The birth of Face Lace
I was someone who resisted the idea of setting up my own company for decades. I made feeble efforts to collaborate with other people in the beauty business, but that left me at the mercy of their time and effort. Now understanding what is involved I can see why no one jumped at the chance to work together. The more I talked to entrepreneurs the more they encouraged me to do it myself. They all said “you can do this, I promise you.”
What I did when I started Face Lace was a bit bonkers. I created a unique product, clumsily sourced the materials myself and figured out how to manufacture it. The down side of this was that because I had so little technical knowledge it took forever to do research for new materials and the trial and error to figure out the best way to produce new designs can be daunting.
The up side is that I can produce whatever I like. I can come up with a new design, create a few dozen, see how the market likes it and either make more or stop making it. I have total control over production levels and quality control. I can also get a design as close to perfect as possible, doing tiny tweaks for days. I could never do this as a make-up artist: there were always time constraints. Yes I know that is what retouching is for, but I’m old school. I liked to know my make-up work was nearly perfect.
I still have to learn new things every day, and the combination of being terrified and thrilled by these new challenges makes this whole journey fascinating. To be honest I did start Face Lace ass-backwards. I had no business plan and didn’t understand finances. My only saving grace was that I knew my market. Now, I have many wonderful people who I can go to for help with budgets, marketing, and production. The UKTI (UK trade and Industry) and UKFT (UK Fashion and Textile Association) are also wonderful and very supportive of businesses like ours that manufacture in the UK. I still do some makeup work to bring in personal money, as I put most of what we make at Face Lace back into the business. Someday, soon, we will even move to a proper studio.
Would I recommend starting a business to anyone else? Hell, yes! I don’t think there is anyone more qualified to say “If I can do it, really, you can do it too!”.
By Phyllis Cohen