Launching a business is a dream for many, but in an oversaturated industry like beauty it is no easy feat. Julie Fredrickson, co-founder and CEO at Stowaway Cosmetics, told Vogue Business that it costs at least $1.5 million to fund the first 12 to 18 months of a beauty brand. Besides the financial aspects, entrepreneurs must cover a number of important roles from the very start.
Launching a beauty business has its challenges and on top of this, managing to continue running successfully during a global pandemic has proven difficult for so many existing brands. However, for the following young entrepreneurs, this is a time to be proud of. From a beauty brand making false lashes easier than ever, to a skin and hair care brand dedicated to black men. These young entrepreneurs have defied to odds and are truly shaking up the beauty industry.
Known across the social media world for her signature fluffy brows, Jess Hunt started out by conquering the influencer game and went on to launch her successful beauty brand during lockdown.
The 24-year-old from Plymouth currently has a whopping 1.5 million followers on Instagram and her dreamy feed frequently includes makeup tutorials and glowing selfies that have her loyal following eager to get their hands on her products.
Jess’ Instagram followers constantly asked what products she used on her brows to create her signature brushed-up look, so creating a streamlined brow collection made sense. She joined forces with Shrine founder Jenna Meek and in November 2020 Refy launched their three-stage brow collection. During what was a challenging time for many brands, beauty lovers across the world were stripping back their makeup routines during multiple lockdowns in favour of a more subtle look.
REFY offers a simple way to achieve the ‘no makeup makeup’ look, and consumers responded eagerly, buying over 100,000 units in the first six weeks and ensuring an entire stock sell-out for the brand more than once. The brand quickly gained traction and attracted the attention of influencers and celebrities such as Molly-Mae and Little Mix’s Leigh-Anne Pinnock. Within two months of the self-funded business’s launch, REFY was approached by senior buyers at Sephora. As a result, the brand’s first product range launched online and in 320 Sephora stores across the US and Canada. Gaining cult status, the brand has continued to strive and is sure to continue its success with their range of products, from blushes to highlighters.
A cornerstone of black communities around the world is barbershops. It’s a space for conversation and socialisation aside from just haircuts. However, a common complaint is the lack of good quality customer service.
The South-East London native Aaron Wallace decided to open up his own barbershop and tackle this issue head on. Launching the Shear and Shine barbershop in 2016, Wallace aimed to offer an experience that maintained the community feel but excelled in customer service.
During his time as a barber, Aaron saw first hand the challenges faced by his customers when it came to finding good quality products suitable for their skin and hair needs. Wallace found that many of the products he had been familiar with were not specifically designed for male afro hair and with this in mind he decided to launch his own range of products.
He got in touch with marketing professional Lina Gadi and together the pair made significant steps in launching Wallace’s eponymous brand. They spent two years working alongside formulation experts and manufacturers to develop and test products that would actually work to improve afro hair and skin, without the use of any toxic ingredients. Their products key ingredients of Black Seed Oil and Mango Butter are rich in nutrients that work to combat dryness and reduce breakage.
Their selection of products now includes hair and beard shampoo, conditioner and nourishing oil. This is a brand determined to champion and redefine the perception of black men world wide and will continue to inspire black men to be the best they can be, by looking and feeling good.
Jordynn Wynn’s career began at ColourPop Cosmetics, where she helped to launch the brand and led collaborations with big names such as Disney making her way from intern to Marketing Director. In 2018, Jordynn and ColourPop colleague Sharon Pak joined forces to found Insert Name Here Hair, a brand that is revolutionising the way Millennials and Gen Z interact with hair extensions, hair accessories, and self-expression.
One of the main problems the pair identified when researching the hair space was the extreme variation in quality and price point. It was a challenge to find high-quality hair pieces at accessible price points. A lot of wigs and extensions are hundreds of dollars. However, the affordable pieces were very low quality. They were made of plastic and you could not style them freely. The pair knew that people wanted to experiment with wigs and extensions but didn’t feel confident in the quality or reliability of the available options.
What followed was a wide variety of high-quality hair pieces, wigs and other accessories. Designed to allow users to experiment with their look easily and to never limit self-expression. INH hair offers quality, variety and up-to-date trends without a hefty price tag.
Continuing their success, the brand has launched their own range of hot tools. The perfect companion to their hair extensions and wigs, these tools make styling easy and efficient. The pair have big plans for the future and will undoubtedly continue to take the beauty industry by storm.
With no experience and only her life savings, Ann McFerran went from studying Psychobiology at University to creating a beauty empire.
After feeling disconnected from her science degree and dabbling in art, McFerran decided to allow her creativity to speak for itself. Growing up in Thailand, she had often been teased for looking different and wearing makeup and lashes were a transformational tool that allowed her to feel more confident.
While researching, McFerran found she wasn’t alone in her struggle to apply fake eyelashes. When magnetic lashes came out, she was pleased to find glue was unnecessary but the execution was poor – it was difficult to use amd did not solve her issue.
This is where McFerran’s scientific background came into play. She developed a magnetic eyeliner that then would attach to the magnetic eyelashes and was able to find a vendor that could actually execute her dream of full voluptuous lashes that were easy to apply.
Glamnetic has since become the first completely self-funded lash brand to come out with six magnet lashes and the first color magnetic lashes. Listed in Forbes 30 under 30 list, the brand has expanded to include nails, brand partnerships and accessories and we sure this is just the beginning.
From drug-store regulars to frighteningly harsh DIY treatments, Jamika Martin tried almost everything trying to get rid of her acne throughout her college years. Whilst studying at UCLA, she decided it was time to take matters into her own hands and Rosen Skincare was born.
The brand’s natural but effective ingredients and aesthetically pleasing, Instagram friendly packaging makes it stand out in the over-crowded acne market. Martin speaks of walking down the acne aisle at Target and seeing the exact same products she had used on her skin as a pre-teen. This was at a time when clean and indie beauty was becoming popular, and she felt that those with acne-prone skin were being left out of the conversation. There was no cool branding or packaging or ingredient lists that were clear to understand.
During her third year at UCLA, Martin took an entrepreneurship minor which allowed her to take her idea to the next level and to finally consider it as a scalable business.
Now the uber-cool acne care brand has grown into a fan favourite with a number of incredible products on offer and shelf-space in stores such as Urban Outfitters.
Moving forward, Martin aims to innovate the mass acne space and change the way we talk about breakouts and how we think about treating them. Highlighting the need for more education around skin care for an acne-prone customer.