100 Things You Need To Know To Succeed In The Modern Beauty Industry

These beauty moguls and industry influencers offer their experience in the highly sought-after and competitive cosmetics market.
100 Things You Need To Know To Succeed In The Modern Beauty Industry
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The global beauty industry is more than a half a trillion-dollar business. What does one need to do if they want to start a successful beauty business? What does one need to succeed as an executive in a large beauty brand?

Authority Magazine had the pleasure of interviewing close to one hundred leaders who have either started a successful beauty business, or executives in a large beauty brand. We also went out of our way to include the voices of many leaders and executives of color. 

We asked each of them to share their "Five Things You Need To Know To Succeed In The Modern Beauty Industry."

Here are the highlights of their ideas. 

Monica Arnaudo of Ulta Beauty

Monica Arnaudo of Ulta Beauty
Image credit: Authority Magazine

1. The customer always comes first. I grew up in beauty retail with a very simple (and very powerful) quote: “If you take care of the customer, the sales will follow.” If every decision is guided by “what’s best for our customer,” we will continue to win affinity and loyalty.

2. Be nimble. The beauty industry is rapidly changing . Trends evolve and consumers seek the next product or service. It’s important to remain flexible and keep guests at the core of decision making. When digitally native brands started gaining traction, we quickly determined a need to offer these brands in our stores. Launching brands such as Morphe, Kylie Cosmetics, and Colourpop are great examples of this and our SPARKED program embraces it fully.

3. Stay educated. With new products, new formulations, new market research, and new social and digital influences and influencers, it’s critical to remain informed and savvy. I think back to when we launched Florence by Millie Bobby Brown as an example. We knew our core audience for this brand consumed media differently  —  specifically, they were very engaged with Tik Tok, a newer platform at the time of launch in late 2019. We created our first Tik Tok campaign to support the brand launch and gained valuable insights about the platform and Gen Z audience that continue to inform our campaigns.

4. Believe in the power of beauty. It’s not only a job, but a privilege, to help people tap into their creativity to express themselves. That’s what makes it so exciting to get up every day and do this work. Because Beauty is a “feel good” industry and everyone wants to feel good, I often say to people “we get to do this!”

5. Trust the endless possibilities: There are so many paths in the beauty industry  —  be open to different avenues and learning new skills. One of my favorite roles was a business development position (somewhat outside of my wheelhouse). I was able to drive several initiatives for the company, adding value to the company and gaining incredible knowledge that I still utilize today.

Lia Dias of Girl Cave LA & Married To Medicine LA

Lia Dias of Girl Cave LA & Married To Medicine LA
Image credit: Authority Magazine

1. Heavily invest in marketing and promotion. It’s easy to think that because the business is doing well, the marketing budget doesn’t need to be robust. I find that to be quite the opposite, it is when I am doing well that I double down on marketing dollars and it always pays off.

2. Integrity can’t be taught. Once someone demonstrates a lack of integrity, cut ties immediately. I held on to employees, vendors, and contractors for far too long because I didn’t acknowledge that fact. Once you see it and know it… move on. It will cost you more if you don’t.

3. Don’t be afraid of collaboration. As a new business, I was fearful to attach my name to other brands. How foolish! It’s about finding the right collaboration and brands that reflect your company’s values. Some of my best outcomes have come when working with the right brands.

4. Invest in the development of staff. Training courses, personal development, and workshops can be costly. However, key staff needs to be groomed. Once you find the right team, help them grow! It improves not just productivity but the culture of the company.

5. Learn from your mistakes… quickly. A lot of times I lost momentum by “crying over spilled milk." It’s a waste of energy and mental space. Learn the lesson, don’t get stuck, and bounce back.

Jasmin Manner of The Honest Company

Jasmin Manner of The Honest Company
Image credit: Authority Magazine

1. Have speed. The beauty industry is very fast paced and growing faster than any other category. To succeed, you must have your pulse on the latest trends and the agility to execute swiftly. Someone once told me, “diamonds are made under pressure” and this really resonates with me and how I approach the beauty industry. You have to work quickly  —  often under pressure  —  and still need to deliver the best product possible for your consumer.

2. Have your ear on the ground and understand the consumer. Listen to your community and understand the importance of social media when it comes to listening to consumer wants and needs. In today’s community-based environment, listening to the customer is more important than ever.

