A lipgloss business is a fantastic online ecommerce business model anyone can start from the comfort of their own home.
Online ecommerce businesses are a booming market. In particular over the last 10 years or so, the beauty market and lip gloss industry has exploded and why shouldn’t you join the party?
There are a multitude of ways to start an online lip gloss business and make enough monthly income to create the lifestyle of your dreams while running a business you love.
In this article we’ll explore the 8 key steps to starting and growing a successful lipgloss business including the varying business models and the fastest and cheapest way to get started today.
There are lots of different routes to start a lip gloss business online. Here are the various business models and pros and cons of each;
Quite possibly the fastest and cheapest route to getting started building your lip gloss business.
Print on demand does what it says in the tin. You create a design, add it to the design of a blank product supplied by the print on demand company and when someone purchases the product with your design, the print on demand supplier sends the complete product to the customer.
The upside is that you can get started today.
The downside is that the costs of print on demand products are high, making your profit margins extremely tight.
However, it’s a great way to get started and test your brand and products.
The best lip gloss & cosmetic print on demand company I’ve found is https://viaglamour.com/.
Dropshipping is another fairly quick and easy way to start a lip gloss business depending on where you source products, and yields potentially higher profit margins.
With a dropshipping ecommerce business, you source products that other people manufacture. You promote those products on your site and when the customer buys, you then order the product on behalf of the buyer and the product gets shipped directly from the manufacturer to the customer, meaning that once again you don’t have to invest in upfront inventory.
This is a great ecommerce business model, but the bulk of your success will be based on the quality of the product, so you need to be spending some time sourcing quality lip gloss products.
But it too has its downsides and it’s not as easy to start an ecommerce business dropshipping as many of the articles and ‘gurus’ selling dropshipping courses would have you believe.
Becoming a lip gloss distributor is a little like dropshipping other than you create a long term and more exclusive arrangement with the manufacturer and may even buy the products in bulk wholesale.
The upside is that you can negotiate a dropshipping deal with the manufacturer meaning there’s less risk to you up front, or at the very least favorable minimum order quantities to minimize your risk until you’re making regular sales.
The downside is that you don’t have any control over the packaging or branding of the product, plus any product that has to be purchased up front carries a financial risk.
Arbitraging means sourcing and purchasing products you can resell at a higher price to generate a profit.
An example would be buying cheap lip gloss during post Christmas sales, Black Friday sales etc and then selling at a more advantageous time at higher prices than you bought them for.
By all accounts retail arbitrage is a pretty risk free way to start an ecommerce business.
I personally haven’t done this myself, but there is an excellent site called Your Selling Guide. Nikki Kirk specializes in this strategy and has some great stories so go check her out if you fancy this model.
This is the most popular way to start an ecommerce business model on Amazon FBA. (And how we’ve supported our lifestyle over the last few years).
You create your own brand. You find a product that’s already selling well on Amazon, then head to a site like Alibaba to find someone who supplies a similar product. You then negotiate a minimum order and add your own branding to the product and/or packaging. Usually upward of a few thousand units.
You ship your order to wherever you’re going to be storing your stock (if selling on Amazon to their warehouses) and away you go.
The upside to this is it can be very profitable. The downside is you need some money to invest in stock to get started & the risk levels are higher.
Plus you’ll need to run a search through Amazon to ensure lip gloss is a popular product.
As I said above, we ran our own 7 figure brand on Amazon for a few years, before selling in early 2020. You can read my Amazon FBA Guide here.
If you’re a crafter and make all your own homemade products, a great way to start a lip gloss business selling your own stuff is on Etsy.
I just so happen to have published an article on How to Make Money on Etsy. If you’re interested in starting your lipgloss business on Etsy, give it a read.
Print on Demand, Dropshipping or Arbitraging would be the fastest way to start your online lip gloss business.
