I asked these questions on my ‘Gals supporting gals’ Facebook group back in August, and I have only just got around to writing and uploading this post now. Its been a busy few months! I am really wanting to bring more business content into my blog as, when asked, a lot of people have said they like seeing behind the scenes and the logistics of running my own business. This is something I am really interested in too, so ill happily write more content surrounding this niche soon, starting off with a business Q&A.
This business Q&A is going to be very long and a bit of a ramble I think, because I wanted to make sure everyone who asked a question was answered to the best of my ability. Grab a drink, as you are in for a long post today! I actually did one of these back in Spring, so any questions that are not answered were probably answered there. Why not check that out as well?
How long ago did you have the idea of starting your business?
I have wanted to start a business for YEARS, so much so that Sugar is named after a pretend business that created when I was about 8. I have never known what I wanted to do, but I always knew I wanted to work for myself, and I’m hoping by the time I graduate I will be fully self employed. As far as the idea for IRBeauty is concerned, I think I got the idea around 18 months ago now.
How long was it from the day you decided to develop your business to the day of launch?
It was around 7 months from my first drafts until the launch party. I worked so hard in that time, and I think it sped up the process, but it was still a long time and a lot of hard work to get it to the initial launch (and that was only 3 pairs!).
Did you always know you were going to start with eyelashes or did you consider a number of options?
I considered so many options before I stuck to lashes, but none of them really progressed much past the researching stage. When I started properly researching lashes it all just clicked, and now it feels like it was just meant to be. I can’t imagine selling anything else now, as lashes are genuinely my favourite makeup product!
Did you experience anyone telling you, or you telling yourself, that you couldn’t do this? If so, how did you overcome it?
This is something that I really wanted to answer in the business Q&A, because I want to reassure people that it is normal to feel like you can’t do something, as it is such a big thing trying to set up a business, and you will have moments where you feel useless! I am so lucky to be in a position where my family, boyfriend and friendship circle are so supportive, so I never had anyone telling me that I couldn’t do it. What I did have is people concerned that I would burn myself out, which is fair to be concerned about, because not many people run a business alongside being a student! Despite being easily stressed, I do think I am quite good at coping with a huge workload though, and I think anyone can see how happy having my business makes me.
I think my biggest tip if you are worried that people are going to put you down… don’t tell them! I didn’t tell the internet what I was doing for months, and I even had some friends message me on my launch day saying ‘Why didn’t you tell me? How long ave you been doing this?’. You are under no obligation to tell people what you are working on, and although having a support network is good, it is equally amazing to launch something and everyone be shocked. Plus if nobody knows what you are doing, nobody can say anything to put you down!
I am naturally a very self deprecating person, so I think the most pressure that was put on me was by myself. I wanted everything to be perfect, the product to be the best, the packaging to be amazing and the website and socials to be at a professional level. I think its good that I set such high standards for myself, but it got to the point where I was trying to launch my business like a company would who has a lot more employees, and a lot more money than me! Sometimes you need to take a step back and put what you are doing into perspective, although I am still so bad at that!
How do you balance your business with other aspects of your life?
With difficulty, and a lot of cups of tea! No but seriously, I do find it difficult to manage everything and I am often having to really plan my life in order to get everything done! The thing that gets me through is that I am only ever really stressed in semester time, and a semester is only 12 weeks long. So I have two 12 week stressful times, and then the rest of the year I can cope perfectly fine. Putting it into perspective like that really helps limit my stress, and realise that its not the end of the world if I have a really busy week and can’t get everything done.
Do you think that having an established social media presence has helped your business. If you didn’t blog, would you have still done it?
I think this is such a good question! Honestly, I do think that having a social media presence helped me to initially set up and promote my business. I already had a platform that I could share my products to, getting my name out there at no cost to me. I also had people who respect me (or so I hope!) and have followed my journey, so were more likely to purchase products initially. That being said, my business Instagram now has more followers than my blog one, so I do think that it has now grew to an even bigger size, and the business helps the blog, and the blog helps the business. They work together!
However, I don’t think it would have stopped me. Like I said, I have wanted to start a business for years and I know I would have always done it, but it just probably wouldn’t have been at the age I am now.
If you could have anyone in the world review your lashes, who would it be?
The easiest question in this business Q&A! JAMIE GENEVIEVE. Seriously, I love her and her videos, her content on Instagram and she is one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen. I think I would cry if I saw her wearing my lashes, and not to mention the amount of exposure it would get for my small business. I think she would suit the vibe of my lashes so much, and her wearing a pair of them would make my entire year. One day I hope! I actually emailed her team to see if she has a PO box but I didn’t get anywhere, so I might try again in a few months.
How do you go about starting your own business?
This is a huge question, and could be a whole post instead of just one question in the business Q&A! It is an awfully long process, and one which takes a lot of research. I started by lots of research, registering my business name, and then working on contacting and arranging samples from potential manufacturers. Once I had secured a manufacturer, I worked on my packaging design, and finalised smaller details on the actual lashes themselves. Once I was satisfied with everything, the lashes went into production and thats how IRBeauty was born. All of the lashes get delivered to me and then I postage and package every single order to send out to you.
When you started how did you understand all the licensing required? Where did you learn about it all? How did you secure a budget?
Research! Im lucky in the fact that I come from a business orientated family, so they are very aware and able to teach me about the basics of setting up a business. Plus I did business GCSE and A level so I have a good general business knowledge for my age in my opinion. However, as far as working out cosmetics legislation and also working out how to actually import my products into the country (because they are manufactured overseas) was actually pretty difficult. All I can say is google is your best friend, and be prepared to make some expensive mistakes along the way!
I secured a budget through some savings I had, paired with some money that a family member kindly gave me for my 18th birthday. I chose to invest that money into my business, in the hope that I was investing in my future. Only time will tell if that was a smart decision!
What do you wish people knew about running a business. Or what do you want people to know about running a business and what advice would you give to young people starting out?
The final question of the business Q&A! I think all of these questions link back to one answer- the amount of hard work it actually takes. I am usually quite good at knowing when people have worked hard and credit where credits due, but I completely undermined how challenging, time consuming and hard work running my business is. I thought I was going to be able to ‘slip it in’ to my schedule alongside uni, and in just under a year it has turned into such a large part of my life. I wish people knew just how much time I put into things to make them a success, and all the behind the scenes things that go on (I really should talk more about it), and if I was giving some advice I would say to make sure you have the time to commit, as times the amount of work you think it is going to be by about 10.
So there are all of the questions for this business Q&A, there were so many good ones and I have really enjoyed thinking about all of my answers. I just hope it was insightful! If you have anymore requests for business related content for my blog, let me know so I can start to brainstorm and plan some more. As always, thank you so much for reading this Business Q&A and supporting not only my blog, but my small business too.