Kidpreneurs: The founder of Pura Cosmetics
Hi Rose, it’s a pleasure to meet you. Please tell me a little bit about yourself.
Hello! I’m Rose, a young entrepreneur from Barnsley, South Yorkshire and the founder of Pura Cosmetics. Whilst working with my business full time, I am currently at Sixth Form studying for my A Levels in Business Studies, Geography and French. Pura Cosmetics is very much at the forefront of my life and every spare moment I have is spent juggling college work and managing my business.
What is the concept behind Pura Cosmetics and what inspired you to enter the cosmetics industry?
When I was studying for my GCSE’s the opportunity to enter an inter-school enterprise competition called ‘I Know I Can Barnsley Big Challenge’ arose, which is where the concept for Pura Cosmetics was created. I used to spend my weekends running through my local shopping centre looking for quality cosmetics at an affordable price. I saw a gap in the market for ethical, handmade, natural, purse-friendly products and decided that would be the basis of the business for the competition.
Starting with lip products such as scrubs and balms, I worked on the business for 8 months and at the final of the I Know I Can awards in June 2015, I came away with four awards for Best Final Business Report, Most Profit, Overall Winner of Key Stage 4 and Barnsley’s Best Young Business. When the competition was over I didn’t want to leave the business behind so I decided to turn what was once a school business project into a full time venture, completely re-branded the business and started adding new products. Two years later Pura Cosmetics has grown beyond my wildest dreams and when I’m not studying I am very much a hands on business woman!
What niche in the cosmetics industry do you feel sets your products apart from your competitors?
My range of lip scrubs and balms are all handmade by myself at my home in Barnsley, are all cruelty free and vegan, use ethical ingredients and most importantly are affordable and accessible to everyone. As a teenager with a passion for cosmetics, namely lip products, I found that the ones already on the market in high street stores weren’t affordable, especially to those who fit into my age bracket. I wanted to be able to provide people with a product which was easily accessible, made with quality ingredients and at a purse friendly price.
You started the business at the age of 15 whilst still in full-time education. How did you balance doing both?
I wouldn’t be being honest with myself if I said it hasn’t been hard work balancing full-time education with running a business, especially now I’m studying for my A Levels! This has been the hardest year of my life in terms of ensuring all my college work is done whilst maintaining the level of service I have always provided with Pura Cosmetics. After I won the I Know I Can Barnsley competition, I set some time aside to focus on my GCSE’s then carried on with the business after I had completed my exams. Now I use all my free periods at college to complete my work and my evenings and weekends are full speed ahead with the business! It’s hard work but completely worth it.
The business was originally named ARK Cosmetics before re-branding to become Pura Cosmetics. What led to this re-branding?
When I entered the I Know I Can competition, the business was named ARK Cosmetics and the concept was created by myself and two of my friends. At the end of the competition my friends decided on a different career path and chose to leave the company, leading to the change in name to Pura Cosmetics. Pura means ‘pure’ in Spanish, which is exactly what my products are. The original concept of ARK Cosmetics underwent a complete re-brand, going from an amateur business developed for a school competition to the professional, recognisable, award-winning business it is today.
I received European Union funding through the Enterprising Young People scheme which helped towards the re-brand of the business, the creation of a new website and the registration of trademarks for my brand and products.
The Launchpad programme has been instrumental in helping me to further grow and market my business and it provides so many opportunities for young entrepreneurs to launch their business, from networking events such as the Young Entrepreneur Network to workshops providing advice on topics such as social media, marketing and bookkeeping, as well as one-to-one sessions with a dedicated business advisor. I am currently the youngest entrepreneur to benefit from the Launchpad programme and despite my age I was treat like any other prospective business owner. Best of all, the Launchpad programme is free to access!
What would you say is your biggest accomplishment to date?
I have achieved so much in such a short space of time so it would be difficult to pick just one! However two achievements stand out for me; first was being the youngest person to win the Small Business Sunday award from Theo Paphitis in January this year. After winning the Small Business Sunday award I was scouted by producers of Dragon’s Den and asked to pitch to appear on the show but as I was only 17 years old at the time,
I was unable to take part. In September I won the title of National Young Trader of the Year at the National Youth Market in Manchester, the first time I had ever gained a national accolade and something which has steered Pura Cosmetics in a new direction. My products are also a firm favourite with some celebrities, including Love Island star Kady McDermott who uses my scrubs and balms at her make-up masterclasses across the UK!
Where do you hope to see Pura Cosmetics in the next 5 years?
When I finish Sixth Form next year I will be making Pura Cosmetics my full time job, as the business is more successful than ever. I am also looking at expanding the Perfect Pout range whilst also planning to release new product ranges, which I can’t say too much about at the moment as it will ruin the surprise! Being able to work full-time will also enable me to attend more trade shows and markets to bring the brand to a wider audience.
What advice would you give to other young entrepreneurs like yourself looking to start a business?
Just go for it! Age is not a number and people will admire you for launching a business at such a young age. Try and meet as many people as you can who will help you along the way and don’t be afraid to go to networking events. People are more helpful than you realise and are open to helping young entrepreneurs. Programmes like Launchpad are developed to help those looking to launch a business so it’s worth searching for available support in your area. It also helps to have a real belief and passion for the products or service you are providing and it’s important to keep a positive mental attitude, even on the bad days.
If you had to recommend one of your products to a new customer, what would it be and why?
As it’s dry and chapped lips season at the moment, I would definitely recommend our lip scrub in Revitalising Raspberry. I use coconut oil in all my lip scrubs which, when mixed with the exfoliating sugar, makes the product moisturising and gentle to use on the lips. Revitalising Raspberry also has a fruity fragrance and it’s hard not to taste it when rubbing it on the lips!
A full range of Pura Cosmetics products can be found at Pura Cosmetics along with a list of craft fairs, markets and events Rose will be attending throughout the UK.