Last week we (Sally and Bre of Alchemy Mineral Blends) were invited for two days to present an instructional course at the Aveda Institute in Denver, allowing us to showcase both our makeup and our techniques. In addition, focus was also on the development of Alchemy as a business, as many of the Aveda students aspire to start their own companies upon graduation. It's always a fantastic experience to educate students, and we hope our story of building Alchemy from just an idea to a thriving company in 5 "short" years is inspiring. We want women, especially, to see that its possible to start a company for themselves, and we are always thankful when we can be a part of the process of providing them with the knowledge, inspiration and tools to venture out on their own in that capacity.
One of the most common questions we're asked from women is how we managed to start our own mineral makeup and services business. The short answer is that the first step is receiving a proper education. One that not only prepares you for the day-to-day tasks of your trade, but prepares you for business, as well. In our case, we studied at The Cinema Makeup School in Hollywood, along with other continual courses in makeup.
The next step, and equally important, is the Idea. Your Idea must provide something that is missing or that has room for additional competition within the industry, something you believe you can do better than your competition, or you must be able to start an entirely new industry! If you can think of any one of these, and if its one you're absolutely passionate about, you may be on to a winning business.
Once you have gotten this far, you must really hone your skills. To break into an industry or create a new one, you must be the best of the best, offering customers and clients a reason to leave their current products behind in favor of yours, or to give you a try over another stylists / makeup-artist, etc. And they must be hooked on the first try! In our case, beyond formal training we worked hard every day, often providing services for free during the first few years because we knew it would either help us make a connection or enhance our skills. To accomplish this, we both worked two jobs until we were booked with paying business. I don't think either of us could have managed such a grueling schedule if we didn't love what we do, and weren't passionate about every makeup product we sell and makeover we apply!
Finally, you must be persistent. There will be those tough times when you question every move you make, question if you'll succeed, there may be months with little or no business (during a slow-season, hopefully), and it might be hard to see the "light" at the end.... but you must persist. Eventually, you'll have those great days, and you're problems will turn from finding work to deciding if you should seek an investor, bring in another business partner, hire your first employees, rebuild your website, or maybe even take a vacation! A final thought, and one that has been very important for our success, you must just DO IT! Start today, because if you don't, it will simply never happen.
Now, since this has turned into an inspirational story, we must also thank our family and friends who have been our greatest support, sometimes our best customers, and even our first investors! As well, a huge thank you to our customers who are the most loyal we could have ever hoped for, and some of whom have become our personal friends!