3 Ways to Start Your Cosmetics Company

Starting a cosmetics company? Here’s my advice.


So you’ve done your research and you’re still unsure of how to start the makeup brand of your dreams? Let me help you out a bit by sprinkling some of my experience into the mix.


There are three main roads to creating your own cosmetics company: DIY, private label, and custom manufacturing. I’m going to give my overall advice at the end, but before then, I want to give you a few points to focus on about each.



Being able to create products exactly how you envision is the major perk of going the DIY route. You’re able to use the exact ingredients you want, position the product how you want, and create trending products overnight.  


There are two issues I want you to focus on. The first is lab work. Creating products can become very tedious and depending on the product, can take years to complete. Plenty of indie brands end up stalling because the owners have to handle everything from product creation, shipping, marketing, and customer service while also having a life outside of the brand. Keeping a strict schedule is necessary for growth and burn out will happen. 


The second is scaling up your products. Will you hire people or outsource to a contract filling service? Have a general idea of how you plan to increase production, because you’ll have little time to think about it once your brand gains traction. 


If you decide to do it yourself, focus on one type of product eg. lipsticks, highlighters, eyeshadows, etc. Seek private label companies when you’re ready to branch out. It’s the best way to avoid stretching yourself thin.


Private Label

Most cosmetic brands start out using private label products. The perks of using this method are that you’re able to go from conception of an idea to reality in less time, stability, microbial, and package testing have been done for you, and you have more free time to do the activities you love. Of course there can be a few bumps in the road if the private label company goes out of business, stops selling a product you want, or if another company picks up the same product and sells it at half the price.



Custom Manufacturing

Many private label companies offer the chance for customers to create their own original formulas and shades. Building a product from scratch can take time, so if you are impatient, this may not be the route for you just yet. It’s very rewarding to have your very own formula. Customers are savvy, and they often look at ingredients to see what will be going onto their bodies and if there are any other companies with the same formula. The main drawback to having a custom formula is the initial startup costs. There are a couple of companies like CCG Beauty and Aurora Cosmetics that make custom products affordable. They offer low MOQ and options to slightly adjust products already in their catalogs.



My advice is to start with a reputable private label company and get custom packaging for all of your products. During my research, I was surprised to find how many brands sold in Sephora use private label products. The one we all know is Skindinavia being the maker of Urban Decay’s All Nighter Setting Spray. Most of us aren’t able to tell what’s private label or not  because of the custom shades and packaging the brands use to distinguish themselves from the competition. In the beauty world, it’s what’s on the outside that counts, so be as vain as possible in this area. Good luck on your journey to creating your own brand. I know you can be successful!