12 Tips for Starting Your Own Makeup Business

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makeup companies

Have you been make-up obsessed for as long as you can remember? If you’re considering starting a make-up business but aren’t quite sure where to start, this is the article for you.


The beauty industry contributed £28.4 billion and 590,500 jobs to the UK economy in 2018. In December the same year, the UK cosmetics sector was worth around £9.68 billion and was considered as one of the EU’s top five cosmetics markets. The industry has faced some challenges, including consumer concerns surrounding the contents of modern cosmetics. However, fortunately, many make-up companies have been able to rebrand their products, services and image to appeal to a new generation of consumers to whom “natural” and “health-conscious” are in-demand qualities.

Innovative technological advancements and the rise of Instagram influencers have also benefited make-up businesses. The UK beauty industry is incredibly competitive and boasts some of the most prestigious brand names in the world. While much of their success can be attributed to the quality of their products, new advertising methods and the adoption of “influencer” marketing practices have also helped them extend their brand reach and contributed to impressive reputations. So, if you can see yourself thriving in the cosmetics industry, follow these 12 tips to make sure you’re on the road to success.


1. Find a niche

When deciding what products or services you want to offer, ask yourself what you’re good at and what you’re passionate about. Speak to your family, friends and random members of the public and ask them what make-up products they are interested in. Find out what is currently on offer and what isn’t; what’s currently in high demand and what isn’t. Offer an experience, service or product that nobody else can; in other words, make sure your make-up business has a USP.

Did you know? The beauty industry contributed £28.4 billion and 590,500 jobs to the UK economy in 2018

2. Choose the right make-up franchise

If you’d rather take the franchise route and operate under an established brand with an existing customer base, you need to make sure you pick the right one for you. It’s important that the franchise has a comprehensive training and support package that will get you to grips with all you know and is well suited to your existing skills and expertise.

It’s also fundamental that you agree with the brand philosophy. Sacrificing what you really want out of the business opportunity will only lead to regret later on. Follow these 10 ways to find the perfect franchise for you.

3. Think about your target customer

Ask yourself who will benefit most from your products and what their specific needs are, then work out a way to make you stand out from your competition. If your make-up products have an anti-aging component, then you could set up shop in an area with a larger middle-aged and elderly population.

4. Develop a business plan

Creating a detailed business plan will save you lots of time, hassle and money further down the line. As well as it really helping you to understand your business, it helps you make sure you’ve not missed anything out. You’ll also need to show it to banks if you want funding. It should include:

  • Your niche
  • Your target market
  • Your competitors
  • Your financial forecast and funding
  • Your product range
  • Your beauty brand vision
  • Your suppliers
  • Your manufacturing and retail strategy
  • Your marketing strategy

5. Consider your start-up costs

It’s important to plan out your start-up costs and ongoing expenses so you know how much money you can put back into your business. Some costs to consider when starting your make-up business include:

  • Storefront and/or factory locations and lighting
  • Creating a well-structured website
  • Make-up accessories, for example, sponges, blenders, brushes and mirrors
  • Logo and trademark design
  • Display cases
  • POS and business management system/software
  • Staff wages
  • Logo design
  • Insurance
  • Advertising and marketing material
  • Ongoing expenses: stocking and manufacturing inventory, marketing, insurance, market research

6. Create a strong brand

While it’s important to pick a name and logo that reflects your business, your make-up brand is so much bigger than that. Everything from the product ingredients and package to marketing and the website need to collectively work together to create an emotional response from the target customer, so they can engage with your brand.

If I could give my younger self advice, I would tell myself, “Jami, take your time. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.” Most importantly, appreciate every moment. – Celebrity make-up artist and beauty brand owner Jami Svay

7. Decide on a location

In the early stages, you could decide to save money on overheads and work from home. Depending on the nature of your business, you can have an area set up where you can display your make-up products and host guests. But if your business model is better suited to a shopfront location, make sure you pick an area of high foot traffic to increase sales. Busy high streets and shopping centres are therefore a good place to start.

Research the shops that will surround your business and the type of customers they will attract. If your make-up business is next door to another retail store with a similar target customer, you can benefit from spontaneous purchases.

Consider setting up your make-up business in an affluent area where residents might have more disposable income. But if your business strategy involves offering competitive prices, you could instead look to set up in a discount beauty supply store. No matter the location you choose, your make-up business will benefit from multiple sales avenues, so consider selling online too.


8. Find suppliers

Consider what equipment you need to open your make-up business. If you’re planning on being completely digital, you’ll need a web designer and a wholesale cosmetics supplier. You might need some or all of the following if you’re operating a shopfront style business:

  • Mirrors
  • Display cases
  • Point of sales system
  • Chairs
  • Security systems
  • Sponges, brushes and other supplies
  • Make-up products
  • Furniture
  • Signage

Check out auctions or consider buying used furniture and equipment to save money. As long as it’s in good condition, why not?

Buying your stock in bulk from a wholesaler is a good idea to save money. Request samples and read reviews. Remember, only offer a product range that you would happily use on yourself – if not, you can’t expect customers to part with their hard-earned cash.

9. Test your products

Before you can start selling your make-up products, you need to have a practical test of how your products will be received by your target audience. Distribute samples to friends, relatives and people in the local area and get their opinions.

Even when your business has been thriving for a good while, it’s important to get opinions and make the necessary improvements to your business opportunity. If you get negative feedback from customers about your website, then take the time to correct it.

10. Create an online presence

Make sure that your website is memorable and user-friendly. Use it as an opportunity to showcase examples of your cosmetics products in action and include important details like product descriptions, ingredients and prices. Try to make navigating your website as easy and convenient as possible.

You can use social media to engage your audience. Post interactive and useful content about your products on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

11. Develop a marketing plan

Every make-up business needs an effective digital marketing strategy, as it usually isn’t enough to just sell face-to-face or through retail alone. You can read our seven tips for marketing your hair, beauty or cosmetics business here.

12. Run public demonstrations

You need to create awareness about your make-up products among your target audience. Research different events that are taking place where you can advertise your make-up business and perform live demonstrations.

Start your own make-up business today

If you’re on the fence about starting a make-up business, or simply want to learn more about the industry, it’s a good idea to check out one of the major events and conferences. We also have articles dedicated to the top six hair, beauty and cosmetics trends of 2020 and the top five hair and beauty franchises in the UK.

>> Read more articles on the Makeup sector

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