it’s the private label manufacturers you’ve chosen or a branding issue—you can simply start over again, and instead focus on beauty products and branding that do work, rather than on failed branding and products.
Testing your MVP may seem scary, but it’s important. From a financial aspect, this method makes sense. If you were a financial institution, would you award funding to an entrepreneur with nothing but a business plan and a hope, or would you rather fund a business owner who has conducted market research, built a community and customer base, developed their brand, and proven that they will generate sales? There’s really no contest. Most loan officers would choose the proven business, rather than take a risk on the unproven business.
You can test your MVP quite easily. In fact, it’s a crucial part of the lean startup method. Better yet, when you test your MVP you create free advertisement for your brand.
One of the easiest ways to test the MVP of your brand is to hand out free samples of your beauty products to your target audience. You can set up a table at your local farmer’s markets, flea markets, clothing stores, shopping malls, or at local events, fairs, or festivals. If you find a good static location, you could set up a more stationary kiosk or stand, as well. While handing out free samples of your beauty products you can get feedback about what your customer base thinks of them. It’s a good idea to read up on the FDA guidelines for cosmetics to ensure that the ingredients you’re using are safe before you hand out free samples.
You should come prepared with an array of free beauty samples in various colors. For example, make sure that you have several colors of eyeshadow, different shades and types of foundation and concealer, multiple colors of lipsticks and glosses, and highlighting and contouring items.
Ask questions of your customer base about the free samples from your brand. Do they like the colors of your beauty products? Do you have enough cosmetic options for ethnic skin tones or darker complexions? Do they like the hypoallergenic options for your beauty products? How does your customer base feel about the demeanor of the people representing your brand? Does your customer base seem excited about your beauty products and ask lots of questions about your brand?
This experiment is successful if people gush about your cosmetics and ask if you’ll be selling them online or in social media shops in the future. If a lot of people inquire about future sales, you’ve probably chosen a good solution option. If people don’t seem enthusiastic about the samples, or if you notice that you have a large number of leftover samples, perhaps the experiment didn’t go well. People will show up in large crowds just to get free stuff, so if they don’t want your free samples then you should take that as an indication that you should start the process over again.
Step 6: Sell your MVP
So you’ve had the opportunity to test your MVP and become acquainted with your potential customers. It’s now time to begin selling your cosmetics. It’s worth mentioning that selling your products using the lean startup method won’t be as glamorous as selling beauty products in the stylish boutique you’ve envisioned in your dreams. It’s likely that you won’t immediately begin selling any top-shelf, brand-name beauty products right off the bat unless you sell brand-name items that another established company has manufactured.
This incredibly important step in starting a makeup line using the lean startup method is the last step you’ll complete before you obtain customer feedback. You’ll use this feedback to encourage the growth of your business. After you’ve completed this step, your brand will have an automatic industry advantage over brands that were started using the traditional startup method because you’ll be able to prove that you can get sales and run a successful business.
Of course, until you establish a brick-and-mortar store, the way that your brand sells its cosmetics will be a bit different. Thanks to the previous step, you should already know which of your cosmetics is most popular, so now all you need is a location to sell the MVP for your brand. For example, you can rent a booth at a flea market, craft festival, art fair, or farmer’s market. You could also set up a more permanent kiosk if you find a good location. It should be easy to get sales if you’ve set up a table or stand as a one-off test. But a stationary stand or kiosk is a great way to not only make sales, but also gain repeat customers and grow a loyal following. This loyal following will spread the word about your brand and you’ll notice sales growth as a result.
When you’re starting a makeup line, it’s important to sell your MVP. This allows you to learn how easy or difficult it is to sell your products, find out which of your products are the most popular, start creating your brand, and begin developing the pool of loyal customers that you want to create.
The last phase of the lean startup method is the learn phase. By the time you reach this phase, you’ve completed the build and measure phases. The next step is to ask your community for feedback about your brand so you can use the ideas to facilitate the growth of your brand, as well as keep your customers happy and enjoy a successful business in the future.
Step 7: Get feedback on your product idea
Each of these steps has helped you get started in the cosmetic industry. This next step involves reaching out to your customers and asking for feedback about not only your products, but your brand.
Here are some tips on how to get feedback and use it for business growth:
- Ask your community which items are their favorites, what they like best about your products and your brand, what they like about similar cosmetics that competing brands sell, and about any products they would like you to sell.
- Pay careful attention to the feedback that your customers provide you with. What is the reputation of your brand and how do people feel about their sales experiences with it? Do they dislike any of your products? Which colors do customers prefer? And what is the most popular product that your brand sells?
- Use the feedback that your customers give you to make improvements to your business. If you obtain and use feedback frequently, then you will eventually create a company that exclusively sells items that were tailor-made to suit the demands of your community. And then because your products, brand, and marketing strategy of your company are designed to make customers happy, they’ll have a high opinion of your brand, and this will ultimately make it more successful.
The online community you created during previous steps comes in handy now to give you feedback from your website or social media. You can create polls on social media platforms such as Twitter or Reddit, develop a survey to put on your website, or ask people for their opinions on Facebook and Instagram. Use online reviews about your company to gain feedback about your brand.
