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  • Writer's pictureBRVC Team

9 Lifestyle and Beauty Brands That Began as Side Hustles

Did you know that many of today's most preferred companies actually started as passion projects?

Here’s a list of 9 SUCCESSFUL beauty and lifestyle brands that started in the trenches, just like you!

9. Mented Cosmetics

Mented Cosmetics founders, KJ Miller and Amanda Johnson, would discuss how challenging it is to find a nude lipstick for women of color, often. KJ and Amanda asked friends and family to help them solve this problem; but eventually realized, they needed to create a solution for themselves. Since its launch in January 2017, Johnson and Miller became the 15th and 16th African-American women to raise $1 million in venture capital to grow their business.

8. Yankee Candle

At 16 years old, Mike Kittredge made candles out of crayons as a gift to his mother. Eventually, Kittredge turned this candle making into a side hustle and used his parents' garage and basement as his production headquarters. In 1969 Kittredge founded Yankee Candle and in 1973, the company shifted their operations to an old paper mill in Massachusetts. Today, Yankee Candle has over 500 stores with over 19,000 retailers.

7. Bésame Cosmetics

Gabriela Hernandez, Besame’s founder, is an artist and makeup historian who immigrated to the US from Argentina at 12 years old. Growing up, she loved watching the women in her family do their makeup, and she fell in love with red lipstick. Her passion for makeup and background in visual arts helped her launch Bésame Cosmetics in 2004. Bésame Cosmetics is, now, a luxury vintage makeup brand sold in stores like Sephora and Amazon.

6. Etsy

Etsy founders--Rob Kalin, Chris Maguire, Jared Tarbell and Haim Schoppik--had a vision to create an online haven for craftsmen (and women!) In 2005, their vision manifested into creating Etsy in a Brooklyn apartment. By July of 2007, Etsy had its one-millionth sale and the company continues to be a leading resource for personalized items.

5. theSkimm

In 2012, Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg wanted to involve themselves with news outside of their jobs at NBC. Therefore, they quit their jobs and focused on developing theSkimm (even without having investors during their early stages). To-date theSkimm serves as a reliable news distribution resource and has about seven million-plus subscribers, including Oprah!

4. Under Armour

A college football player from the University of Maryland named Kevin Plank didn't like working out in sweaty clothes. So in 1996, Kevin created a synthetic base layer for what we know as Under Armor, in his grandmother's basement. He began to sell his products to NFL players and now Under Armour is one of the leading companies in sportswear.

3. Spanx

Sarah Blakely started off as a salesperson selling fax machines, door to door. One day she cut the feet off her pantyhose and voila! The idea for Spanx was born. Sarah invested her savings, bought the trademark, began the preliminary production steps and even, packed orders by herself. Today, Spanx is a worldwide company and Sarah is a billionaire.

2. Flawless by Friday

Flawless by Friday is an ingenious business by Canadian, Brittny Robins, that exposes Korean skincare to the everyday skin-care consumer. Because Robins was unfulfilled in a role at a cosmetic company’s sales department, she conducted research for her passion on her down time. Within months, she built a full fledge skincare line, that's now carried in over 100 stores in North America.

1. Glossier

Emily Weiss was a fashion assistant at Vogue when she launched her blog ‘Into the Gloss’. The blog served as a launching pad for Glossier's cosmetic offerings. After being rejected by 11 of the 12 venture capitalist firms she’d pitched to earn funding for Glossier, Weiss still persisted and launched the company with 4 products. The company is now a leader in the makeup and skincare industries and is a million-dollar company.

We hope these brands inspire you to bet on yourself and your brand. You could be sitting on a billion-dollar-idea. Remember, great things take dedication, consistency, open-mindedness and faith.


If you need help a team player to support the growth of your side hustle, chat with us! We're here to support you!

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