- Natalie Chapple began mixing jars of cosmetic glitter and selling them in 2017.
- During the pandemic, it had more time on its business, generating $ 2.2 million in 2021 sales.
- This is how she developed her successful side hustle and bustle, as told to writer Salina Jivani.
This story is based on a transcribed conversation with Natalie Chapple, 30, of Basingstoke, England, about how she founded her business, Glisten Cosmetics. It has been edited for length and clarity. Insider checked the company’s finances with the documentation.
I was 22 in my last year of college when I learned I was pregnant. Several months later, in 2014, I graduated in fashion design and had a son.
I decided that the responsible career choice would be to retrain as a teacher.
I started training for an alternate teaching role in 2015. The teacher training salary was around £ 22,000, so around $ 30,000 a year, which barely dented the household expenses I shared with my husband, Aaron. , who worked in a sports shop.
At the time, our monthly expenses were £ 900 for rent and £ 1,000 for childcare. After food, bills and gas (in a good month) we had 200 pounds of disposable income.
Desperate to make ends meet, I wanted to find a way to earn money aside
For years I have been buying glitter on eBay and wearing them to festivals and special events. I loved the shimmer of him and played with my collection whenever I could.
On New Years Eve 2016, I was getting ready for the night and it struck me that there was a gap in the market for a UK based glitter cosmetics brand.
On New Year’s Day, I started my glitter business: Glisten Cosmetics. I invested £ 200 of my savings – 200 more than we could afford – to purchase jars of glitter and glass from a supplier and filled each one by hand. Then I published my first Instagram post to advertise my product.
I posted photos on Instagram every day along with videos, which was a new concept on the platform at the time. This unique way of advertising has helped the brand gain greater exposure.
After three months, influencers started contacting me, asking to try the products, which I sent not knowing what to expect. After starting to post about our product, influencers helped increase sales by 30%.
The support of my mother and husband has allowed me to focus most of my free time on growing my business. Aaron took care of our son, feeding him and playing with him while I worked, and my mom took care of taxes and paperwork for the company.
By the end of 2017, I had sold over 1,000 items for a total of £ 6,000 in turnover. These were simple products, like glitter blends and glitter gels that I had made by hand.
But when sales started to rise, something was wrong
Glitter is made of plastic and is harmful to our environment. In 2018, I reinvested the money I had made from product sales until I could afford the more expensive, biodegradable glitter.
I was still working more than 40 hours a week as a teacher, hoping to leave and take up the business full time. By mid-2018, sales of biodegradable products had fallen. Expensive and less sparkling glitter, while eco-friendly, didn’t have the same appeal.
I was pregnant with my second child and did not want to give up the dream of working on my own.
In a leap of faith, I took out a loan in 2018 and bought and designed my first eyeshadow palette.
I found a manufacturer and started testing shadow formulas. Glisten Cosmetics has gone from being a glitter cosmetics company to something more. With a greater variety of products, demand has started to grow again. The number of orders increased until I was able to fulfill orders outside the home in glass jars, so I started collaborating with the manufacturers.
My daughter was born in September 2018. I went to maternity leave with the expectation of not having to go back to teaching.
Unfortunately, the sales weren’t enough to cover the expenses of a family with two children, so I returned to work in September 2019.
When the pandemic hit in early 2020, my school allowed all teachers who had children to stay home and teach them on their own
Teachers who had no children continued the lessons for the class.
My son was only in his first year of school and my husband had been fired so he was able to help with our son’s lessons and look after the children. This freed up about five hours a day that I could work on Glisten.
With the extra time, I was able to expand to liners, brushes, and lip glosses and stopped selling glitter altogether. I have also released special edition products in collaboration with influencers.
The deal exploded. I couldn’t handle the job on my own anymore, so I hired my mom. Glisten Cosmetics earned £ 47,000 in September 2020 alone. At that time I submitted my notice of resignation. I was finally full time at Glisten Cosmetics. By the end of 2020, we had made £ 250,000 a year.
In 2021, we continued to grow. I released a new palette at the end of the year with a small earring brand. It ran out immediately. In 2021, my first full year of working for Glisten alone, we earned £ 1,750,000, or around $ 2.2 million.
In January 2022, we made £ 204,000. We made £ 215,000 in February. Our weekly sales for 2022 are around £ 45,000, or $ 58,100.
I attribute our growth to marketing and our collaborations with influencers. If I had to give one piece of advice to aspiring entrepreneurs, it would be to interact with your customers on social media: interact with your comments section and reply to messages. It’s worth engaging with potential customers to show them you care.
Have you launched a successful side fuss and want to share your story? Email Kiera Fields at email@example.com