Megan Cox woke up one morning to discover she had made $10,000 in sales overnight. At the time, she was an MIT student with a newly launched skin care line, Amalie Beauty—her first foray into entrepreneurship.

Over the next few years, Megan grew her brand into a six-figure business. But even as her lash serums and face oils kept selling out, she was losing interest in running a direct-to-consumer (DTC) skin care brand. She was at a crossroads: expand or sell. 

Megan decided to sell, diverting her attention to another skin care venture she had been growing on the side. That business is Genie Supply, a clean beauty lab that manufactures products for hundreds of other founders who started the same way Megan did—with an idea and a passion for skin care.

Now with experience in both DTC and manufacturing, Megan has no shortage of advice for those curious about how to start a skin care line. Here, she shares the hard lessons she learned along the way and tips on everything from labeling to finding a skin care manufacturer.

Founding a skin care brand means researching things like basic chemistry, production standards, and sourcing ingredients. You may also require a significant upfront investment. 

But getting started on a meager budget is possible, as Megan found, if you’re passionate and resourceful. Here’s how to start a skin care line from scratch, with lessons Megan learned throughout her career in beauty.

1. Just get started (even if you don’t feel ready)

Bars of pink soap arranged on a flat pink surface

The global skin care industry is expected to be valued at $204.61 billion by 2030. Much of the growth in the past few years can be attributed to independent brands. “The traditional brands—Estée Lauder, L’Oréal—are not growing,” says Megan. “Indie beauty and clean beauty are carrying the entire beauty industry’s growth.” And the legacy brands are reacting, snatching up smaller companies to keep their footing.

Tarte, a natural beauty line started in founder Maureen…

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