Eight tips on how to start your very own beauty brand

Starting your own business isn't easy, but when successful, it can earn you big bucks for creating something that you are passionate about. On day two of the IMAGE Beauty Festival 2019, three of the most business savvy in the Irish beauty industry shared with us their top tips on the business behind beauty... 

Passion, ambition and drive are only a few in a long list of attributes that it takes to start your own business. On day two of the IMAGE Beauty Festival, contributing editor Melanie Morris spoke to Darren Kennedy, Marissa Carter and Peigín Crowley about how to create a successful beauty brand.

Peigín Crowley is an award-winning spa consultant and founder at MOSS WELLNESS Consultancy, Darren Kennedy is a presenter and founder of men's grooming brand Kennedy & Co and Marissa Carter is the founder of Cocoa Brown and Carter Beauty Cosmetics. Here are their top tips...

1. Start from the bottom and work your way up


Like a lot of things in life, starting a business requires a lot of grafting, dedication and hard work. One of the key elements to building a successful brand is working from the ground up, making great connections and speaking to people who know what they're talking about, according to Darren.

Darren started from the very bottom when it came to his TV work, and he says starting a business is no different.

"Regardless of where you want to work in life or what you want to do it's learning from the base up, whether it's TV, beauty, fashion, whatever you want it's just getting in there and getting a start. It's talking to people, connecting with people, and learning on the job, it's the best university anyone can do"

Peigín also stressed this, telling the panel to master the basics before anything else. She also said to surround yourself with good mentors, as she bases much of her success on the fact that she has been fortunate enough to work with excellent mentors.


2. Once the work has been put in, take risks

Risks need to be taken to start a business, according to all three business owners, and at the end of the day, no one knows whether a business will succeed or not. However, they all agreed that the groundwork needs to be put in first.


A recent risk Marissa took was launching her new brand Carter Beauty with a massive 103 products. Most new brands would launch with a portfolio of around 20. However, she says that there is a method behind her madness.

"Well, I wouldn't have started Carter Beauty with 103 products if it hadn't have been for those 20,000 doors open to potential buyers for Carter, because of Cocoa [Brown tan]"


3. Never give up

Darren says that his number one attribute is that he refuses to give up, regardless of what happens or how many times he's kicked or knocked down.

"If a river meets a rock, what does it do? It can't go through it so it goes around it"- Darren


If you want to start a business, you need to be strong and be prepared for hurdles, because there will be many. No product is made perfect on its first go.


4. Be passionate

If you don't love the product, and you're not passionate about it, then why would anyone else be?

When Marissa was asked how she tackles all the different aspects of her career, she explained that it's because she loves it all.

"I enjoy doing things like this, I enjoy doing a masterclass, I enjoy talking about business and I enjoy talking about beauty"

Darren said that for him, passion was a big drive, but so was timing.


"Although fashion was the obvious thing for me, I decided I wanted to do something to do with grooming, but it had to be authentic to me. So, four years ago an opportunity came up in the UK, I was like 'this is really interesting', but it didn't feel right. And I thought, if I'm going to do this, it has to be Irish, it has to be made in Ireland — me in a bottle basically!"


5. Contact the right people

PR is a huge aspect of a successful business, especially if it is a beauty product, and Marissa Carter is the PR queen. Not only did she get Cocoa Brown in the hands of Kylie Jenner, but more recently, Ariana Grande has been sporting the Carter Beauty liquid eyeliner.

Her trick, she says, is contacting the wing-man or woman. With Ariana Grande, she found her favourite make-up artist on Instagram and sent him a DM asking to send him her products, with no obligation to use them. He loved the product, and asked for more.




6. Surround yourself with a good team

All three business owners agreed that delegation and surrounding yourself with a good team is key. It's knowing your strengths and weaknesses and hiring people to help with the latter.

7. Learn from your mistakes

When starting a business, mistakes will be made. However, it is about how you grow and learn from those mistakes that matters.

"Rome wasn't built in a day, but you can survive. And that's the key" - Darren 

8. Be nice to everyone

I mean, this is a given, however, it's important to always remember that being polite and nice to everyone while making business transactions is a must.


"Don't ever treat people differently just because of their position in the business. You have to be a decent person to everybody" - Marissa 

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