How to Start a Business Selling Cosmetics Online

by Melinda Gaines; Updated September 26, 2017

Cosmetics cover a wide range of products, including lotions, perfume and face makeup. Because many people do not live in a city where their favorite beauty brand has a boutique or flagship store, they shop for their cosmetics online. Though there are a few large, corporate online makeup stores, smaller independent cosmetic businesses can be successful online as well. If you are knowledgeable about beauty products and want to start an Internet retail business, consider selling cosmetics online.

Items you will need

  • Market niche
  • Business permits
  • E-commerce Internet service
  • Storage space
  • Wholesale accounts
  • Designed packaging
  • Marketing campaign
Step 1

Target a niche for your online cosmetics business. Specializing will help differentiate your business among the many online cosmetics stores available to consumers, and will enable you to focus on a small segment of the cosmetics industry. For instance, you can sell independent artisan brands, organic cosmetics, mineral makeup, theatrical makeup, professional cosmetics or cosmetics for women of color.

Step 2

Obtain the permits required in your area to start a retail business. Even though your business will be online, you will still need to abide by the regulations in your state. Depending on where you live, you may need a resale permit, sales and use tax permit, Employer Identification Number and assumed name certificate.

Step 3

Select an all-in-one e-commerce Internet service that includes the following: Web page editor; shopping cart software; design templates; payment processing. Using an all-in-one Internet service, such as Core Commerce, Big Commerce, ProStores or Intuit, will allow you to launch an attractive online store without needing to know HTML or graphic design.

Step 4

Secure a storage space for your inventory that is free of dirt, dust, sunlight and pets. Suitable options include a clean spare room or closet that you can devote to storing merchandise, a commercial warehouse or a temperature-controlled storage unit.

Step 5

Open wholesale accounts with makeup brands, liquidators and distribution companies by contacting them and asking to become a reseller. Buying wholesale is essential in order to make a decent profit. You will likely be required to place a minimum order and provide business documentation to open an account.

Step 6

Design packaging for your cosmetics store. Though you may not produce the makeup you sell, you should still brand your business. Use distinct labels for your shipping boxes, package your orders in decorative boxes or bags, or use a specific color scheme for your boxes, labels and receipts.

Step 7

Market your online cosmetics business. Open social networking accounts, start a promotional blog or offer exclusive discounts to readers of beauty websites and online magazines in your niche.

About the Author

Melinda Gaines has been a freelance writer since 2006, with work appearing online for YellowPages and other websites. Her areas of expertise include business, beauty, fashion and sports. Gaines attended the University of Houston where she earned a Bachelor of Science in sport administration.

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