You’ve been dreaming about it for months or years, and now you’re finally ready to take the next step and start your own online makeup store. But where do you start? It can be daunting, and we’re not going to lie, it is going to be a lot of work.
The cosmetics industry is exciting and bursting with innovation, but it’s also extremely competitive, with the big players taking up a large portion of the market share. But there are always opportunities if you’re creative, determined and passionate about your dream.
In this article, we'll provide you with an overview of the cosmetics industry, and a step-by-step guide on how to start your own makeup store.
To keep you motivated, we will also give you inspiring examples of successful cosmetic brands that have made it in the beauty space.
The Cosmetics Industry in 2020
Despite a global pandemic, online beauty brands have witnessed tremendous growth. There was a big spike in sales with over 64% month-over-month growth in 2020!
But even before the pandemic, business was booming in the beauty industry. In 2019, the cosmetics industry in the US was valued at $93.5 billion.
And there is a tone of potential going forward. By 2025, the global beauty market is estimated to be worth more than $716 billion.
Selling Makeup online, What You Need To Know
There are several things you need to keep in mind when thinking of how to start your own makeup lines.
- DTC cosmetic brands: Direct-to-consumer cosmetic brands bring in an average of 63% in retention revenue. One great advantage of starting a DTC makeup line is that it allows entrepreneurs to tell their story, attract a specific audience or niche, and connect with their customers at a personal level. With a DTC makeup line, you won't have to compete more on price but focus on attracting customers with common social values or specific needs. And this is what the modern consumer wants, especially Gen Z shoppers.
- Underserved audiences: When thinking of how to start your makeup line online, you need to wrap your thoughts around underserved audiences. Buyers looking for vegan-free makeup, organic makeup, and men's makeup are good examples of these. You need to think outside the basic and common skincare and makeup products like lipsticks, foundations, and eyeshadows.
- Market trends: Keeping abreast with the current makeup trends is part and parcel of starting a successful makeup line. This will help you tailor your products to meet the current market needs.
- You can always start small: Although there is a lot of potential in the global market, you don't have to go global on day one. You can start in your city, expand to serving your home country, and then start selling internationally.
Despite the size of your business, Easyship can help you streamline your shipping processes and delight your customers with local and international shipping solutions.
How to Start Your Makeup Line In 7 Steps
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to start your own makeup line online.
- Choose your niche
Choosing your niche market is the first and the most important thing that you should do when thinking of how to start your own makeup line. If you want to stand out, you can't sell everything to everyone. Do you want to sell makeup designed for men, or do you want to start an organic makeup brand?
To find your niche, think about what makeup products you are passionate about. For example, you may be passionate about anti-cruelty, Vegan-free makeup, organic brands, or men's makeup. Then, do your research to find which makeup products are in high demand in your niche.
2. Understand the motivation behind your brand
Understanding what your brand stands for will help you find your target audience and stand out from the competition. Maybe, you might have struggled to find a foundation that matches your unique skin color, and decide that you should create one.
You may be surprised to learn that what pushed you to think of starting your makeup line is the same thing other makeup enthusiasts are looking for.
You should also understand the attributes of your products and the type of ingredients you use so that you can easily connect with your audience and help them understand the specific problem your product is meant to solve.
3. Research Your Competitors
Researching your competitors is a great way to spot gaps in the market. Before you launch your own makeup line, you need to know what the competition is up to, so that you can know what you will be up against.
Study their pricing model, the kind of special offer they have for their customers, their digital strategy, and customer reviews to see the kind of comments or complaints buyers of their products have.
Also, take a look at their vision, mission, and values to see what their brands stand for, and the unique values their brands project.
Armed with that knowledge, you can craft a unique brand proposition that will help you stand out, and identify other ways to further differentiate yourself from your competitors.
4. Source a cosmetics manufacturer or supplier
You will have several choices here. You can choose to work with private-label or white-label manufacturers or make your own products.
If you want to start a private-label makeup line, you will have to partner with a manufacturer to make custom makeup under your brand name. One advantage of working with a private label manufacturer is the many customization options you will have, from the color, fragrance, and packaging of your cosmetics.
A white label, manufacturer, on the other hand, makes cosmetics products for multiple brands, which you can rebrand under your name to give your buyers a curated shopping experience.
Both manufacturing options are great and cost-effective, but working with a private-label manufacturer gives you more customization options, which makes your makeup unique and hard to find elsewhere. This can help you stand out.
You can also choose to manufacture your beauty products on your own. If you choose this path, make sure to have the necessary skills and familiarize yourself with your makeup's ingredients so that you won't breach local and international regulations.
