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Beauty business a personal journey

WHAT started out as a part-time research project by a frustrated consumer of beauty products has resulted in the formation of a cosmetic company with an international customer base.

Bethany James launched her company, Bethany, after learning about and disagreeing with what products were being used in the cosmetics she used.

“I always spent a lot of money on beauty products and I was always confused because they varied so much in price,” she told WA Business News.

“Then you were told the $5 products is as good as the $100 product, but how did you know?

“Through my research I became resentful of the synthetic products some of the expensive products contained.

“Most products use mineral oil instead of vegetable oils because it’s much cheaper. But it doesn’t absorb into the skin.”

That was 18 months ago and Bethany the business now sells between 400 and 500 litres of lotions a month across Australia.

Formerly a wine sales representative, Ms James did not expect her range of products to be welcomed so readily by the market, to the point where she is seeking new premises.

“I need a warehouse and I need employees but I’m too busy to focus on that at the moment,” Ms James said.

She said the demand for her products had been there since its inception.

“I had a hit list of 15 people I wanted to see. I had some mock boxes printed and testers and by the end of the first week they had all ordered some,” Ms James said.

“It was a bit frightening because I didn’t have the boxes yet but it went so well.

“That was in November and the sales were really strong in the lead up to Christmas.

“I was doing it all myself; I bottled it and put the labels on and the pumps on and I would do that until 2am in the morning and then wake up and do it again.”

Ms James then exhibited at trade shows and signed up eastern States-based retailers.

Her products are also sold at a retail outlet in the Jubilee Hotel in Brunei.

The packaging was an important element for Ms James, who spent time in New York assessing what look she was after.

“Being that I have named the company after myself, it’s intensely personal and I was looking for an image that reflected the way I felt about the products. It has to be feminine, fresh and pretty,” Ms James said.

The 18 products were developed with the help of a biochemist, and Ms James hopes to extend the range to include scented candles, herbal teas, and a range of baby products by the end of this year.

“I’m in the process of scented candle production at the moment. It fits with the product range because it’s aimed at women taking time out for themselves,” she said.

“On a separate side of things I’d like to produce a range of baby product because so many products use the wrong chemicals.”

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