Tag Archives: cosmetic chemist

Today It’s All About Me…

3 Aug

There are some days when I wake up and know that today is rest day, today it’s all about Susan the living, breathing person rather than Susan the entrepreneur, or the founder of a cosmetics company, or Susan the employer. I take 3 deep breaths while still in bed and do a silent prayer, thanking God for the blessings I see in my life and asking Him to further give me the wisdom and courage to pursue the tasks of the day. (Yes I really do live by the day, maybe not so quite in the moment – it’s something I’m still learning to do ever since I read Ekhart Tolle’s “The Power of Now” – but neither do I wallow in too much worry for what’s to come next year or the year after that).

And of course, after my morning coffee ritual (these 10 minutes of just making my espresso is what I call my “minutes of reflection and peace”, extremely invigorating when it’s just you pottering about in the kitchen, watching the coffee brew and taking in that delightful aroma), I curl up on my sofa and go straight to a good book. At the moment, it’s Paolo Coelho’s “Aleph” and oooh the quotes in that book are life-changing! My favourite is definitely the one about going for your dreams (see below for today’s Beauty Tweet and share it if you agree)

Later, I do what is becoming a near-obsession lately i.e. reading business blogs mostly recommended by other female entrepreneurs (and no, they don’t all have to be written by women, as long as they’re inspiring and nurturing). A few good ones I’ve been following are :

  1. Marie Forleo
    I think she single-handedly reinvented the whole concept of life & business coaching.
  2. Melissa Cassera
    Melissa makes me smile (always a good thing during your downtime), she has some seriously good tips on PR and Marketing yourself and your brand, done in a big, brazen way which I love!
  3. Mastin Kipp’s The Daily Love
    I sometimes wish I came up with this, little snippets of how to love yourself and others in your mailbox every fortnight. Helpful, Hopeful, Heavenly.
  4. Angela Jia Kim’s Savor The Success Videos
    When Angela first started vlogging her experiences on starting her Om Aroma brand, she had less than 10 followers, and I was one of them. Fast forward 6 years later, and she not only has a successful skincare brand, but a business network for female entrepreneurs making at least 6-figure sums (yes, that is a pre-requisite to joining her Savor Success Circle!).
  5. Neil Patel
    A british transplant now based in Seattle, Neil is a serial entrepreneur and I’ve used most of his companies’ services since starting out in business myself (the Hello Bar, Crazy Egg, etc…). A great marketer that we can all learn from.

Another thing I like to do on my “It’s All About Me” day is to work, and I know that sounds counter-intuitive but when I say work, it really has none of the negative connotations relating to doing something that someone forced upon me, or the daily humdrum of having to complete a project when all you really want to do is bask in the sunny outdoors with a lemonade. I L-O-V-E the creative part of my work, so it really is something I jump out of bed excited to do, especially when designing packaging, creating colours and tweaking our formulations. You can see from below, my hands are constantly (and I meant constantly!) covered in makeup. The picture below was taken when I was trying to compare whether the fill would fit in nicely with the injection colour of the primary component samples that I’d received just a couple of days ago.

Photo 03-08-2014 11 56 59

And below another shot (sorry I could have made it clearer but it’s my “All About Me” day today :)) of the 2 primaries which I have to choose from, a really fun part of the creative process as you look for brand & design consistencies.

Photo 03-08-2014 11 50 28 copy


TODAY’S BEAUTY TWEET : “Don’t be intimidated by others’ opinions. Only mediocrity is sure of itself, so take risks and do what you really want to do”@sosusanbeauty


Weekend Spent Formulating Foundations

17 Mar

Buriti Foundation Samples

OK, so not quite the weekend (that itself was spent just finalizing the colours), this has been in the making for 2 whole months trying to get the texture just right while being able to incorporate the various peptides and botanical oils that I wanted. Ever since trying Buriti Fruit Oil on my hair and mixed in with my facial oils, I’ve been quite obsessed with this slightly orange, matte oil that just moisturizes everything (hair, nails, skin) without leaving an oily residue or any nutty, cooking-oil smells (think : Argan!). Also as I’m now in my early thirties, the word “anti-aging” appears more and more in my vocabulary and in nearly every other sentence I utter when I’m in the lab formulating and even though I still sometimes get asked for my ID when buying a bottle of wine at my local Waitrose, lines and wrinkles (and my near-obsession with preventing them from appearing on my face) are still a big worry. So I had Lara (our cosmetics chemist) incorporate the trusty Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamins C and E and the Buriti Oil into a few formulations (matte, waterproof, dewy, light, tinted moisturizers, etc…) and she very kindly (and quickly! – which I’m always grateful for) developed samples for me to test at home on myself and absolutely everyone I come in contact with.

Foundation Shades

Help A Reader!

11 Oct

Hi Kaitlyn!

I remember those days when I used to wreck my brains over the figures for every little thing, from packaging to formulation to labour costs to shipping and packing, to fulfillment costs, even to the sandwich I was going to have for lunch! It’s still a big headache today, only now I have the luxury of a customized software that we use as well as several more hands to help me with the nitty-gritty bits of the business.

To be honest, there is no other way of getting an accurate evaluation of your business plan or the funds you’re going to be needing (and ultimately spending!) if you don’t request for current prices from your manufacturers. Each product that you come up with (if you’re contract manufacturing, which I’m supposing you are) is so customized to your exact requirements (from print size, colour, texture of the components, to formulations, to fill quantities, to the final quantities you order, to your packing methods, etc…) that there just isn’t any way of “guessing”, unless you’ve had that exact product manufactured before.

A few things that may be able to help though is perhaps getting a buffer fund together i.e. an emergency fund, something you can fall back when and if you have underestimated or come across an unexpected cost. In this economy, I think it’s also great to keep your current job (i.e. in makeup artistry) going at full-force while you are planning your next steps so there’s always a sense of security and most importantly relevant trading history.

I hope this has helped, but I’m opening up the question to the public in any case.

Rgds, Susan.


Name: Kaitlyn
Email: kaitlyn@kaitlynrae.ca
Website / Blog: http://www.kaitlynrae.ca
Your Questions: Hi there!

I’m so happy to have come across your blog. I’ve been wanting to start a makeup line for years and have been working as a makeup artist in film/tv and fashion. I’ve been very ill and have just started to recover and realized that I really need to get things going with this dream of mine, because… life is just too short!
I have all of my products planned and have been doing a ton of research again. I have been updating all the notes I had on my business plan but now that it comes down to getting actual figures to apply for grants and loans, I really have no idea what figures to come up with. When you did your first business plan, how accurate were your figures for start-up costs? I’m trying to figure out the costs of a smaller start-up once everything has been formulated (I’ve teamed up with a cosmetic chemist). I’m trying to find out what our start-up costs will be if our goal is to really try and do it right (our brand will rely on a target market with money and therefore their attention to quality and luxury-type items will be key)

Is there any way you can think of to do this without requesting real quotes from companies? I’ve researched lots of companies, but I don’t yet have the details they require to give me a quote. I want to make sure that the numbers on my business plan will reflect the amount of money I’ll need but these figures are so daunting!

The information you supply on your blog is so valuable and it’s helped me so much! Thank you for sharing with all of us who are passionate about getting into this business 🙂

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Kaitlyn Rae