3. Be design-driven. Delight your consumer. People want to use products that make them feel better and/or look beautiful. Having appealing, well-manufactured packaging and design is a part of this process  —  it’s all about the whole experience.

4. As a leader and a people manager, be humble and authentic, and give your team the opportunity to be heard and inspired. The modern employee (Millennial and Gen Z) has a different view of leadership and does not resonate with old fashioned hierarchies. They have a unique point of view and are also a consumer that deserves to be heard.

5. Trust your gut. This takes years of experience, including success and failures, but once you get to a certain point in your career, sometimes you just need to trust your gut.

Teneya Gholston of Creme of Nature/Revlon

Teneya Gholston of Creme of Nature/Revlon
Image credit: Authority Magazine

1. Innovate. Forecast and stay ahead of the trends. If you’ve ever worked on a legacy brand, then you know that it is not easy to keep the brand relevant year after year. It’s easier to hold onto what has made you successful. The “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality will stagnate you. I’ve learned that in the digital age, consumers embrace change now more than ever. Being able to adapt quickly is imperative, and that includes introducing new line extensions and updating the packaging more frequently. Sure, a few loyal consumers will complain, but if the innovation meets their needs, they will adapt. Consumers crave updates in almost every category of their life, and beauty is no different. Today’s beauty consumer craves newness, especially if it improves her regimen or saves her time and money. Remember, you don’t have to be first, but you surely shouldn’t be last.

2. Problem solve. Think outside of the box and always look for ways to solve consumers’ pain points. Our best-selling product is our edge control, Perfect Edges. This product ranks №1 in our category because we provided a better solution than our competitors. Our team identified a gap in performance, and we made a product that exceeded consumers’ expectations.

3. Build relationships vs. networking. Networking can get you a basic introduction but doesn’t guarantee follow-up. Investing in relationships is not a selfish transaction. You are creating value based on common interests and goals. Relationships will certainly drive success and promotion.

4. Be a thought leader and a disruptor. I have always felt that my creativity and entrepreneurial skills are important aspects of my business acumen. Once, during a job interview midway into my career, I was criticized for being too creative and a jack of all trades. I thought about that for a long time and decided I was never going to be a run of the mill corporate brand manager. Beyond my core responsibilities, I’ve always been happy to dive in and work closely with creative teams and our experts, if that’s what it took for the brand to succeed. I’m glad that I followed my instincts because they’ve led me to my biggest wins.

5. Be consistent with your messaging. I extend this practice into my personal brand as well. Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room, and you want to make sure that you are known for two to three reputable strengths that you demonstrate daily.

Celebrity Makeup Artist Jerome Alexander

Celebrity Makeup Artist Jerome Alexander
Image credit: Authority Magazine

1. Number one is you have to always have innovation. I always use the expression "America doesn’t need another cosmetic line." So, in order to succeed, I believe you have to be creative and innovative.

2. Two is to put together a quality product. I have discovered years and years ago in the cosmetics industry that it doesn’t really cost more to make a quality product or to make one that’s inferior, it’s all in the knowledge of the chemists and the designer, and all the people that are involved in developing the product.

3. Three is to know your market: to choose who the demographic of the customer you’re trying to reach, to be able really to understand what your customer wants and needs.

4. Four is that makeup doesn’t have to be expensive to work. For example, you can make the greatest lipstick in the world for one dollar. And you could make a really terrible one. The difference between the bad lipstick and the magnificent one comes down to the skillset of those who made the product: the people who made the magnificent lipstick knew what they were doing in terms of knowledge, style, and ingredients.

5. Five is to use attractive packaging. Women like their cosmetics to look good. For example, if a woman is out to dinner and if she wants to take out her lipstick or powder, she wants to take out a good-looking product. Use the best packaging available.

Perry Petit-Beau of Wave Glyder

Perry Petit-Beau of Wave Glyder
Image credit: Authority Magazine

1. I wish someone told me that entrepreneurship can be a lonely journey. It is not lonely in regards to being alone, but lonely in regards to the fact that it is difficult to find like-minded people. There will be times when you have to keep your ideas and thoughts private. People will not always have the same mindset as you when it comes to your dreams.

2. Prepare to not make any profit for the first few years. For the first few years, prepare yourself mentally and financially to invest in your company. We all have this dream that in the first year you’ll make one million dollars in profits, but it’s not a realistic expectation. This means, saying no to dinners with friends and no family vacations. It means sacrificing the things you want to pursue your business goals.