Here’s a summary of how to get started with each model;
- Find Make-up Print on Demand Company such as viaglamour
- Sign Up to Etsy or Shopify
- Create Logo & Brand
- Create & add lip gloss line to store
- Create Social Media Account
- Promote products
- Find products want to sell
- Sign up to Shopify
- Create store logo & brand
- Add Sprocket dropship app
- Find quality lip gloss products and add to store
- Create social media account
- Promote lip gloss products
- Find cheap lip gloss products to buy
- Create Amazon seller account or Etsy storefront
- Create product listings
- Promote products
When starting your online lip gloss business you need to decide which software platform you’ll use to start selling your products.
This very much depends on the model you choose as above.
The easiest route to getting started is to create a store on Etsy. From here you can integrate with a print on demand company such as Printify and start selling your lip gloss directly on the Etsy platform.
You’ll also be able to set up a store on Facebook or Instagram, and promote your products where your audience likely are!
If you want to go the dropshipping route, your best bet is Shopify.
Shopify is for ecommerce what WordPress is for blogging.
It’s a complete bespoke website specifically for ecommerce businesses, with most of your bells and whistles built-in, like product pages, cart page, checkout page, shipping settings, payment settings etc. It even has pre-written emails for product sales, abandoned carts, shipping etc.
It also connects to social media, and integrates with a gazillion cool apps connecting you to email platforms, upsell software, FB ads etc.
Here’s the platforms I would choose by business model;
Print on Demand – Etsy
Dropshipping – Shopify or Bigcommerce
Arbitraging – Amazon or Etsy
Private Label – Amazon FBA
Manufacturer – Etsy/FB & IG
Distributor – Any of the above!
So we have a great starting point, in that you’re going to be selling your own lip gloss line.
However, what line of products will you start with?
- Single lip gloss sticks with a selection of colors
- Packets of a collection of lip glosses
- Lip gloss in tubes or hard lip gloss in a tub
- Novelty lip gloss
- Sparkly lip gloss
- Lip gloss sets
- Lip balm
- Lip gloss base
- Lip liner
Look to other lip gloss brands and stores for inspiration and plan your initial tester lip gloss product line or lines. Don’t go mad!
Test one or two different lines/styles of products and see what sells. You can expand as you grow.
You may be thinking ‘lip gloss is my niche!’.
Sure, but even within the lip gloss industry, you’ll want to carve yourself a unique angle so people choose to purchase your lip gloss vs your competitors lip gloss.
The best way to start identifying your niche is to think about who you want to sell to.
Who is your ideal target market?
Try to get specific here.
Are you targeting teens and current trends, new Mums wanting a quick and easy way to feel brighter and better, 50+ or pro age, a specific age, culture, color or sexual orientation?
Once you have an idea of who your target audience is, go one step further and create your own lip gloss brand ideal.
Your brand ideal is the reason ‘why’ people will buy from you.
My favorite examples include Redbull, a fizzy energy drink whose brand ideal is extreme sports. Or Dove, whose product is skincare, but the brand ideal is body empowerment. Or Nike, who sell sports gear, but whose brand ideal is mental toughness through exercise – ‘anyone can be an athlete’.
It’s your inspirational reason for being. As Simon Sinek says;
“The goal is not to do business with people who need what you have, but to do business with people who believe what you believe.”
How to come up with your brand ideal?
Ask yourself the following questions;
- What do you stand for? What are your values?
- How can your lip gloss brand improve your target market’s life?
- What are 5 emotions you want people to feel when they come across your brand?
- What’s the deeper reason for people wanting to use your products and services?
- How can you now translate that into your brand message and the content you create & publish?
Then use this customer avatar sheet to create a detailed description of your ideal target avatar.
So by now you should know;
- Your lip gloss business model and platform
- The kind of products you want to sell online
- The niche you’re serving and who your ideal customer is.
- Your brand ideal
You should be in a great position to come up with a fab name for your online lip gloss store!
In an ideal world you’ll want to make your brand name short, simple and memorable. Make it something easy for people to search for, find on social media and recommend to friends.
My favorite tool for coming up with a business name is namelix.com.
Just type in your keywords, choose your style and pick a name! (Also make sure the domain is available on godaddy.com)
Once you have your lipgloss business name and domain you can create your logos, and brand designs.
