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Really, What Does It Take to Build a Beauty Business?

By: Martha Kepner
Posted: January 28, 2014, from the January 2014 issue of GCI Magazine.

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AMB: A ton of courage. You have to have the guts to beat the odds, and often that means pulling on an internal strength you maybe didn’t know you possessed, both for you and your team. Obviously, we all have our own fears and are afraid to fail, but a strong dose of courage is what allows us to just take action regardless of the possibility of negative outcomes.

I remember before I started my first company, I asked one of my favorite business mentors, Jamie MacVicar, what he felt was necessary for success in business. He said three simple things:

  1. Cash is king.
  2. Work like a dog.
  3. Take vacations.

Great entrepreneurs don’t overanalyze situations or spend too much time thinking about the consequences. They just take action, watch their cash, work hard and then take time to enjoy their labors.

MK: How important is being a self-starter to a successful business launch?

AMB: From the time I started my very first company, I’ve always remembered and understood one key thing: if there was a detail I felt was critical to the success of the business and needed to be done, I did it myself. Yes, surrounding yourself with a great team is important, but as the business owner and leader, you can’t rely on your staff or your consultants to truly drive your business at the critical path points. Only you can do that. You can’t sit around waiting for opportunities to come knocking—you need to beat the door down yourself.

MK: How do you recover from a business setback?

AMB: Order a martini.

Seriously though, I’ve had plenty of them, and if I’m being truthful, not one of them was ever fun. Like most entrepreneurs, I’m not good at failing, so I make sure I’ve got some go-to remedies to help me recover from the setbacks we all experience. I talk to my husband, which always helps me feel better about the situation, and I give myself one day of self pity, and then I get back up, make the needed adjustments and move on.

I’m not a big fan of dwelling on what didn’t work, so once I’ve had my moment, I am up and on to the next thing. It’s why I keep a notebook full of mangos.

MK: What do you do in your spare time (if you ever have any)?

AMB: Don’t tell anyone, but I actually have a lot of free time. A little secret no one ever tells you is that with each business you start, it actually does get easier. And in this case, aging actually helps.

I’m not just an entrepreneur and business owner—I have three very active kids, two dogs and a husband. We spend a ton of time together doing fun and silly things, and for me, these are the best times of my life.

MK: If you could give new beauty entrepreneurs one piece of advice, what would it be?

AMB: The facts matter. Get a good lawyer—a really good lawyer—and then listen when they give advice. Contracts matter. Details matter. Pay these people to double and triple check your business matters, and then pay attention if they tell you things aren’t quite right.

I’ve seen more than one smart business owner waste millions of dollars on creating brands and products, down to finished goods and websites, only to find out they don’t own the trademark to the brand or the company’s URL. These are all details that should never have been overlooked, and taking the time to uncover all of these small details makes a huge difference.

Making a Go of It

Already well down the road of building her next new business, I’ve always found it inspiring that Beyer still takes her own advice seriously and knows that, even for someone with her experience and knowledge of the inner workings of the industry, success is never a guarantee.

Carving out a new space is incredibly hard. However, by following her own rules (and every so often breaking a few), Beyer has been able to help create award-winning businesses for entrepreneurs who share her drive, passion, commitment and zeal for taking beauty to the next level, product by product.