Launching into the makeup industry is particularly difficult when there is already so much competition. Success within this market is achieved by being innovative and creating products that customers need but do not have access to. Here are the five best Australian success stories with regards to the makeup industry.

Shanghai Suzy: 

Joanna French, founder of Shanghai Suzy was inspired to create her brand when she realized there were no affordable premium lipsticks in the market. As she was a cosmetic marketer herself, she often heard customers say they want a high-quality lipstick “but not at the price of an arm and a leg”.

Once she launched her product, many salons were requesting to have her product stocked on their shelves. Her original idea was to exclusively be online but as soon as requests came through, she discovered there are over 30,000 salons around the country.

“Consumers want something that feels a bit different and special they can post on their social media that nobody has heard of. Social media and the internet means it costs basically nothing to market your product.”
Joanna French

Now, Shanghai Suzy turns over $600,000 a year and sells in more than 600 salons across the nation. Her marketing style of selling seasonal products during Christmas, Halloween and the New Year creates an even better revenue for her brand. Her social media pages on Instagram and Facebook also attract a lot of attention.

shanghai suzyInstagram


Author and beauty editor, Zoë Foster-Blake created an all-natural skin care line in 2014. With her inspiration from makeup being harmful to your skin, she decided to make a skin care line for woman who have sensitive skin. Her products is exclusively online and can only be bought in Australia. She was worried about only making it online as customers now want to “feel it, touch it, smell it”. However, she is happy her strategy worked with 15 staff, giving her a helping hand.

“I can write to them and engage them on the site and have fun with them and then we get to send them the products and package it … then engage with them on social media afterwards…we have full control of our experience” 
– Zoe Foster-Blake, founder of Go-To

She praised the online world, where social media has become such an important part in entrepreneur’s lives. She stated the digital revolution has allowed you to work from anywhere and start a business without a physical store.


Poni Cosmetics: 

Evette Hess, a beautician was inspired to start her own eyebrow makeup line as her customers repeatedly stated they wanted to do what she does at home. Her and her husband saved up $100,00 to buy a house.  As they just had a child, she put those savings into starting up Poni Cosmetics instead.

She first started by stocking off her products at the clinic she worked at, then gradually other beauty clinics started to pick up her products. With the help of social media and word-of-mouth, her brand now turns over $2 million dollars in a year. Her quirky promise “No ponis were harmed in making” makes her customers keep coming back.



Sarah and Emily Hamilton, founders of their makeup sampling distributor, Bellabox, reached a 12% monthly growth in 2015. The subscription-based service allows members to discover, trial and buy beauty products.

Sarah told Business Insider she approached Fairfax for funding a few months ago. She says they don’t count the investment as an exit, but rather a transition to having “a smaller slice of a larger pie”. The sisters now have a diverse consumer base with the help of the media and its traffic arriving from Fairfax.

bella boxInstagram

Nude By Nature

HiLife Health and Beauty chief executive, Peter Nicholas made a turnover of $42.2 million in 2010-11 with his brands Rapid Loss and Nude By Nature. The makeup line Nude By Nature was created  in 2008 with his inspiration to start this line coming from his “phobia of ageing”.

The eternal success of his brand has been the way the products look on your skin as Peter states they are almost invisible. “It covers as well as liquid without the spillage and without all the neurosis that comes with liquid make-up” he said in an interview with Business Review Weekly. 

“Human beings are attracted to good looking people, whether of the same or opposite gender, and this influences success in the workplace just as much as in the mating game”
– Peter Nicholas

HiLife spends $10 million of its revenue on advertising, with a 60-40 split between TV and print. With 60% of his customer base being 35-48 year olds, he is hoping to break into the younger generation as they are a majority of the profit for his makeup brand.

Entrepreneurs work hard to keep the profit margins expanding over the years they are in business. Therefore, being innovative and appealing to customer values is key as all these brands have continuously completed. Zoe Foster-Blake states the best way to break into the cosmetic industry is finding a gap between the business sectors already existing.