Collect all the feedback and comb through it. Once you have a good understanding of what your customers want, start making changes to your products and your brand. Making changes according to customer feedback will make your customers happier, and we all know that happy customers are the key to business success.
It’s a good idea to pay attention to any marketing strategy used by your competition, as well. Each sale or change in marketing is an attempt to provide a solution to a problem that your community faces. You can use these marketing tactics to improve your own business. If you notice that the advertisements and marketing efforts of competing industry brands are successful, then it may be time to employ similar strategies. But if they fail, avoid using similar strategies.
You’ve proven that you can run a successful business, conducted market research, and obtained customer feedback that can be used to grow your business. The previous steps will ensure that your business is successful. Now you should consider expanding your business to be able to compete with other brands.
You’ll be able to upgrade to a store, but this means you’ll also need to obtain business licenses and permits from your state and local government, and read up on the FDA guidelines for cosmetics so that you’re using safe ingredients when you finally launch your makeup line.
You’ve already learned a lot about the cosmetic industry simply from using the lean startup method, so obtaining funding should be a breeze. You’ll want to create a solid business plan before you apply for funding, which should be easy because you’ll know all the ins and outs of your business.
There are still many objectives you’ll need to accomplish after you’ve bought your store.
You’ll need to obtain an EIN (Employer Identification Number) from the IRS in order to hire employees. And you’ll want to start a business bank account around this time, as well.
You’ll need to choose a business structure for your company. There are several types to choose from, such as partnerships, corporations, and LLCs. If you’d like to know more about forming an LLC, check out my article about How to Form an LLC.
You’ll also need a registered agent. A registered agent is a person or business entity that accepts mail, service of process, and legal documents on behalf of your business during business hours. To learn more about registered agents, check out my article about the Best Registered Agent.
One of the most important factors in choosing a store is its location. You need a place that is popular, isn’t home to other cosmetics stores, and where there’s a lot of foot traffic. It’s a good idea to choose a location close to stores where your target clientele will also shop, such as healthcare, nutrition and fitness, or fashion stores.
Here are some of the other things you’ll need to do once you’ve purchased your store:
- Hire employees: You should maintain a full staff of competent team members you can trust. Here are some of the positions you’ll need to hire for: CEO (chief executive officer), human resources manager, plant manager (oversees the creation of products), merchandise manager or inventory specialist, sales manager, machine operators, distribution truck drivers, and cashiers.
- Follow state requirements: Industry requirements vary from state to state. It’s important that you find out the requirements of the state you want to start your line in. It’s probable that you’ll need to obtain a legal business license from the state, as well as various permits from your local government.
- Follow FDA guidelines: You should research the Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act. This act ensures that all the cosmetics in America maintain the same level of quality and safety standards. This means they regulate the ingredients you use and how you label your products.
- Find the right private label manufacturers: Private label manufacturers make each of your products following your specifications, then put them in the specified packaging with your logo on it, and ship directly to your customers. If you’ve been making your makeup yourself, you’ll need to switch over to a private label manufacturer eventually just to cover the workload. The right private label manufacturer will produce bulk orders quickly, with your packaging and logo. It can be difficult to find brands that will produce bulk orders without negating the quality of the ingredients or craftsmanship involved, and that’s why it’s so crucial to do your research and find the best private label manufacturer for your company.
- Obtain insurance: Your product is regulated by the FDA, so it’s important that you choose the right types of insurance for your brand. There are various types of insurance for a makeup line to consider, such as general liability insurance, product liability insurance, and premises liability insurance. If you need more than one type of insurance, you could consider a business owner’s policy, which essentially bundles several types of insurance into one plan.
- Switch on the utilities: Now that you’ve purchased your store location, it’s time to take care of the utilities. Some of the services you’ll need include: gas, water, electricity, wifi, central heating and air, good ventilation, and a good security system.
- Business software: Good business software is crucial to every business. It can help you track your inventory and sales, manage employee payroll, assist with taxes, and more. To learn more about business software, check out my article about the Best Business Software.
- Seek legal advice: Any time you’re attempting to follow government regulations, it’s wise to make sure that your products and services are legal and up to snuff. Of course, the cosmetic industry and FDA regulations are a legal minefield, but there are plenty of online services to help you out. Click here to read my article about the Best Online Legal Services.
Congratulations! Starting a makeup line is a lot of hard work. This can be complicated by startling statistics, such as the fact that four out of every five businesses started using the traditional method fail during their first year. The lean startup method provides your company with a better chance at success. Here are the steps for using the lean startup method to start a makeup line:
- Identify a problem.
- Build a community.
- Identify a solution opportunity.
- Develop a solution.
- Test your Minimum Viable Product (MVP).
- Sell your MVP.
- Get feedback on your product idea.
You don’t call it quits once you’ve completed the last step of the lean startup method. Rather, it’s a continual cycle that you’ll repeat numerous times throughout the life of your business. This continual testing, growth, and renewal will lead to more success for your business.
It’s difficult to launch a makeup line, whether you use the lean startup method or not. But if you dream of becoming a household name and a fashion icon with a successful makeup line, then it’s quite likely that you’ll have the drive and ambition to lead your company toward success. With that drive, coupled with the lean startup method, your business will thrive well into the future.
Congratulations again on your decision to start a makeup line, and good luck along your business journey!
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