5. Vouch for a memorable brand
Now that you have decided how your makeup will be manufactured, it is time to create a memorable brand. Your brand story and how it makes people feel will determine whether your DTC makeup line will be attractive to your customers. Here, the aim is to create an emotional connection with your audience.
As long as your brand aligns with your audience's values, brings them joy, and makes them feel more confident, they will even be willing to purchase your products at a higher price.
To achieve this, take advantage of every stage and touchpoint in the customer journey. Make sure that your business name, logo, website, marketing materials, messaging and imagery speak to your brand story and project its unique values.
But don't stop there! Extend this to the unboxing experience by investing in branded custom packaging and product usage so that you can delight your buyers when their orders arrive and when using your products.
On top of that, make your branding unique and consistent, and your brand will stand out and become more recognizable.
6. Set up your store
This is one of the fun parts of starting a makeup line. You can even create and launch your eCommerce store without having to hire a developer.
eCommerce platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, Wix, BigCommerce, and Squarespace make it easy for you to set up and launch an eCommerce store without any coding experience, and when it’s time to start shipping, Easyship seamlessly integrates with all of these platforms.
After setting up your store, check and test everything to ensure that the purchase experience is smooth and everything is working correctly before you launch.
This shouldn't be a problem because most eCommerce platforms provide you the tools you need to test run an order. Take advantage of this to verify your shipping settings and your checkout page optimization. Also, test to see that your post-purchase emails are firing correctly.
7. Market your makeup line
So far, your makeup line is up and running. But buyers won't find you if you don't tell them that you exist. This isn't going to be easy, but it pays to play!
You need to come up with a digital marketing strategy and a budget to help put your cosmetics in front of the right customers and send them to your store. Then, choose your marketing channels, based on where your potential buyers hang out online.
A social ad campaign via Facebook, Instagram, or Google is a good place to begin in the short-term. Also, consider partnering with beauty influencers.
But you will also need to come up with a long-term marketing strategy to promote your brand organically if you want to win in the eCommerce game. Blogging about your products, unique problems in the beauty industry, and how your products help solve these problems is a good go-to to drive organic traffic.
How Much Does It Cost?
The cost of starting your own makeup line depends on how you want to start it. The cost will be very low if you start from home, create your own products, and bootstrap your growth.
But if you want to manufacture your products commercially from the get-go, then you could require significant upfront capital. For example, Leslie and Joanna, the owners of Vive Cosmetics, started their makeup line with $10,000.
Here is what Leslie had to say: "Product development is expensive. We had to start small, with one lipstick formula and only five shades."
The cost factors include:
- Inventory: you need to either manufacture your product line or stock your store through vendors
- Marketing: You will need to build your store website and develop a unique brand identity.
- Shipping: You will need to determine how much it costs to ship your products, which you can determine using the Easyship to shipping calculator.
5 Examples of Successful Cosmetics Brands
If you are really passionate about starting your own makeup line, don't develop cold feet. There are many brands that have successfully launched their DTC makeup lines online, and you can do it too.
Here are five inspiring examples of successful cosmetics brand that you can emulate:
- Vive Cosmetics
This makeup line was founded by Joanna Rosario-Rocha and Leslie Valdivia. Their motivation was to build a cosmetics brand that had roots in their culture and community. With no industry experience, they managed to launch Vive as a side hustle with a small business loan. They then bootstrapped and Googled their way to success.
2. India Rose Cosmeticary
India Daykin's motivation was to bring her favorite natural and cruelty-free cosmetics and skincare products together in one place. She launched her brick-and-mortar/online stores where she curates her collections.
3. Redhead Revolution
Kate Loveless was motivated to launch the Redhead Revolution after experiencing some difficulties finding suitable options to suit her skin complexion and eyelashes. Today, she sells beauty products like redheads and subtle shade mascaras worldwide.
4. The Lip Bar
Melissa Butler, the founder of The Lip Bar, became impatient and frustrated by the lack of diversity in beauty. And she decided to do something about it. That made her quit her job and started her makeup line by making cosmetics from her kitchen. Today, her makeup line is a force to reckon with in the beauty space.
The Founder, Emily Weiss, started her business as a beauty blogger. She then leveraged her blog following to launch her makeup line -Glossier. She stands out as a great example of entrepreneurs who relied on blogging to launch a successful cosmetic line via organic traffic.
Time to Take the Leap and Start Your Makeup Line
DTC makeup lines still have a tremendous opportunity to stand out in the beauty industry. Now that you know how to start a makeup line, why not go ahead and give it a try!
Once your business is up and running, you'll need to work with a shipping company that can help you connect with your growing community. DTC brands and ecommerce entrepreneurs turn to Easyship to streamline their logistics, connect with a global network of couriers and save time and money on their shipping.
Sign up for a free Easyship account to save up to 70% on your cosmetics shipping!