3. Importance of credit. I wish I had known a few years ago, the importance of building and maintaining business credit. Most people only focus on their personal credit score but it is important to establish business credit for the future expansion of your business.

4. Don’t be cheap! It is important to keep in mind the costs associated with your business; however, it is also important to make sure that you never compromise quality.

5. Be a master of one. Being a jack of all trades and master of none is the norm today. When I first started my company I didn’t know that I would face mental challenges that would tempt me to become a “jack of all trades.” I learned that building a business requires 100 percent attention and trying to divide that attention into other gigs makes my business suffer.

Yegi Saryan of Yegi Beauty

Yegi Saryan of Yegi Beauty
Image credit: Authority Magazine

1. Determination is crucial. You have to put in the hard work to make your vision come to life.

2. Keep on going! Your hard work will pay off in ways you would never have imagined.

3. You can have a successful business without being physically present 100 percent of the time. If there are correct systems put in place, then it will be successful.

4. Help. Helping others is one of the most important aspects of success.

5. You need a social media following! Our YouTube channel was one of the biggest things that made my business what it is today. It’s so important to get your name out there.

Nikia Londy of Intriguing Hair

Nikia Londy of Intriguing Hair
Image credit: Authority Magazine

1. Invest in a quality hairpiece for those days when you just have a bad hair day. It’s as simple as putting it on and walking out the door. Don’t forget the wig head and stand. It makes styling extremely effortless. I recently had a customer who had thinning in the front of her hair. It became difficult for her to camouflage the thinness with her hair. I suggested one of our hair toppers. She just sent me an email thanking me for saving her 30 minutes from her daily routine in the morning.

2. For Hollywood glam curls. After curling each piece. Hold your hair together in the palm of your hand. Use either a hair clip or bobby pin. To hold the curl together. Allowing the hair to cool down and set will produce more volume and longer-lasting curls. For fabulous curls without heat put a minimum of four Flexi rods in at night. You can also use more. It requires minimum effort. When you wake up it will only require less than five minutes to remove.

3. Kenra Platinum Silkening gloss is my absolute favorite hair product. It works on all hair textures and types. It eliminates frizz and is lightweight. You don’t have to worry about product build-up. It doesn’t weigh your hair down. The scent is alluring. I also adore their brand packaging.

4. My favorite tip if you need to control flyaway hairs. Spray spritz and hairspray on your comb. Then comb the top of your head it eliminates them. It was a tip I learned years ago on a photoshoot for a hair company. We kept cutting the flyaways off and it seemed the more we cut the individual strands the more they came back. The lead hairstylist gave me that tip and has helped so many individuals since.

5. Everyone should have a satin pillowcase. The main benefit is less friction, which prevents breakage and causes less static on your hair strands. Additionally, maximizing the longevity of any hairstyle, you had during the day. Moisture is retained because satin does not absorb whereas cotton does the exact opposite. When I do events such as hair shows or fashion week and it requires extravagant hairstyles, I prep the models a day beforehand and make sure to give them satin pillowcases. It makes my job so much easier.

Summer Latino of Chi Works

Summer Latino of Chi Works
Image credit: Authority Magazine

1. Connect with your intention. When you start don’t get overwhelmed with everything you need to do. Map out a timeline of every project you need to get done. That way you can see where you are lagging behind and put energy there. …remember you don’t eat an apple in one bite.

2. Find your formulas and ingredients. Get a heat plate/stirrer, scale, measuring equipment, beakers, and a commercial mixer. Commercial mixers go from $700-$250,000. I learned about them and found a new one on eBay for 80 percent cheaper than the mixer salesman quoted.

3. Branding is a MEGA huge deal. You can’t do a one size fits all. Get super clear on your target market. 99designs has incredible freelancers for logo, labels, style guides, and websites. Look at different profiles, see which ones connect with you and your vision, and reach out to them for a quote. Negotiate.

4. Packaging is a whole crazy ride. Most places are 20,000 per SKU. I googled “best cosmetic packaging." I found the one who won first place internationally for their air pumps. Since mine is natural, that sounds like it would keep it fresh and happy! Here’s what I learned- my customers want glass, the process takes at least six months and it’s super easy to screw up (I left out the very first ingredient of aloe on the ingredient list). I do have new branding so working on new packaging that is made from glass using windmills in Italy to power their production.

