Meet the founders of Beauty Boulevard
Hey Rachel and Paula – thank you so much for taking part. Could you tell me a little bit about yourselves?
Paula is a hairdresser by trade and Rachel a beautician, and between us we have over 21 years experience in the hair and beauty sector. We met 5 years ago when we joined forces to run our Hair & Beauty salon in Lincoln (Bennetts Hair, Beauty & Tanning).
Wanting to continually improve the salon and its customer flow we created a new product called Glitter Lips to bring something new and exciting to our salon customers.
You're doing something so exciting – what was the inspiration behind Glitter Lips?
we were inspired to create Glitter Lips in 2013 when Jessie J was seen to be sporting many different types of lip decoration from union jacks to metal spikes. In the same year Dior used Glitter Lips on the models on their catwalk and we wanted to create something that could replicate the look but was easy to use.
Do you have any competitors and if yes how do you remain ahead of the game?
Only recently Versace and John Gallino showcased a glitter lip look on their catwalk. The look was stunning and we were actually delighted to see glitter lips making such an impact. We couldn’t possibly compete with such big and influential brands but the fact that our little product may have influenced their look is just amazing.
Being on Dragons Den must have been so nerve racking. What was the whole experience like for you?
When we were approached to appear on Dragons Den, we were really in 2 minds about it. We have a healthy business and work incredibly hard to grow our brand so getting the chance to appear on national TV on such a well known show as Dragons Den was a fantastic opportunity. Saying that, bearing your soul and business to 5 massive characters as well over 3 million viewers is no easy task. We were obviously incredibly nervous but actually relaxed a bit in the den as the questions started to flow.
Although you did not receive the backing you needed, Glitter Lips has had tremendous growth over the last year. I can see you becoming the next Tangle Teaser in your field – what do you think?
To be even mentioned in the same sentence as such a successful brand like Tangle Teezer sends shivers down our spines. We have had fantastic growth and have no intention on stopping now (Beauty Boulevard grew by over 300% last year) . We have new products which are due to be launched in 8 weeks, which we are beyond excited about. Dare we say it, we have even created some non-glitter products! We have spent a lot of time listening to our customers and researching products that we feel they would want and love.
What do you know now that you wish you had known when you first started trading?
Leadtimes…. They are the bain of our lives. Having enough foresight to plan each individual part of getting a product to market was not something we had much experience in when we first started. We are quite impulsive characters, lets face it, we went on Dragons Den, so we can come up with some (we think) great ideas and then the boring planning stage kicks in. Ordering the wrong size container can add about 8 weeks on to production, which is really frustrating, so forward planning is key.
What advice would you give to others wanting to crush the 9-5 and become entrepreneurs?
Its very hard work and you certainly won’t become a millionaire over night. Being your own boss can be really rewarding when it goes well and really lonely when it doesn’t. We are lucky that there are 2 of us, because you have someone in your corner that you can rely on and discuss things as a partnership. We all need someone to confide in and to help us, that could be your parents, partner or friend.
How have you funded Glitter Lips so far?
We started our company with £5000 each over 3 years ago and for the 1st year we didn’t take a wage at all. We continued to work in our hair and beauty salon in Lincoln to earn a wage. Last year we had a turnover of £250K so we have now given ourselves a modest wage and we now work full time in Beauty Boulevard.
I am big on Instagram at the moment – what would be your top tip on growing an authentic audience?
Content – interesting and engaging content is a must. Connect with your followers and show them things that may be of interest to them and that is relevant to their lifestyle. I would also recommend connecting in conversations.
What was the production process like for you and do you remember your very first sample of Glitter Lips?
It took us months of testing and planning to get the right formulation that met all cosmetic safety criteria and also worked brilliantly. Our first order was for 700 units but our second order was for 10,000. We really underestimated the demand but managed to get our deliveries in time to meet the customer and stockiest orders.
I am really excited to see your brand grow even further – any other plans or products in the pipeline?
Thank you, we are really excited too. We have a fab new range due out in the next 8 weeks called ‘Confessions by Beauty Boulevard’. Our first product from our new range is called Trinity – a moisture rich lip balm that delivers intense hydration for soft kissable lips.
We also have our Divine Hydra Gel Lip Mask – a moisture infused lip mask which contains red wine, seaweed and collagen that plumps, tightens, smoothes and hydrates tired lips. We thought that after all the glitter wearing, our lips could do with a little TLC.