Firm Foundation

Two entrepreneurs build a cosmetics empire based on flawless faces and celebrity clients.
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This story appears in the July 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Vital Stats: Lisa Thurman (l.), 45, and Sue Katz, 46, of AmazingCosmetics in Libertyville, Illinois

Company: Cosmetics manufacturer

Projected 2006 sales: $2 million

Formula one: In 1999, when Thurman approached friend and makeup artist Katz to start a cosmetics company, they instantly knew what their first product would be: a concealer that would erase rather than cover up skin imperfections. "No one knows you're wearing anything," swears Thurman. The partners and a patient chemist worked extensively to create the perfect formula.

Beauty queens: Through cosmetic karma in 2000, Katz and Thurman were able to get their AmazingConcealer into a catalog for spa and cosmetics company Bliss and noticed by the founder of the Cloutier Agency, an agency for professional image-makers. Cloutier's cadre of makeup artists received samples and introduced the product to clients including Demi Moore and Nicole Kidman. Says Katz, "[Having celeb-rity clients] is a great way to build a brand!"

Coloring kit:AmazingCosmetics expanded its line with products including mineral face powder and eye shadows, sticking with neutral colors. Its new Perfectly Amazing kit comes with an instructional DVD featuring a Hollywood makeup artist. The cosmetic line is found in select Nordstrom and Sephora stores, in most Ultas, and on the company's website. Katz and Thurman hope to expand internationally to Canada, Japan and Korea; they've already found huge success on QVC and QVC UK.

Age defying: Entering the supercompetitive cosmetics industry wasn't too intimidating for Katz and Thurman, who are both married with children. "I don't think I could have done it in my 20s," says Katz. "I didn't have the confidence." Thurman agrees. "I feel like I'm a late bloomer. Having children gave me confidence."

Edition: July 2017

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