5. Don’t give up. Keep going. It’s crazy, it’s hard, it’s fulfilling. Whatever is your heart’s calling, there’s always a way to make your dreams come true. Work smart. Work hard. When you want to give up, let yourself feel however you feel, pick yourself up and write a list.

Maryam Ghafarinia of The Modern Beauty Industry

Maryam Ghafarinia of The Modern Beauty Industry
Image credit: Authority Magazine

1. Success doesn’t happen overnight. It requires commitment, hard work, and consistency. Put in the work and it will pay off.

2. Provide value. Whether you are an influencer or a beauty brand, in order to be successful, you have to provide value to your audience/customers. Your end goal should be making their lives easier by providing value.

3. Be authentic and use your own voice. Because the market is very congested, sometimes it’s easier to fall in the path of copying others. I personally disagree with this. Being authentic has allowed me to build a strong bond with my audience and their loyalty to me and my brand is undeniable.

4. Outsource. It’s important to designate tasks to others and have a team to help you grow. Focus on what you do best, and let others help you grow your business. If you end up doing everything yourself, it will be very hard to be successful because your attention gets spread out too thin and it’s easy to get wrapped up with everyday tasks and lose sight of your main goal.

5. Don’t ever stop learning. The beauty industry is very fast speed and in order to be successful, you need to learn how to keep up with it and how to adapt to changes.

Anthara Patrice of MyBeautyFill

Anthara Patrice of MyBeautyFill
Image credit: Authority Magazine

To succeed in the Modern Beauty Industry, you need to know:

1. Why beauty is important to you: Since the age of eight, beauty has been important to me because it's a way to escape and indulge in all the things that make me feel beautiful from freshly washed hair to perfectly manicured nails.

2. What you bring to the industry: My mentee, Kayli always communicates she is a full-service cosmetologist meaning she can save you head to toe. That is important due to her knowing what she brings and how she can market and position herself in a constantly evolving industry.

3. Who your audience is: Many brands know who their audience is and may market and advertise to them very well but do not always include them in campaigns and partnership opportunities.

4. How your products and or services are different for new consumers to returning consumers: When I first began working on MyBeautyFill, I understood my client's life cycle very well but had not considered how my current clients could be a conduit for product innovation to scale differentiation.

5. Identify where modern beauty best serves you. In a constantly demanding world, many times we can be inundated with how or what we should do from a brand or service professional. Are you more of a Minimalist or Enthusiast? Identify where modern beauty products and services best serve your budget, lifestyle needs, and personal care regimen.

Afolami Oyenuga of MAKARI

Afolami Oyenuga of MAKARI
Image credit: Authority Magazine

1. Find your niche or point of differentiation: Whether you are catering to women of color, creating sustainable packaging, or bringing a disruptive product to the market, customers need to quickly grasp your brand’s mission or what makes you different from the rest.

2. Always prioritize your customer: Invest in creating not only the best and most innovative products but also the best customer journey and experience both online and in stores.

3. Hire talent and invest in building a team: As a global brand, especially when we first started expanding to other countries like France and Nigeria, it was key for us to build a loyal and committed team that could perform almost independently. The advances in technology make it easier to be connected 24/7 but this wasn’t the case back in the late 90’s so trusting our teams and hiring the best talent has been key to our success and expansion.

4. Be Flexible and gracefully adapt to the changes in the market: More than ever, speed is key. Whether this means launching a new feature on your website, exploring a new way of selling your products, or rethinking your packaging to make it more sustainable, you need to be ready to embrace change while always keeping in mind your brand’s core mission.

5. Don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks: When we first launched Makari there weren’t many brands, if any at all, creating gentle yet effective products for diverse skin tones. We took the risk to cater to a demographic that was in a way underserved and we launched revolutionary formulations that were different from what other brands were bringing to the market back then. There was definitely a learning curve but we wouldn’t be here today had to be not taken the risk of launching Makari.

6. Persevere and don’t give up: Launching a new business is challenging, especially in industries as competitive as the beauty industry. If you want to succeed, no matter all the roadblocks you encounter along the way, you must remain determined and passionate about your brand and its mission.

Jordynn Wynn and Sharon Pak of INH Hair

Jordynn Wynn and Sharon Pak of INH Hair
Image credit: Authority Magazine

1. Remember that no job is too small. I have seen many people “get their foot in the door” at their ideal company with roles that they otherwise would not have been interested in and then work extremely hard, crush that role, and have the opportunity to move into their dream job. I always remember a few star employees at ColourPop who transitioned from customer service to marketing to product development.