To be able to start a lip gloss ecommerce store and hit the ground running you will need;
- A logo
- A nice header style banner image for the site,
- Designs for your print on demand products if that’s the route you’re going down
- Social Media headers, profile pics etc
No-one really cares about your logo except you.
Clearly, it’s representative of your brand and lip gloss business overall, so at the very least needs to look clear and professional, but don’t do what I did and spend hundreds of dollars getting a fine-looking logo which you’ll probably change at some point in the future anyway.
Personally I would head straight to Canva.com for creating my ecommerce business logo.
They actually have an entire section dedicated to logo creation and you can quickly and easily add the name of your lip gloss business, change the colors, move things around a bit and voila! One clean & professional looking logo. No cost.
However, if like me you are ridiculously aesthetically challenged, here are some options for having someone else do it for you!
Option 1 – Who do you know who is not aesthetically challenged? Can a family member or a friend hop on to Canva and do it for you for the price of a beer or a lunch?
Option 2 – Fiverr.com – Just type ‘logo design’ into their search bar and hundreds of options will pop up starting at a fiver!
Option 3 – 99designs – This was the option I chose, not recommended at this stage. It’s a great service, but super expensive for an online store not even making any money yet. (Logo designs starts at $299) Save this for logo upgrade!
Option 4 – Upwork.com – I use this site all the time. Almost all of the team I have working with me come originally from Upwork! Simply post your requirements, people bid for the work and you choose the best person for your job.
Option 5 – Free Logo Design – Simply type in the name of your brand, pick a category and choose from one of the many designs offered to customize further or download as is. NB: You can download a 200 x 200px logo completely free or you can purchase larger higher res files.
For the banners, headers, and background images on your online store, you can utilize the fabulous images created by others and hosted on image sites.
The best image site out there in my opinion is ‘Unsplash’.
I love them because they have images for everything and allow you to use the images copyright free for all uses including commercial.
If you can’t find the image you’re looking for, there are plenty more image sites on the web.
Once you have an image you can use Canva to crop it, filter it, add text etc and generally make it your own.
Superfast, super easy.
I love technology!!!
Depending on the model and the platform you’ve chosen, the next step is to create your own lip gloss business storefront.
Whether that’s your shop on Etsy, a Shopify or Bigcommerce store, an Amazon listing or storefront or a Facebook/Instagram store.
Each platform has different text & image requirements, so you’ll have to walk through each setup individually.
This is where the hard work starts!
In order to sell lip gloss online and build a successful lip gloss business you need to let people know you exist.
Here are 5 steps I would take to start promoting your lipgloss business online;
Your first step is to start getting rave reviews for all of the lipgloss products on your site.
People will trust a review from a fellow customer before they’ll trust anything that you as the online business owner will say about your superb and unmissable products, therefore reviews are going to be vital for increasing your add to carts and sales.
This is where family & friends come in! Get your product out to anyone you know who will be happy to come and leave you a review on your lip gloss store to get you started.
If you’re on any groups in FB or in conversations with people on Insta, there’s nothing stopping you from sending out a few ‘review’ products, with the deal being they get the product free for a review.
This isn’t Amazon my friend, there are no rules on getting reviews or the threat of them being removed! So get out there and tout your products far and wide.
Just be sure to get honest reviews from people who have actually tried your product. That’s just good ethics.
Now it’s time to get your products out into the webosphere and start generating some sales!
My recommendation is to start with…..
Influencer marketing is an extremely powerful strategy to help you showcase and sell products to a much wider audience.
Having your product recommended by a respected influencer will without doubt speed up the rate at which you can attract new customers to your lipgloss business and serve more people.
These days influencer marketing has become an industry in its own right and was actually our ‘secret sauce’ when we started our Amazon ecommerce business. We emailed hundreds and hundreds of bloggers and youtubers asking if they’d be willing to have a look at our product and if they liked it, would be happy to review it on their site / channel.
This resulted in a lot of quality clicks from outside of Amazon and high conversion to buy rates, which in turn boosted our ranking on Amazon.
