This week I caught up with Nick Whitmore, Managing Director NDistribution Limited, owners of Oh Beauty to discover the ins and outs of a start-up online beauty shop. In the following Q&A Nick reveals his golden rules of business, the beauty trends to look out for this Spring/Summer and key advice for those hoping to break into the industry.
Oh Beauty is a brand new internet beauty & cosmetics store. We have exciting new brands and lines flying in every month!
When did you create Oh Beauty, and what was the spark that launched it?
We launched Oh Beauty in early February 2013 after many months of planning. We’d already dabbled in the beauty industry with a low end website, but we soon realised it wasn’t up to the job, so Oh Beauty was born!
The spark that launched it would probably be noticing how much make-up and cosmetics my girlfriend goes through. I thought if other girls consume half as much as she does, there must be a business opportunity in there somewhere.
What is the mission/purpose of Oh Beauty?
We want to offer the best selection of beauty products at the lowest prices (with free delivery on everything!). We want Oh Beauty to be the one stop shop for everything ladies could ever need to make themselves look (and smell) beautiful – and of course feel great.
Right now our inventory is looking a little sparse but we’re working really hard to source new brands and we’ve got some exciting products coming in very soon.
We’ll be launching a few brands of our own too, for cost conscious beauty addicts that aren’t too keen on forking out money for high street brands. We want to cater for all budgets.
What is your favourite part of being a fashion/beauty start-up?
Interacting with our customers. Our customers really appreciate that we work hard to make them happy – it’s always nice when we receive “thank you” calls and emails.
Another of the things I love about the business is the funny looks I get from my old school friends when I tell them that I sell false eyelashes and fake nails for a living!
What’s your golden rule of business?
My golden rule in business (and in life in general) is just to be honest and transparent. Too many companies and people out there make silly claims or promises they can’t keep – which is all well and good until they let you down. I like to be open, honest and transparent with everyone – whether it’s my employees, suppliers, parents or my friends. In business and in life in general, honesty really is the best policy.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Don’t shout or get irate at anyone, because you’ll never get the outcome that you want. Be reasonable and composed and you’ll be listened to (achieving the desired outcome in most cases). This works in life in general – not just in business!
What’s the one thing you wish you’d known when you started?
Exactly how hard it is to make a name for your business in the beauty industry! It’s extremely competitive, and there are a few household names that really do have the industry locked down. Carving out a chunk of the market for ourselves isn’t easy, but we’re going to give it a damn good shot.
Which entrepreneurial company do you take most inspiration from?
It’s a tough one because I don’t really have time to look at what others are doing, but if I had to answer it’d be Morph Suits. I know we’re in totally different markets, but I love the way their business centres on social media. Their day to day interactions with fans/followers/customers are great – I think that they really set the bar in social media marketing and I really enjoy checking out their channels when I have a chance to. Social media marketing is going to be important for us going forward, and I’d like to think we’ll be able to replicate what they do through our own social channels.
What are some beauty trends we should look out for this spring/summer?
Over the spring summer you’re going to see a lot of new products from emerging brands like Invogue and Eye Candy. The former has a great range of “budget” nail polishes that have just gone on sale (they’re budget in terms of price, but very, very high quality colours). Eye Candy also has a range of premium polishes, and an array of false lashes. There’s also the new “So Eco” range of make-up tools which I have a feeling will prove to be very popular as people start to discover the brand.
Any advice for people wanting to break into the beauty industry?
My advice for people trying to break into the beauty industry is to have a plan and stick to it! It’s not just about having a plan though – the one thing that’s most important of all is to be realistic. I have people approach me with all kinds of weird and wonderful ideas on a daily basis – they plan to launch global beauty brands on a budget of £100, or launch a brand that’s going to outsell high street names overnight.
The best advice I can give to people looking to get into the beauty industry is to be realistic and be unique – every product needs a “unique selling point” – something that stands it apart from the competition. If anyone does need help and guidance on a personal level, they’re always welcome to contact me – I’m happy to help! I mentor a couple of people looking to make it big in the beauty industry – and we’re always looking to source products from exciting new brands and start-ups.
Thank you to Nick for contributing to the Q&A, an interesting read for beauty industry enthusiasts and budding entrepreneurs.
CONTACT – firstname.lastname@example.org or 0800 559 3877
WEBSITE – www.ohbeauty.co.uk
FACEBOOK – www.facebook.com/ohbeautyuk
TWITTER – @OhBeautyUK