2. Be kind to everyone! The beauty industry is a surprisingly small bubble and despite job changes, role changes, etc., you are constantly running into people you work (or worked) with in some capacity at some point in your career. I cannot tell you how many times a seemingly minor connection has later done me an amazing favor. You are always networking, whether you know it or not!

3. Research, research, research. Immerse yourself in different communities. Identify product, influencer, and social trends. The social media and influencer marketing space is constantly changing. To get ahead, be aware. Recently, we noticed that colored bangs were making waves on Tik Tok. This inspired us to launch our newest Hi-Lite category, a damage-free way to get the colored bangs of your choice! Use social media for its best quality  — inspiration. 

4. Be the connector. I am a huge believer that good things come to those who don’t act based on ego. Without an agenda or motive, connect with people. It will all come back to you in the end. Recently, a great friend I love introducing to my network connected me with a notable figure in the beauty industry who then later asked me to be on her board of advisors.

5. Build a strong sense of community. The backbone of a successful beauty brand is its advocates. There is nothing more credible and powerful than a word-of-mouth recommendation! For us, our backbone is INH Babes, our community that shares experiences, favorite products, and even personal life achievements and goals. INH Babes is the heart and soul of INH  —  without this sense of oneness, our brand would fall into the background and be just like any other beauty brand. A strong sense of community is special, and something that can truly set your brand apart.

Chinecherem Eze of Adaora.com

Chinecherem Eze of Adaora.com
Image credit: Authority Magazine

1. Be yourself. So many times people get lost trying to follow others standards of beauty or even success but when you know what works for you in business stick with it, be it in the beauty industry or any industry you will see it work wonders.

2. Be Spontaneous and not rigid. The modern beauty industry is evolving and you should be open to the flow of innovation and technology.

3. Be Creative. In the modern beauty industry creativity will help you stand out. 

4. Be confident. Believe in yourself. Do not let anyone tell you that you can’t just because they couldn't.

5. Trust the process. Everything in life takes time and so does business. It is not a night day job. I remember a time in my business when I thought nothing fruitful was going to come out of my investments and sweat but here I am today blooming so believe me when I say trust the process. These things are not magic: It takes consistency and smart work to get sustainable results.

Dionne Phillips of D’Lashes

Dionne Phillips of D’Lashes
Image credit: Authority Magazine

1. Freedom — You don’t have much freedom because you’re always servicing clients, while running the creative side and behind the scenes work on a daily basis.

2. Know your numbers  — You have to know the cost of goods, time, and expenses otherwise you’ll be lost.

3. Work-Life balance — Find time to stop working each day and make time for yourself. Do the things that are important to you for your health, family and spirit.

4. Constantly evolve — If you’re not evolving, your competitors will gain ground on you and eventually you will be replaced. You always have to be up on the trends and technology of the industry in order to stay ahead of your competition.

5. Information — There is so much information out there that you really need to be focused and not get distracted about how to run your business. Plan, plot, strategize, and execute is what I like to say. Execution is the key, if you don’t execute your plan then you have to ask yourself, “What am I doing here?”

Ashley Peterson of Elizabella Cosmetics

Ashley Peterson of Elizabella Cosmetics
Image credit: Authority Magazine

1. The first thing you need in order to succeed in the modern beauty industry is a vision for your company. If you don’t have a vision for your company you have lost before you even started. I remember when starting Elizabella I sat down and wrote out exactly what I wanted. Huge tip: You must write your vision and make it plain and simple.

2. The second thing you need to know to succeed in the modern beauty industry is the rule of knowing your customer. That is the most vital information for your company. Knowing your customer and anticipating their needs allows you to effectively plan and execute. For instance, when I launched my best-selling nude collection I already knew that customers would respond and purchase because that is what they had been requesting. Because I took the time to listen to my customers' wants and needs. Yodit has been my best product collection launch to date.

3. Next, you need to know the current and future trends. Knowing the trends that are on the horizon helps you adequately plan which products should be released in the near future. That’s so important because you want to be innovative as well as on trend. A good example is how big nude lipsticks are at the moment. The last thing one would want to do is release a lot of bright, vibrant colors, and ignore what’s currently popular.

