I need a new mascara. Loyal as I am to certain beauty brands, I’m currently a free agent in the mascara department. 👀

There are well over 200 beauty brands sold through my local drug store, and another 250+ represented by Sephora. Any one of those brands may sell 10 different mascaras, promising every feature from lengthening to curling to water resistance. As a customer, I’m faced with a good problem—there’s too much choice.

For would-be entrepreneurs pursuing small business ideas in the beauty space, this saturation presents a real challenge.

Those with the ability to go quick to market, can jump on makeup trends and fill gaps in the industry.

Is there really room for another BB cream? Another matte lipstick? How do you, a budding makeup brand founder, get your products to stand out in a crowded market? How does a new mascara get visibility among the literal thousands? 

Luckily, ecommerce solutions and access to manufacturing resources have democratized beauty in the past decade, opening up an industry once dominated by a few massive brands. And, surprisingly, there’s still room. Trends and niche markets spring up almost daily, ready for the taking. Those with the ability to go quick to market (we’ll tell you how), can jump on these trends and fill gaps in the industry. 

Here, we’ll take you through how to start a makeup line from scratch, with expert advice and real examples from successful beauty brands.

Meet the beauty business experts

We interviewed four beauty founders who sell makeup online (and in-store) to hear first-hand about their experiences building makeup brands.

Joanna Rosario-Rocha and Leslie Valdivia

Founders, Vive Cosmetics

Two women who are experts on how to start a makeup line, the founders of Vive Cosmetics, smiling while holding their products

As first generation Latinas, Joanna and Leslie wanted to build a cosmetics brand that represented their culture and community. They launched Vive as a side hustle, with a small business loan and no industry experience, bootstrapping and…

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