This False Eyelash Startup Generates $50M+ a Year!

Today's post looks at startup Glamnetic and how its founder grew the company to $50M in revenue within just one year!

Read time: 5 minutes

Good morning! It's Friday, March 22nd. Today's post looks at startup Glamnetic and how its founder grew the company to $50M in revenue within just one year!


This False Eyelash Startup Generates $50M+ a Year!

The cosmetics and beauty manufacturing industry is massive, generating over $430B in revenue each year. 

For startups looking to break into the industry, competing with billion-dollar titans like Sephora, MAC, and L'Oreal can feel impossible. But that didn't stop Ann McFerran, who, in 2019, found a path to success by specializing in a niche: false eyelashes. 

The false eyelash market is small compared to the overall beauty market. However, it's expected to reach a $1.8B valuation by 2024. 

By building Glamnetic around the growing popularity of false eyelashes, McFerran hit $50M in annual revenue after just one year! Plus, she pulled it off without a dime in venture cash. 

The Founding Story

Before founding Glamnetic, McFerran was on the pre-med path with a degree in psychobiology from UCLA but realized she wasn't happy doing medicine. 

At heart, she was a creative person who wanted to bring beauty into the world. So, after graduating, she pursued the life of a professional artist for four years. Not only was this a good fit for her interests, but the market rewarded her: she sold a painting for $10K immediately after graduating. 

While the life of a professional artist sounds glamorous, McFerran described it as "back-breaking work" that involved countless hours stuck inside each day. Also, she had an entrepreneur's mind and knew it wasn't a scalable business.

She decided to use her creative instincts to fuel a sustainable business and settled on lashes, more specifically, magnetic ones. 

So, What's the Business?

False lashes were an obvious place to start for McFerran because she knew there was a massive hole in that market. Adhesive lashes get clumpy and leave glue residuals and the available magnetic ones were next to useless. 

She decided to launch her own magnetic lashes that actually worked and would be 100% handmade. This involved countless hours of binge-watching product development and supply chain management YouTube videos, but it paid off. 

In 2019, she spent $1,500 on her first bulk order of 100 units each of five different eyelash styles at $4 a pop. Magnetic lashes are a niche with high margins, letting her price her first magnetic lash kits at $30!

After two months, she sold $1M in inventory, and within a year, she was cruising at $50M in annual revenue!

While we don't have more recent revenue figures, we can safely assume she's since grown revenue dramatically as Glamnetic has successfully expanded into press-on nails and filled 1.1M orders on Shopify during the holiday season. 

How She Won: Scrappy Bootstrapped Strategies

In an interview with Forbes, McFerran said, 

"I just had that mindset that I needed to save every dollar, even though the company was profitable. I was in do-or-die mode for so long."

Though stressful, that mentality pushed her to find creative ways to keep her bootstrapped company alive. 

One of her most notorious bootstrap strategies involved Bumble BFFs. During her first year, she met 11 girls through the platform to do their makeup and take pictures, but she wasn't genuinely interested in making friends. Instead, she was looking for free models for Glamnetic. 

With new inventory and free modeling shots, she messaged all the 30K Instagram followers she had built from her art career to score an initial sales boost. To be clear, she sent all the DMs herself, with no help from bots or virtual assistants. 

In a landscape dominated by beauty industry giants, McFerran won big due to her resilience and ingenuity— necessary traits for any successful bootstrapped entrepreneur. 

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