19-Year-Old Kristin Zaldana Launches Self-Made Cosmetics With The Smarts Of A Seasoned Beauty Exec
There is no age requirement for being a beauty entrepreneur, and Kristin Zaldana is taking advantage of the opportunity that affords to young people. She’s launched Self-Made Cosmetics at 19-years-old.
“There’s the traditional route of interning at a beauty brand, working your way up and, then, branching out later, but I really wanted to start it now,” says the recent graduate of FIDM’s beauty marketing and product development program. “I went to the panels at Indie Beauty Expo last year, and that’s when the idea of creating a brand was really sparked. I wanted to be part of the industry on my own and not underneath someone else.”
Zaldana isn’t completely on her own at Self-Made Cosmetics. She’s teamed up with mom Trisha Zaldana, the former owner of an online children’s boutique. Trisha is Self-Made Cosmetics’ e-commerce and finance maven while her daughter handles the pipeline of products. The brand’s name came to Trisha in a dream.
“Whenever we have dreams about something important, we make them part of our lives. She said that, in her dream, she saw me on QVC. I thought that was charming and important,” recounts Zaldana, adding, “I love her, and it’s amazing to work with her. I wouldn’t have it any other way. She’s definitely more experienced in the business aspect of it.”
The business aspect is multiplying quickly. Self-Made Cosmetics made its debut with 16 handmade skincare and body care products, and is expanding its assortment to 25 products soon. Bath bombs, eye creams and soaps are on the docket. Self-Made Cosmetics is also planning to release a seasonal box quarterly with products suited to skin needs during different seasons.
“A lot of people think that, when you start, you should try to win product of the year. Of course, we want to have that type of product, but we want to start small with products people use on a daily basis and work up to the more unique products,” says Zaldana. She notes Self-Made Cosmetics’ packaging design is intended to be sleek and clean, and fit within the indie beauty segment.
Four crystal-infused products – Amethyst + Lavender Toner, Black Obsidian + Charcoal Facial Scrub, Celestite + Grapefruit Oil Cleansing Oil and Kyanite + Lotus Extract Serum – are central to Self-Made Cosmetics’ early assortment. “I love crystals, and I lean on them,” says Zaldana. “They’re a great way to manifest things, and to balance out your energy and your skin at the same time.”
Zaldana isn’t one of those teenagers who believes they know everything. She admits she had quite a bit to learn on the path to perfecting Self-Made Cosmetics, especially about preservatives. The brand depends on phenoxyethanol as a preservative for its water-based products.
“We are using fresh ingredients, so there would be times when I would make something that I really loved and, a week later, it would have mold on it, and I would have to go back to the drawing board,” says Zaldana. “We focus on making sure our products don’t have harsh chemicals. We have researched and researched, and found a bunch of natural, plant-derived preservatives, which I didn’t really know about before. I didn’t really think that preservatives could be natural, but I’m glad we figured that part out.”
Zaldana points to face masks as entry-level products for Self-Made Cosmetics’ potential customers. The brand offers the face masks Ground Coffee + Cocoa, French Green Clay + Lemongrass, Ground Oats + Brown Sugar and Brazilian Clay + Lavender from $14 to $21.
“My typical shoppers are very into what they’re putting on their skin. Right now, they might be using something made in bulk at a factory with an emphasis on the natural, vegan approach to beauty. They most likely would come to our brand because they want something more simplistic,” says Zaldana. “Our face masks are a good start for the customer that wants something for general use.”
Self-Made Cosmetics’ products are priced from $15 to $30, and Zaldana took the cuts stores might take into account in calculating product prices. “I’m weirdly a math guru, so I understand margins and MAP [minimum advertised price] pricing,” she says. “You want to put your margins closer to 70% to 80% for when you go into retailers. I typically mark them up by 75%.”
While its prices are ready for retailers, Zaldana isn’t quite ready to place Self-Made Cosmetics in them. She envisions the brand sticking to online selling for its initial year or two on the market. Self-Made Cosmetics cost around $6,000 to bring to fruition, and Zaldana’s goal is to earn that amount back in six to 18 months.
She says, “I want to establish that we are here rather than focusing on making a ton of revenue at first.” Wise words from the mouth of an indie beauty babe.