Saturday, December 20, 2014

Starting My Own Makeup Line: Cielmiera

What's starting your own makeup line like? Scary, expensive, time-consuming, and yes, exciting. I can't clock the moment I started this journey, but it began in my head about five years ago when I began to think about what made me love makeup products and hate them, where I saw holes in the market, what I knew the consumer wanted and wasn't being given.

My first investor was my father: The Bank of Dad. He hates makeup, has zero interest in it, and thinks it's a waste of time. When I approached him for help with start-up funds, I expected I'd have to create Powerpoint slides and flow charts to explain my business idea. He glazed over in seconds, then he offered me the money as a loan. I don't think he believes in what I'm doing, but he believes in me. Once someone else's skin is in the game, you take an endeavor very seriously.

I had one vision to start: a contour and highlighter product that would change the game. This product has gone through multiple revisions as I try to perfect the idea in my head and match it with a tangible product that delivers. When the manufacturer didn't understand the color concept I wanted, I went on the Benjamin Moore website and sent swatches. It took a conference call with six people on the other line for me to clearly outline all the specs. I felt demanding and Napoleonic at times, but I had to be clear and specific if I wanted to get the product I'd envisioned.

I also had to go to attorneys for patent and trademark consultation. My first two names failed the trademark knock-off test. Finally, I settled on Cielmiera, a hybrid word that has meanings I like and that would eventually pass the knock-off search. The patent attorney was excellent, but she was also honest: Makeup products are very difficult to patent unless there's a new ingredient involved in the formulation.

Cielmiera will launch in early 2015. My last correspondence with the manufacturing company was that with Christmas looming, there would be a three-week lag in the next prototype. I was hard on their first version, but I explained to them that the consumer is tough to please and I know what gets scrutinized. All the while, I remembered something: I am the consumer. I know her mind.

Yes, there is the question of whether the product will succeed or fail, but I'm acting on a hunch and an instinct and pushing through fear with the stronger forces of internal knowing. If the product succeeds, I already have designs on how I want to expand and what my brand will focus on.

I know I'm up against a lot: A saturated market, juggernaut brands, etc. All I can remember is this: It isn't about the size of the dog in the fight, but about the size of the fight in the dog.

www.cielmieramakeup.com    The site is currently under construction but will go live soon.
Before

With Cielmiera Contour and Highlighter