Typing that title hurts, even after explaining to others for over a year now, but yes, I’ve stopped any word to do with making my cosmetic line. After years and years of making my own batches in my childhood kitchen, researching for hours on end, designing unique packaging and trying to nail down everything I could, I stopped.
When I say I worked on it for years, it would have been around six years this year. I know, it’s a long time.
So why stop after so much effort?
It’s a very vague way to start but there’s no real way to tell you, but it’s really hard. I’m not a famous YouTuber that’s coming into an established makeup company – or even with the tools like manufacturer with materials guiding me – no, I’m coming from making everything from scratch, where I cook, trial, colour, trial, make my own packaging and trial everything. Making batches where the formulations wrong, the colour hasn’t blended enough, it sweats or crumbles – and that’s just to get the basic of basic lipgloss and lipstick, not even matte or ultra smooth or anything. It’s hard work!
Which ties into…
You Need Time, Plus More Time
All those batches, samples, tests, ideas.. it all takes time. You can spend one day figuring out all the base swatches you want then another day you’re spending half of it keeping waxes warm enough for colours to completely blend. It’s not days or weeks, it’s months of work, and when you have to do other things that actually make up your life or you live with other people who might not want your Dr Frankenstein mess near their food, it all pushes back more and more. Again, this isn’t even doing The Next Big Thing, this is you just making the best for you, your brand and your future customers.
It Can Be Very Expensive
All those ingredients don’t pay for themselves. Sure, little batches of things and the raw ingredients might come at a good price at first, but to make sure you have enough to do everything you want? That can come at a cost.
Even if you want to through a manufacturer who will do the formulations for you, it’s still a huge cost at the end with the thousands of units you possibly need to order.
There are even private label cosmetics that have products ready to go and you just buy what you want. It is cheaper, but you’re sharing those products with other brands, and when you’re making your own brand with your own colours and formulations, why would you want what everyone else has?
Me vs You vs Them vs Us vs…
To be successful in a competitive industry like the beauty industry means you need to have something unique. It is the only way your band will survive in the long term. Sure, makeup will always be around and no matter how shitty the economy is, we’ll always buy it, but you won’t so much as make a smudge of the industry if you don’t have a creative take.
Years ago when I started there were less Sephora stores around (none in Australia) and a lot of people still went to MAC for a lot of their makeup. Now with the rise in YouTube beauty influencers, reality stars and smaller, cult-like brands getting a lot more exposure, it’s even more difficult for me to figure out if there even a little place for my little brand.
What might take you months to think of, make, package, market and sell to your customers, established brands have been selling for months, and there are no guarantees your customers won’t already have their products.
Everyone Has Everything Covered
Coming up with that Next Big Thing in makeup is difficult, which is why stuff like this gets made-
Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics had their Lip Tar [which, sadly, as I went to edit this, notice they’re actually gone/out of business/just disappeared, which is an unfortunate example -L], Beauty Blender had… well, The Beauty Blender, Max Factor as a company, Maybelline Great Lash mascara, MAC Lipglass and Urban Decay Naked Eyeshadow Palette are a few examples companies that had a ‘hero’ product that is iconic to their brand or is their whole identity.
Hell, sometimes it’s not even the product – sometimes a brand’s products are absolutely shitty or even literally stolen or almost dupes of other companies – some just go off their name or packaging (I’m sure you could probably think of a few right now).
I know this has been really negative, I’m really sorry if you’ve been wondering how a makeup line is made, but I think in being truthful to all of you by writing it down, I’m being realistic towards myself and my time and money. Sometimes I get that urge to make something again (I actually did last night) but I tell myself that I already have other things I want to do more, that might be more attainable, more enjoyable, without spending so much time and money on it.
My last message to you today is that I don’t want you to read this post and stop whatever you’re trying to create; no matter if it’s a makeup line or your own set of children’s books, but I do want to help, even if that’s showing you my mistakes or trying to convey how hard it can be. I hope this helps you get in the right mindset to buckle down and plan better, think more innovatively to help you achieve what you want to achieve.