Smart Ideas 02/04

On a Shoestring

What: Glamorous makeup line
Who: Galit Strugano of girlactik
Where: Los Angeles
When: Started in 1999
How much: $1,800

Galit Strugano saw stars when she and her mother watched the 1999 Academy Awards show, but it wasn't just the celebrities. "All the stars were wearing sparkle [eye makeup] down the red carpet, and it looked sophisticated and flawless," recalls Strugano, 28. Back then, most women applied the glitter to a makeshift base of ChapStick or Vaseline on the eyelid-often with disastrous results-so Strugano's mother encouraged her to develop something better. Strugano, a makeup artist/food server, started girlactik with tip money she had saved.

Strugano's mother persuaded a chemist they found through the Yellow Pages to not only take a chance on the young entrepreneur, but also to waive the expensive lab fees, charging only what Strugano could afford. Turned away by packaging companies, she bought jelly bean jars from a craft store, and her mother's friend decorated the caps. Working on her own from home, Strugano was able to place her sparkle sets on consignment at several trendy stores in the Los Angeles area to see what kind of clientele would be attracted to the product. Each store sold out of girlactik in the first month.

She's since expanded the redesigned product line to include brushes, mascara, lip gloss, shimmering eye and body powder, and more. Today, celebrities like Ali Landry and Kelly Osborne are glowing with girlactik, which projects 2004 sales of $500,000 to $600,000. Sold in boutiques and beauty stores across the country and online at www.girlactik.com, Strugano has now signed a deal to offer girlactik products in Japan. Even with little start-up capital, she's succeeded in reaching for the stars.

-April Y. Pennington
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This article was originally published in the February 2004 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Smart Ideas 02/04.

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