The Beauty Social, Oct. 2011: Want to Start Your Own Beauty Brand?

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The Beauty Social
From the left: Beautylish Beauty Director and segment host Ning Chao, Cover FX Founder and Co-Creator Jenny Frankel, theBalm Founder Marissa Shipman, LORAC Founder and Celebrity Makeup Artist Carol Shaw, Celebrity Hairstylist Byron Williams

Marissa Shipman, founder of theBalm Cosmetics, says that starting theBalm was a very organic process, with the idea growing and evolving over time.


On how to get things off the ground with your own beauty brand, she says, “You just really need a good idea and a good place to start.” When she started talking about wanting to sell her own beauty line, her dad had concerns. “Get a job, get a job,” she remembers him saying, but she was determined, felt prepared and decided to just go for it.

Jenny Frankel, founder, co-creator and executive vice president of Cover FX, actually started out as a chemist working for MAC (she created Clear Lipglass!). “It was tremendous for me,” she says of her time at MAC, “because it was a great learning experience.” On starting your own line, she says the real secret is doing your homework. “Before you invest your money, do your homework. Test on your friends, and if it’s something you want to do as a business, do a business plan. Do a little homework.”

Jenny and Marissa both suggest running your ideas by your closest friends and family first, the people you know you can trust, before you invest a lot of your own time and money into it. If your friends love it, other people might, too.

Jenny’s idea with Cover FX was to create a product that was for sensitive skin but provided full coverage and had lots of color choices.

“Seventy-five percent of all beauty ideas fail,” she warns, “but if you have a compelling point of difference, and you’ve done your homework and have a good idea, that still means that the other 25% of the ideas out there succeed.”

Carol Shaw, celebrity makeup artist and founder of LORAC Cosmetics, started out as a makeup artist, which she credits for helping her discover the essence of makeup and beauty. “No matter how much color you put on someone’s face, if their skin isn’t looking good, whether it’s for the red carpet, photography or the street, if their skin isn’t perfect, then they won’t look as beautiful as they can.”

When asked what she would have done differently if she were starting her own line today, she says, “I would’ve used someone else’s money. Use other people’s money!”

The Beauty Social
On the right: Marissa Shipman, founder and CEO of theBalm Cosmetics


How much money? Marissa says that it’s possible to bring a single product to market today for less than $10,000, but first and foremost for someone thinking about starting their own makeup company, she says, “I think you really need to have a good idea. And if you believe in your idea, you can totally make it work. So I say just do it. Trademark your name, and buy your website, and start getting your products together.”

But don’t expect things to be easy. “Be prepared,” says Carol. “It’s a lot of work. It’s fun, but it’s a lot of work.”

What about making mistakes along the way? Marissa says it comes with the territory of trying something new. “I mean, I made mistakes, but I learned from them, so I think they were worth it.”

About Beautylish and The Beauty Social

Beautylish is an online social network exclusively for beauty, a resource featuring the latest and greatest product reviews, video tutorials, makeup tips and tricks, trends, celebrity secrets, must-have products and more.

The Beauty Social was a two-day event held in Santa Monica, California, over Oct. 22-23, 2011. The annual event was organized by Beautylish and featured a variety of speakers, from famous makeup artists, to editors, company founders, bloggers and vloggers.

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 13 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Great post! I would love to know more about what you talking about during your session.

  2. Sarah says:

    This seems really interesting! That would be an incredible opportunity to start your very own beauty brand! Wow! I’d love to do that:)
    Check out my beauty blog if you wish:)

  3. Sonya says:

    Lots of good info here, what girl doesn’t dream of starting her own beauty line! Hope you were able to have a bit fun on your trip between working!
    Sonya recently posted … OPI Muppets Collection, the Glitters – Gettin’ Miss Piggy With It, Divine Swine, Fresh Frog of Bel Air, Gone Gonzo!, Excuse Moi!, Rainbow Connection – Photos, Swatches, Review

  4. Ruchita says:

    Kudos to these women for following their dreams and taking the initiative to start a business out of what they love doing!

  5. Christy says:

    love it! I’d love to hear more about your particular talk which I’m sure is coming up soon 🙂 🙂 🙂
    Christy recently posted … What makeup is in your purse?

  6. Advah says:

    I agree, great post! Those ‘how to’ posts are so interesting.

  7. artemis says:

    i wanna do that someday :))

  8. Nina says:

    great read! what was awesome about the panel was they are all behind brands that make awesome products!

  9. Karen do you have anything on what you spoke about? Can you give us notes. lol, I want to know.

  10. Jennifer says:

    Hi Karen! I am a beauty fanatic and am in the process of starting my own blog. I’ve been reading your blog but not actually posting any comments. Thanks to you, I attended the event this weekend. I thought you and the other ladies had great insight. Thank you for all your insightful and funny posts! TABS!!!!

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