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Reader Question

8 Feb

“I’m so glad I’ve come across your blog I’ve been looking everywhere for help! I’m a 16 year-old looking to start a small business-like system just to make a small profit and possibly mess around and see if starting a makeup business could be long term. I’m at the great age where people respect kids with big ideas and where there’s no taxes and not too many consequences should it fail. I am so ready to start this, makeovers, makeup for dances and descent priced makeup etc. is in a good demand in my area. However, I’m going to need makeup that I can re-sell.I have money to invest for the cost of makeup but I’d still like to keep it low budget. Help?”

You could definitely start with all the private label manufacturers that I mention in previous posts. Another great way of getting started if you’re on a really low budget (and this is great for anyone at any age, in fact the younger you start a business, the more you learn at a greater pace), is to make your own. Go to a website like Bramble Berry where you can learn to mix & hot pour your own lip balms, lipsticks, soaps, etc… Another great website is TKB Trading, I’ve actually bought some pigments from them before to mix before I hand over to the lab to further develop into larger vats. They’re a a great place to start if you want to make your own nail polishes (it’s really quite ingenious!), eye shadows (and I mean those you press in a pan, very professional-looking albeit tedious), mineral powders, lipsticks (complete with metal lipstick moulds which are SO difficult to source for!), etc… I am quite impressed with their array of products. The only problem I find is the inconsistency in their colour pigments. Once we re-ordered the exact same red (I think it was red 7 lake), and it came out in an entirely different shade. On the whole though, cheap & cheerful ingredients to start you off.
Best of luck!
xx Susan.

Reader Question

29 Nov

“Hi! Just found your blog and truly enjoyed your honest entries about starting a makeup business. I am interested in finding a company that specializes in high performance eye cosmetics (I have a niche clientele with many eye disorders and sensitive eye issues)that I could private label to start my line. I have tried Grafton, Your Name Pro, Lady Burd. Are there any others that you would recommend? Thanks so much!”

I am an avid believer in not overloading your skin with products, particularly if it is already sensitized. Unless you’re working with a cosmetic chemist, a general rule for startup entrepreneurs is to ask the manufacturer for their ingredients listing and to go for the one with the shortest list in its base (i.e. excluding colour pigments which are classified under the “+/- (may contain)” portion). You may find “fragrance/parfum” even in eyeshadow powders, so a formulation which omits that will be your priority.

Grafton, Your Name Pro and Ladyburd are all decent companies, Your Name Pro being the most expensive in my experience, but also the most innovative & sophisticated in every way, from their formulations to their private label packaging, to even their marketing material that is provided free. I have also come across Audrey Morris recently, they have added a mineral line with very simple ingredients that is worth trying out.

Is it right to brand private label cosmetics as your own?

18 Oct


I’ve recently been asked whether it’s “ethical” to use private label cosmetics, especially when you’re starting out in this investment-heavy industry and don’t have the funds to purchase large minimums from contract manufacturers. As one of my readers put it : Is it right to take credit for someone else’s work?

As you all know, I started Jelly Pong Pong with the most minimum of funds. I was after all, still at university and other than a very strong passion and conviction that I was meant to be in the cosmetics industry, I really didn’t have the funds to back my ambitions up. The first people I started stocking from were private label companies, namely Ladyburd and Grafton. What I did do differently, was to repackage their formulations. Since I didn’t have control over the ingredients, I was determined to put them in packaging of my choice. How that was done deserves another post altogether!

Last year, Space NK started stocking Lime Crime, a cosmetics line known for its unconventional colour choices. It has however, created huge waves of resentment in the States, especially among bloggers, for using private label products and not admitting to this practice. When exposed, the founder threatened to sue the blogger. Really not the best option knowing that bloggers root for each other and word of such naughty corporate behaviour spreads like wildfire over the blogosphere.

I  honestly don’t think there’s anything wrong with using private label cosmetics, whether it’s ready-packaged or whether you repackage them yourself, as long as you do not claim to have made the formulations yourself, and are honest with those who actually bother to call in to ask. After all, it’s a wonderful business opportunity…Private label manufacturers put these products out there in order to make a profit, and brand owners  launch their lines with quality cosmetics at minimal costs, enabling them to focus on growing their company to a stage where they are finally able to formulate on their own. A few other companies who used private label companies when they first started are Pixi Cosmetics (they used Ladyburd) and Napoleon Perdis (he had a selected range from YourNamePro). Both are now stocked in hundreds of Target stores after having exited Sephora. Closer to home, we have Daniel Sandler, a talented makeup artist who very obviously takes from YourNamePro.