Take a long look at your eyeshadow palette the next time you’re applying a little makeup. Do you ever think about what it takes to make it in the beauty industry? Today’s guest has achieved success on both sides of the biz: service and product.
Lauren Napier’s work has been seen all over magazines and TV, not to mention, she has worked with some of the world’s most famous celebrities including: Academy Award winners, civil rights activists, Olympic gold medalists, Billboard chart-toppers, a Beatle, and even an American President.
But with all of that service-based success, she transitioned to a product-based business. Now she is KILLING it with her line of facial cleansing and makeup remover wipes. Today, Lauren is teaching us the pros and cons of BOTH service and product-based industries, how to navigate a transition in your career, the secret to keeping lifelong clientele, and more.
It’s All About Work Ethic
Before the makeup wipes were born and before she dreamed up her brand, Lauren dove into the world of cosmetics after seeing a magazine cover with what she thought was unflattering makeup. She thought, “I can do that! And I can do it better.” She applied for a job at the MAC Counter and used her natural artistic ability to style clients and shoppers. Lauren’s talent and work ethic were clear, and she had many opportunities through MAC to work on editorial photoshoots in Vogue and Vanity Fair. Each job was greater than the next, giving Lauren’s career a launchpad into television and film. She credits a steadfast work ethic to the early success in her career. Word spread fast that not only was she talented, but she worked hard and got the job done well.
Creating Her First Product
Lauren was on a flight returning from vacation when she reached for her makeup wipes only to find them dried up and useless. We’ve all been there before right? Frustrated with a product we purchased and wishing there was a solution. Lauren took it a step further from frustration and decided she would create a product superior to the dried up wipes sitting useless in her makeup bag. She spent hours researching the product development process, from chemists to packaging. Lauren also did a lot of cold calling to get her questions answered. She found that many people were willing to help and provide her the information she needed to get rolling.
The Big Three Product To-Dos
The three things Lauren needed to develop for her product (and they weren’t small) included the product itself, the packaging, and the business structure. These three steps are a heavy lift, but once they’re in action, the whole process becomes a lot more exciting and a lot less scary. It took Lauren about 18 months from that frustrating flight all the way to a finished, marketable and saleable product. Now, that’s a fast timeline, but Lauren was proactive in the process and did whatever she could to keep it on track and speed it up. She even opened her own FedEx account so samples could be overnighted to her. Lauren just might be the definition of tenacity!
Getting the Word Out
In Lauren’s journey to product success, she was fortunate to have already worked in the industry and she built a platform for herself to promote the product. She attended The Makeup Show, an industry event where people are looking for the next big thing in cosmetics, and used the opportunity to network and promote her new brand. People at industry events are there to engage with brands and learn about products, so it’s a very natural environment to pitch and sell a new offering. These events were a worthy investment for Lauren. Research similar industry events for your product and get in front of the people most interested in making a purchase.
Promote Your Differences
Lauren knew her product was very different from others on the market. No one was creating a high end makeup removal wipe to compliment other designer brand cosmetics. This strong point of difference made getting the word out about her product a lot easier. That’s key for standing out in the cluttered product world — leverage your point of difference to stand out. But what happens when those comparisons come around? Get your differentiating qualities down so you can easily combat any false comparisons and end any confusion the consumer might have surrounding your product.
More from This Episode
Do you need to hire someone to handle your PR in the beginning? How can you work with influencers and bloggers to promote your product? Why are sample sizes so important? How do you get a barcode for your products? And how do you get your products in the stores and magazines you love? This episode is PACKED with so much more knowledge from this powerhouse of an entrepreneur, Lauren Napier. Press play on the player above to hear more about Lauren Napier and her journey through growing a product based business.
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Photo: Bri Costello