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The 7 Steps of Effective Product Development Take your product from killer concept to cash cow.

By Michelle Goodman

This story appears in the May 2015 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Stephanie Gonot
Objects of beauty: Founder Toni Ko.

Toni Ko's path to entrepreneurship was a common one: She wanted a product that didn't exist, so she decided to create it herself. The item in question: a high-quality yet affordable eyeliner pencil.

The year was 1999. The self-professed makeup junkie explains that at the time, high-end cosmetics were available only at department stores; drugstore alternatives didn't compare. At age 26 Ko founded NYX Cosmetics to bridge the gap between quality and price.

Armed with a $250,000 loan from her mom, Ko, who had no experience developing makeup, got to work on her first product: a stylishly packaged, premium eye pencil that retailed between $1.49 and $1.99. Her first year in business, selling only eyeliner and lip liner, she brought in $2 million in revenue.

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