4. It’s also important to know what differentiates you from your competition. What makes you and your brand special? When I started Elizabella Cosmetics, I knew that the one thing that was most important to me as a woman of color was to celebrate diversity in our brand. I wanted all ethnicities to feel included and to feel like they could see themselves in Elizabella. I absolutely want to see more African American women of color celebrated in the beauty industry, but I also want Asian women, Latino women, and Native American women to see themselves as a standard of beauty in the industry. I want those ethnicities to feel included as well. That’s one of the reasons I decided to include an Asian model in one of our Elizabella campaigns. I want to help create the change I would like to see in this industry and in the world.

5. Last and possibly most important, you need to know how to accept the word “no." When I say that, I don’t mean accept it and take that as defeat. I mean accept the “no” and understand that there is already something better on the horizon.

6. There will also be times when that “no” is just a “not yet." I remember reading an article about one CEO emailing a retailer for six months straight before finally getting the break that led to her products being carried in that store. That was so motivational to me. That tenacity and hustle paid off with her biggest victory to date. If I had quit after every no I would have never been a model, never started my company, and absolutely would’ve given up in the first year. Not every situation or individual is meant for your life or your path. What God has for you is for YOU! Always keep trying and always continue to have faith that it will work to your advantage in the end. You may hear a million no’s, but when you finally get that yes, it will be exactly what you need and when you need it most.

Erica Hackett of Dreamstar Cosmetics

Erica Hackett of Dreamstar Cosmetics
Image credit: Authority Magazine

1. You need to know your product.

2. You need to know your customer.

3. You need to offer something new and different.

4. You need to have your finger on the pulse of what’s trending in the industry.

5. You have to be uniquely you. Don’t try to be another brand or do what someone else is doing.

Shia Joyner of Zen & Boujee

Shia Joyner of Zen & Boujee
Image credit: Authority Magazine

1. Credit. To succeed in the modern beauty industry, the first thing you must do is get your credit and personal finances in check. It’s a defining moment to want to start a business or pursue a venture. So many people have big dreams but fail to understand that without a good credit score or access to a line of credit, running a business in the beauty industry can be challenging.

2. Know your numbers. To create a solid foundation, you’ll need a bullet-proof plan outlining your cost of goods, marketing, and customer acquisition and how much your business needs to be sustainable. These are crucial and sometimes overlooked steps. These numbers will also help business owners understand their business, assist in creating a budget, and shield the brand from making costly errors.

3. Test, test, test. Testing products before going into full production will save beauty brands so much time when starting a new business. This allows brands to get a feel for what the target market actually wants and needs. Use this data to strategically plan your production schedule and not over-buy products.

4. Analytics. Analytics can be a powerful tool for understanding tons of information about a brand’s consumer base. Use this valuable information to make data-driven decisions that result in sales. This also comes into play with social media. Some content may get a strong response unexpectedly, while other content, assumed to increase engagement, will fall short for any number of reasons.

5. Digital. In an era of touchless shopping, digital is the space where beauty will dominate even more than before. To make your business stand out, it’s the perfect time to freshen your brand’s digital game and promote your unique message. Nothing can ease the anxiety of distancing like a website upgrade, a social media software roll-out, or hiring a copy editor to make your copy sparkle. With visual storytelling dominating integrated marketing efforts, now is also a perfect time to capture new impactful photographs to make your products stand out.

Amanda Broadus of Cosmetic Crazed

Amanda Broadus of Cosmetic Crazed
Image credit: Authority Magazine

1. There is plenty of room for you. Just because it’s 2020 doesn’t mean it’s too late for you to start a successful YouTube channel or blog. I know this because in 2014 I made my first few attempts at YouTube and I let myself get discouraged after only getting two views every video. It. Takes. Time. Had I stuck with it and been even semi-consistent I would probably have at least a couple thousand subscribers at this point. But I convinced myself there were too many “beauty gurus” at the time and I would never be one of them. You can’t have that mentality in this industry, there is no room for that kind of thinking or you’ll never progress. Remember the time will pass regardless of if you do the work or not, you might as well take the time to start. Your skills may not be where you want them to be but that just means you have to gradually work and improve your skillset. Life as a creator means creating your own space which leads me to my next point.

2. Stop looking at what other people are doing. If you keep your eyes on everyone else that means you aren’t paying attention to what you should be working on. As I said, the beauty industry is extremely competitive and catty. On top of that, the industry is predominately females participating in one giant beauty contest and the prize is followers, money, and sometimes fame. As a rookie coming into the beauty industry, I suggest carefully selecting who you look to as a role model and only selecting a small few influencers as your muse. Use them as a guide to what you want to do but be careful of becoming a copy-cat. You want your content to always have an original spin on it.