You can apply exactly the same strategy to your own lip gloss business. Here’s how I’d go about it today;
1. Create a spreadsheet of the top 50 – 100 influencers you’d love to approach.
- Who are the influencers in your niche / industry?
- Who’s creating great content?
- Who are your customers following?
- Who are your customers engaging with?
- Who holds great values that you can align with?
- Who tends to promote and champion other brands/content?
These don’t all have to be the top influencers with millions of fans & followers. Fine if you want to include some of those folks for when you’re reaching dizzying heights, but you can also start with the next rung up from you and the next rung up from them.
Make a list of 50 – 100 (or more) influencers who fit with your brand & niche.
Add them to a spreadsheet detailing who they are, the best place to find them, any contact details you can find for them, how big their audience is and any relevant comments for your reference.
2. Contact as many as you can afford to send your lip gloss too directly, asking if you can send them a free product to look at.
And if they happen to love it (which you’re sure they will), whether they’d then mention it, demonstrate it or recommend it to their audience.
Expect to hear; nothing from a large percentage, a lot of No’s, and a lot of ‘Yep, here’s our rate card’ from others.
It’s a soul sucking process, but when you’re bootstrapping an online business, the hard work needs to be done!
3. Now get on their radar!
It does not matter which online business model you start and grow, people will always do business with people they like, know and trust.
The best way to develop relationships is to develop them!
Make a list of the people you would LOVE to get to review/recommend your product and start to follow them, like their posts, leave comments, share them with your friends and followers.
The more you show up in their feed, comments, tags etc, the more they will get to recognize your name and brand. Then next time you DM them a chance to sample your product for free, you may get a more favorable response.
Another route for quickly promoting your lipgloss business is to garner the most powerful marketing medium out there.
Word of mouth!
User generated content is exactly what it says it is. Content generated by customers, your audience or users of your product or service.
It is absolutely invaluable, creating trust for your brand that you will never be able to create on your own!
Think about when you are considering a purchase. Who do you trust more, the company selling or a friend who recently bought the same thing?
What you’re looking for is solicited & unsolicited reviews, pictures & conversations on social media of people who have purchased your products.
An ecommerce brand that’s absolutely got this down is ‘Live a Great Story‘
They sell t-shirts, stickers, accessories etc all with the words ‘Live a Great Story’. Their entire brand is based on people buying their products and taking pictures of themselves ‘living a great story’!
One of the best examples of user generated content and viral sharing I have ever seen.
So how can you encourage your users to share pictures of themselves with your products?
1. Firstly make it super easy for people to share content on the social networks and create your own custom and easy to remember / use hashtag.
2. Then ask your customers to share photos of themselves using your products or talking about you!
When they first buy, in one of your follow up emails, ask them that if they love the product or service you’d love them to share a photo tagging your social media account as they do!
Perhaps you’ll offer a discount code on further purchases or instant access to a loyalty club, or something that’s not on offer elsewhere as an incentive.
But simply asking is a very powerful way of getting what you want in life!
3. Run a giveaway with the entry requirement being to take a photo with one of your products or talking about your service to enter and tag you in the photo.
Host it on your own ecommerce business website as a never ending weekly giveaway for the best photo!
4. As soon as you get some photos, you need to showcase them on your lip gloss website and across social media and even include them in the email you send out asking new purchasers to do the same.
Social proof is a powerful thing.
5. Post your reviews. When a customer leaves a review on your site, simply screenshot it and post it on your social networks.
6. Support a cause.
Aerie, a lingerie & sleepwear brand ran a campaign “pledging $1 to the National Eating Disorder Association for every Instagram user that posted an unedited photo of themselves wearing a bathing suit.
What a great way to raise brand awareness, support a worthwhile cause and empower their customers all at the same time!
Content Marketing is simply the act of posting lots of useful and valuable content across the web on your platforms of choice.
