How to Start a Cosmetics Store

Starting a cosmetic store can be a challenging and rewarding venture, but it is not an easy business to start. Besides the traditional business needs, you need to find vendors that will allow you to sell their product in the store, purchase displays and samples, and targeted marketing are just a few of the challenges faced by those looking to open a cosmetics store.

Consider location, one of the most important things for your new business. A cosmetics store might work best in a mall, near a salon or near a beauty school; think where would the customers could easily find you.

Check with your city and state agencies to determine what kind of business licenses you may need. If you employ a makeup artist you may need a registered esthetician to provide makeover services, depending on state regulations

Examine retail space and come up with layout that will serve your customers best. Many cosmetics stores use display cases to house the products with brand displays on top, and the approach assists in preventing theft. Another design option would shelving or tiered tables to display the products. Check with local store supply vendors to get ideas, prior to designing so that you can have a targeted plan for your store layout.

Secure a few vendors. Since most retail store owners understand you need a product to sell it helps this prior and during the setup. Contacting the company directly is the best way to carry their product. Keep in mind that most of the larger companies have a very high order minimum. You will most likely want to stick with smaller brands and vendors to keep initial inventory costs low. Many of the brands that offer a start-up package, require you to purchase a display or at a minimum let them know where you will be showcasing their product.

Plan for set-up time prior to opening. Some display cases may require more set-up, while other can be shipped to you already put together. Smaller stores strive to do as much of the work on their own as they can, to save them more on their profit.

Reach your target audience through press releases, business cards and local publication coverage. These free or low cost options will help you establish a customer base.

Ensure your equipment is properly working properly. When you have all systems go, you can open those doors and get the business going.


  • Create a business plan prior to opening your business Have as many vendors as you can find and afford at hand so you can order more when you need to


  • Be prepared to have a small income for two years or more before showing a profit.