The Budget: How to Start a Beauty Business

Inspired to create your own brand? Here are some top tips— from a certified financial planner—to help you get started.

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Entrepreneurship is rooted in sacrifice and requires an immeasurable amount of commitment, but the financial benefits are worth it. According to Federal Reserve Board data, in 2019, the median net worth of a family was $122,000; for self-employed families, it was $380,000. This difference was top of mind for Andrea M. Robinson, a 35-year-old Pittsburgh resident, when she decided to create Forever Drea Marie, a luxury, botanical skincare line. Robinson plans to launch her beauty brand in the second quarter of 2022, but wants to ensure she’s making smart financial decisions. Here, Brittney Castro, certified financial planner for Mint, an online budgeting tool, shares the financial strategy that will catapult Robinson’s business to short- and long-term success.

Andrea’s Financial Stats

Estimated Annual Pretax Income: $25,000.
Monthly Expenses:
 $900, including product and marketing expenses, plus office space.
Estimated Total Net Worth: $25,000.
Debt: $20,000, including creation of website, inventory, and photos.
Savings: $20,000.
Financial goals for business: Double income in the first year, with hopes to generate enough capital to expand to the makeup category.

Decide How You’ll Finance Your Business

Andrea should first do research on the beauty market, figuring out how much money she needs to start the business—this is what we call capital. All financial sources (a traditional bank loan, angel investors, venture capitalist) come with their pros and cons. For example, traditional loans are appealing because you can remain the sole owner of your business, but you typically have to show financial statements and have a good credit score to qualify. Meanwhile, angel investors and venture capitalists require you to conduct pitch meetings to get people interested in your business idea.

Determine How Much Capital You Need to Start...

While not all businesses are built the same, one way to understand the baseline is by talking to other beauty business owners about how much capital they used to begin their journey—the Small Business Administration website is a great resource. Starting a business tends to take more time and money than what one initially scopes, so it’s always good to give a buffer. 

...While Keeping in Mind You Won’t Be Profitable at First

Andrea should stow away as much income as possible. Set up a profit-first account, stashing at least 10 percent of revenue per year, rather than putting it all towards business expenses. Andrea should also plan for the possibility of not being able to pay herself a salary for a few years. 

Create a Budget

It’s important for Andrea to keep not just a business budget, but also a personal budget. It’s equally as important to consider where other sources of money for the business could come from, whether it’s a loan, family or friends, or personal reserves. She can start by reviewing her personal budget in the Mint app, which includes identifying areas where she might be able to scale back spending. 

Plan How to Pay Lenders Back

If Andrea needs to take on more debt to fund the company, she should create a debt-repayment strategy. Start by making the most substantial payments on the debt with the highest interest rate first, while paying the minimums on the rest. 

This story appears in the May 2022 issue of Marie Claire.

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Deena Campbell is the Beauty Director of Marie Claire where she oversees all beauty and health content on all platforms.