How to launch your own cosmetics company

Written by nicole whitney
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How to launch your own cosmetics company
Cosmetic lines generate enormous profits. (Cosmetics image by Ellanorah from

Billions of dollars flood the cosmetics industry each year. Creams, lotions, lipsticks and mascaras come in an endless variety to meet the desires and needs of every type of consumer. What satisfies the consumer searching for organic or natural products may not satisfy one looking for scientifically-driven, cutting-edge ingredients. If you enjoy cosmetics, and have an entrepreneurial spirit, ingenuity, style and business savvy, learn how to launch your own cosmetics line.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Computer
  • Phone
  • Business licenses

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  1. 1

    Visit to learn its regulations about cosmetics safety and labelling. The website lists restricted ingredients and provides direction on how to list warning statements for certain types of cosmetics. Use this information when evaluating the quality of products to offer in your cosmetic line.

  2. 2

    Attend cosmetics trade shows and join professional organisations. The websites and compile and publish a list of upcoming tradeshows for the cosmetics industry.

  3. 3

    Obtain the licenses you will need to sell cosmetics. Call the city and state revenue authorities and inquire about business licenses or sale tax permits. You may need a state sales tax ID number to buy cosmetics products wholesale.

  4. 4

    Make a list of products you would like to offer. Choose products or formulations that are not readily available and will fill a particular niche in your area. Decide if you will offer skin and body care or colour cosmetics, or a combination of both.

  5. 5

    Search or to find private label manufacturers to supply cosmetics. The websites list the names of hundreds of cosmetics suppliers, and give short overviews of the services they offer.

  6. 6

    Call the companies that provide the products you need. Private label cosmetic suppliers will have stock recipes for products, and may provide a consultant to help you produce custom product formulations.

  7. 7

    Contact a graphic designer to create a logo. Confirm artwork requirements with your cosmetics suppliers.

  8. 8

    Meet with a lawyer and start the process to trademark your business name and logo. With so many products on the market, having a trademark will give your cosmetics line a distinct identity.

  9. 9

    Order your cosmetics. Private label companies have minimum quantity or minimum dollar requirements for your opening order.

  10. 10

    Set up a mini-boutique in an existing store or beauty salon, or rent a kiosk at a mall to sell your cosmetics. Alternately, contact cosmetics buyers at stores you want to carry your cosmetics line. Offer to deliver products for them to sample to entice them to place an order.

Tips and warnings

  • If your cosmetics supplier charges extra to fill containers, ask if they will send the products in bulk. You can save money by filling and packaging them yourself.
  • Build a website for your company. Even if you don't sell online, it will give you another form of advertising. If you sell colour cosmetics, hire a make-up artist to makeover clients. Publish photos of the models on your website to give visitors an idea of what your cosmetics look like on the skin.
  • If larger stores recognise your cosmetics and want to place an order, take the accounts only if you can keep up with the volume they will demand. The founder of Tarte Cosmetics, Maureen Kelly, turned down Sephora and QVC when they first approached her because of concerns about volume. In 2010, she sells cosmetics through both retailers.

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