3. Identify your niche right from the start. This is what I wish I knew in the beginning. Over the years I’ve done product reviews exclusively, then I switched to makeup pictures, then I got lost somewhere in the middle and nothing made sense, and then I switched back to flat lays and product reviews. It significantly hindered my success over the years because when people were visiting my page, they weren’t sure why I was doing what I do. Now, I have three things my content focuses on: 1) beauty and skincare product reviews, 2) social issues within the industry (lack of diversity, xenophobia, cancel culture, etc.), and 3) shifting the industry to sustainable practices. This way, I’m able to target the intersectionality of being a minority and female and discuss the ways marginalized communities are negatively affected most by industry practices, all while keeping a beauty focus. Having a niche helps you zero in on your target audience and best reach them to grow your own community. Since identifying my own niche, I have been able to expand my audience outside of just beauty. Now I have environmentalists, activists, and people from other social movements following me. With the way algorithms work now, having a strong niche is your best bet to successfully establish yourself in the industry.

4. Plan. Earlier I talked about how in my freshman year of college I decided to create a “four-year plan” to be a successful beauty influencer by the time I graduate. That time flew. But now I can look at my content notes and see what I’ve worked on in the previous years. The quality of my content improved, my audience has grown, I know what strategies do and don’t work for me personally or what my followers respond to best. A lot of people coming into this business think it’s all about snapping a picture and posting it with a cool caption and a few good hashtags but it’s so much more than that. As the only full-time employee at Cosmetic Crazed, I wear every hat. I’m the CEO, the content creator, the social media influencer, the PR and marketing, the writer, and the creative director of all projects. You must have a consistent plan and an intention behind everything you do and create. As they say, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

5. Write down your goals. This is for your ego. I have two notebooks designated to different things. One notebook (we’ll call it Notebook A) I have used since 2017 and the other (Notebook B) is where I write all my research for my content. It’s important that I keep this information separate so I can remember what it is I’m working on. For example, Notebook A has all business strategies and future ideas. This is where I write any new programs that come to mind, make lists of tasks or steps to keep progressing, and document what I want my business to grow into someday. Notebook A is what I look at when I feel like I’m not good enough to be in this industry because I can go back and look at the amazing ideas I had once but forgot about. Whenever my content plateaus, Notebook A is there to spark new ideas or give me old ones. Notebook B is my information dump. Its purpose is to bring ideas from Notebook A and transfer them into action plans. I think of Notebook B as my strategy organizer. I outline all topics for FACE, write cosmetic ingredients and their purpose (to better inform my audience of their affect in products), jot down any online sources I utilize, and additional notes about any projects I’m working on at the time. I would say the best benefit of having these notebooks is the ability to look back. It’s the quickest way to humble yourself and see how much you’ve accomplished over time.

Tina Fobbs of pHyre Hair Co.

Tina Fobbs of pHyre Hair Co.
Image credit: Authority Magazine

1. Authentic stories: Customers want to know that they are buying from someone real. I continuously let people know that I struggled with my hair after having children and that protective styles weren’t always the best move for me. This is important because so many moms experience this and the African-American community swears by protective styles not knowing what happens when they aren’t done correctly.

2. Be a product of the product: If people can’t see that you use and trust it, neither will they. Before I wash my hair I take a picture of my huge, full afro and post it. I get so much engagement. I wash my hair on my IG live and show how much moisture my hair gets from using my product. The key is to know and show customers what they need.

3. Visual appeal: When I was bottling my products most people were telling me to use bright colors that pop. That was not me. It’s so important for brands to think about their product’s message when choosing brand colors. My products are created from plant-based formulas so I wanted earthy colors. I didn’t want bright and shimmery ones like everyone else.

4. Know the importance of collaboration: Too often people view others in the same field as major competition. I look to collaborate because I know everyone can win and create a sisterhood at the same time. I got the help I needed from a woman in the exact same industry as me. Without her I’d still be trying to figure everything out. I welcome anyone to ask me any questions they need assistance with.

5. Stay Consistent: Consistency is key in more than one way. You have to consistently engage your audience for them to continue supporting you. You have to learn what’s new in your industry so that your business is always evolving. You also have to consistently educate consumers. They appreciate you for it.

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