Simani Collection is the home of lipgloss glam! Founder Michelle launched Simani Collection at a time when starting a lipgloss business was unheard of. The name ‘Simani’ came from a play around with names – her nieces name is Soraya Imani – Michelle wanted something that easily rolls off the tongue and to that she succeeded.
Below Michelle shares with us her troubles and tribulations of building a lipgloss empire to the brand it is today. One lipgloss at a time.
When did you decide that you wanted to launch a lipgloss range and what was the process that you went through before launching?
Here comes to the cliche answer! I’ve always wanted to own a business LOL. The issue essentially was that I wasn’t sure what in, however I knew that it was going to be something beauty related because I’ve always been passionate about makeup. I think it’s a way for people to express themselves because there levels when it comes to makeup! Let it be day to day makeup, Glam makeup, Drag makeup just to name a few. Fun fact I was initially going to start a lash business but it was always an idea in the back of my head and I never followed through and by the time I was actually ready, the lash industry was so saturated. I therefore ended up at square one.
One day sat at a university lecture, we was doing a module that looked at the chemistry of cosmetics and I guess that what my eukria moment! I thought hold on..you’re very much so a lip gloss babe why not start that. At that time, no one I knew had done anything like this before. People were selling makeup but no one was just lip gloss/ lip cosmetics business.
That evening, I literally went home and started my research. I Found manufacturers and then It came to mind that I wanted to be vegan and cruelty free. Then I literally sampled loads of lip glosses from different manufacturers and with trial and error I found one that allowed me to take control on what I wanted in my products.
Deciding on a name was the fun but also very hard part! I wanted something clean that rolls off the tongue nice and I remember talking to my girl going back and forth and I literally messaged her “How about Simani Collection” and she was like “Yes that’s it!” and I was like yep that’s it. The name came from my nieces names ‘Soraya’ and her middle name is ‘Imani’ and she is literally my world! So it’s a perfect fit. I then went on to design my own logo. I now have a graphic designer but for my first ever logo I wanted something simple and clean.
One last thing that I think many business owners never say, but I also wanted to make more money, so it was the passion for the beauty industry as well as extra coins in my pocket.
How long did it take to launch from when you first had the idea to start Simani Cosmetics?
It took me I’d say a year and a few months. I was still at university which was already very demanding, especially my final year! I then had to work to save up for my first initial investment, because it ain’t cheap at all!!
What were some difficulties that you found in the beginning stages?
The difficulties that I faced at the start was finding a manufacturer that would allow me to have control on what I wanted my products to consist of. It was either they’d tick one box but not the other and I wasn’t willing to compromise. There were disheartening moments when you wait for samples to come and they look awful in terms of packaging – the product itself wasn’t how you imagined at all.
There are loads of people at the moment that are launching start-up beauty brands. However majority are specialising in eyelashes/hair. Lipgloss is a bit of a different process so can you speak about the science behind creating different shades?
I could be here for ever if I was to explain the full chemistry side of things such as molecules and structures. But it’s about knowing what ingredients work together and how they will react together as well as on skin. Being a Black Female I ensure that my products cater to all shades of Black whilst being inclusive to other races. The beauty scene sometimes forgets Black women so that’s been very important for me through this journey. I love when darker skinned women say how they was scared to try a shade because they thought it would look off or their skin tone or it wouldn’t suit it and they try it and fall in love.
How do you balance running a business with everyday life?
Wheeeeeeew chile. Work life and owning a business is not easy at all. How I do it I don’t know. Being organised helps, I think having a business has forced me to be organised well..I think I am laugh out loud. Emails and orders will pile on top of you if you ain’t. I have set days and times dedicated to just all things Simani and having a weekly to do list helps.
Do you plan to launch other cosmetics pieces or will Simani solely stay lip based?
I plan on solely being a lip cosmetic based. I want to build a solid foundation where people associate Simani with lip cosmetics as in there go to. However once this is done I may occasionally drop other cosmetics during seasonal times for example a Christmas eyeshadow palette. But the plan right now is to stick being lip based.
What are some plans that you have for Simani Cosmetics in 2020?
Plans hmmm I’ve got so many plans for 2020. Photo shoots, releasing more glosses, mattes, lip liners, lip sticks, lip balms, lip scrubs. I want to work more celebrities, MUAS, and working with other brands as well as hopefully a Simani Collection event. So yeah big things for 2020.