There’s nothing like owning your own business. Entrepreneurship is a gateway to financial freedom, enabling women to shatter the glass ceiling and take charge of their careers. However, starting a business does come with heartache and headaches. As they say, it takes blood, sweat, and tears.
While many industries rise and fall, projections for the global beauty industry remain optimistic. Already worth $532 billion, experts expect the industry to enjoy a 5 to 7 percent compound annual growth rate, exceeding $800 billion by 2025. That means there’s still tons of potential for new entrepreneurs, especially in the online space. According to Nielson, although the top 20 brands control 96 percent of retail, indie beauty is dominating the online marketplace, making up 86 percent of eCommerce sales.
The Pros of starting a beauty business:
- Stand for something: Finding ethical brands that we’re proud to support can be hard when so many of the top names are global corporations. Starting your own business is a chance to make the impact you want on the world. You can also use your brand platform to educate others. My passion is the science behind the aging process and empowering our community to understand how their skin works.
- A chance to bring something to life: It's like giving birth to a child. In the beginning, your ideas may look like a cluster of cells, then it slowly starts taking shape and before you know it, it has a life of its own. Founding a business is an experience like no other and you’ll be so impressed with yourself when your concept comes to life.
- A great financial opportunity: The sky's the limit when you own a successful brand. Drunk Elephant sold last year for $845 million, It Cosmetics sold for $1.2 billion, and Forbes valued Huda Beauty at the same price. These and countless other beauty companies show how female entrepreneurs are building billion-dollar brands.
- Be a role model: As a business owner, you can inspire other women to change their lives. Create a community of followers and share your vision with the world.
- Innovate and propel the industry forward: The beauty industry has barely changed in years. When you’re small, you can innovate easily, without the logistical problems large companies face. Innovation is at the heart of my product line, and I’ve designed my brand with flexibility in mind.
The Cons of starting a beauty business:
- Sacrifice: Starting a business is hard work, and will take much longer than initially anticipated. In pursuit of my dreams of launching Qyral, I missed my maid of honor’s wedding, numerous birthdays, and on a daily basis, time with my son. I’ve also lived frugally, and given up two years of potential income. It motivates me to work harder than ever knowing the sacrifices I’m making will contribute to the greater good.
- It can be lonely: Starting your own business can feel lonely at times, especially in the beginning. There is no one to hold you accountable on most days, and sometimes you feel lost. It's hard for friends and family to understand your struggles and why you feel down.
- Huge upfront costs: according to the Kauffman Foundation, the average cost of a startup is $30K. For beauty brands, it can be even more since you have to pay for R&D and inventory. Production costs are high, and there are incidentals like packaging and labels that also need to be designed and manufactured, and it all has to come from an upfront investment. And after that, you still have to pay for marketing and advertising.
- Risk: Nine out of 10 businesses fail, usually because there’s no market for the product, or the timing is wrong. In 1979, Bristol Myers Squibb’s Touch of Yogurt shampoo was a flop, but today, Mother Dirt’s line of probiotic skin and hair care products are flying off the shelves. The beauty business in particular has lots of competition, and unless you have a compelling story or a product that stands out from the rest, it's easy to get lost in the crowd.
- Expensive distribution channels: If you’re relying on Facebook or Instagram ads, you’re going to spend a lot of money. This will also limit your organic growth potential. Relying on paid ads isn’t cost-effective, but if you’re fortunate to have a retail partner such as Sephora or Ulta, you will have to discount your products by 50 percent or more, without any guarantee of success.