Whether you choose TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, etc, the art of content marketing is about two key strategies;
- Your content needs to entertain, empower, inspire, inform or educate consumers
- You need to post consistently
How do you know which content works the best? By posting every single day and monitoring which videos, reels, images, memes, quotes, etc get the most views, likes, comments, shares and general feedback.
Creating a strong social media presence is a full time game on its own, but you should also be liking, commenting and sharing other relevant content also to get in front of your potential audience.
If social media doesn’t float your boat, other types of content marketing you could use to promote your lip gloss business include growing a blog or hosting a podcast.
Some phenomenal examples of e commerce brands who deliver amazing content include;
How could you create incredible content, dominate the social networks or search engines with your lipgloss brand and sell products?
Last but not least in this section on promoting your lip gloss business is using paid ads.
One of the fastest ways to kick start your ecommerce lip gloss business and start to sell products is by advertising them!
There are a multitude of available options for you including FB & IG Ads, Pinterest, YouTube, Google PPC etc.
Each comes with its own learning curve and much like content marketing is a big job which takes time to both learn and implement.
Plus you’ll need some cash to invest and potentially lose in the early days as you test and measure which ads work.
My advice would be to tackle one marketing strategy at a time until you’re making some sales, have a system in place and can perhaps outsource some of the tasks.
Talking about outsourcing, as you grow, in order to scale your lip gloss business at some point you will need to start hiring and outsource some of your more time consuming tasks.
You are not an island my friend and if you want to be able to spend some of your time doing other things you love to do then you’re going to need to give some tasks to other more than capable hands.
This doesn’t have to be a big team, in fact you may only ever end up hiring one other person, only you will know who you need and where you’ll need them.
Instead of hiring someone to deal with low value tasks, your best bet is to make your first hire someone who can make you money for your lip gloss business, like someone to DM influencers or run your paid campaigns.
The more sales you make, the more money you make, the more you can invest in your lipgloss business and generate even more sales!
Next you’ll likely want to…
As you grow your lip gloss brand profile, get more reviews on your products and have more influencers talking about you, you’ll want to add new products and product lines.
Be careful not to get too carried away here. The more products, the more listings you have to manage, more promotional campaigns, more ads, product images etc; it can quickly become extremely overwhelming.
Instead of creating lots of different products, consider creating variations on your best selling products. Your best bet is to listen to feedback from current customers. They’ll soon tell you what they love the best/want more of.
A great example of a beauty brand that does this exceptionally well is boombycindyjoseph.com
Their signature product is the Boomstick, which is sold in just three main colors, or as a trio or as part of a bigger Boom Bag collection.
Although they’ve been around for years and generate 8 figure revenues, they still sell less than 20 different product lines on their website.
Look to other sites for inspiration, however, always remember the big, popular brands have unlimited budgets, so always err on the side of simplicity!
I haven’t talked too much about profit & loss in this article. Mainly because your first goal is to just get up and running and make your lipgloss business happen!
However, before you start any ad campaigns, paying for influencers or hiring team members it’s important you track your income and expenditure to ensure costs don’t spiral out of control (very easy in a new business).
Create a simple spreadsheet on google sheets and make a note weekly or monthly of sales income and everything you spent that month for your business, including any apps you bought, domain names, whether you used designers from Fiverr etc.
You’ll quickly get an idea of monthly expenditure and therefore how many sales you need to make to generate a profit.
Personally, I wouldn’t consider an accountant, an official business entity or a separate business bank account until you’re generating sales upwards of $5000 a month. Setting up a business takes a fair amount of both time and money. Both of which are better spent on getting your fledgling business off the ground.
Due to the size of the beauty industry and lip gloss market, starting your own business in the online lip gloss industry could prove to be a very profitable venture, however competition is tough so you’ll need to spend time trying to find your unique angle which ensures you stand out from the crowd.
The best way to find your unique angle is simply to get started, see what works, which products get the best feedback or sell well and develop from there.
Too many people spend weeks, months and even years trying to think what their USP might be, when they could have been selling and letting their customers do the thinking for them.
Use this guide and any other linked guides in this post to help you get up and running and start your lipgloss business today.