Becoming a small business owner is not for the faint of heart. In fact, according to the Small Business Administration, one in every 12 businesses close every year. Even though the odds might not be in your favor, others have taken that leap of faith and never looked back.
Take Eva Jane Bunkley for example. She is the creator of “The Makeup Bullet™ – HiDef Cosmetic Finger Sponge,” and owner of Eva Jane Beauty, LLC, based in Atlanta, Georgia. She has been making the stars of TV, film and the music industry beautiful for more than 20 years. In fact, she is a two-time Emmy Award winning celebrity makeup artist. The Makeup Bullet™ came about because Eva Jane had a desire to create a makeup sponge that would allow more control and speed in the application of makeup by fitting snugly on a finger. This helps prevent drops and increases efficiency with its hands-free design.
Eva Jane was happy to introduce her innovative sponge to the market and offer beauty lovers worldwide a “uniquely natural” alternative to apply their makeup. However, it took years for her to build up the courage to do so.
“I was getting a reporter ready for being on screen and noticed I was spending too much time looking for things. I would search for a blending sponge and forget where it was. I just knew I had to create a solution to the problem and The Makeup Bullet was born.” – Eva Jane Bunkley
Soon after, she built up the courage to take it to a huge makeup show in New York where it was a huge hit. By the beginning of day two, The Makeup Bullet sold out. From there, she attended other shows and grew the business organically but always wondered, how do I get it in stores?
“I had a couple of beauty retailers I talked with directly and the product was gaining traction with a lot of interest overseas,” she said. “The Middle East was popular and distributors started to buy from me. I then sold my product in the United Kingdom, South Africa and, of course, the United States.”
She slowly started networking and communicating with distributors because she wanted to learn and fail small. It was important for Eva Jane to understand the relationships while not making thousands of dollars in mistakes. Those methods have proven to be successful and vital to her growth.
Being a Business Owner is Never Easy
Having a single product allows Eva Jane the opportunity to try to innovate in beauty. She does not want a makeup line, but wants to create new products and things the industry has never seen before. All of those concepts require education and capital.
“It’s important to differentiate between other companies, and speed to market can make a huge difference,” she said. “Managing cash flow, having access to capital, and knowing when and who to hire are all aspects of running a business that can be overlooked.”
When you start out as a new brand, you shoot high; but that does not mean you are automatically set up for success. It is critical to plan accordingly for the different challenges you will face. Now that she manages larger accounts, the cost of business increases as she achieves her goals.
“I got over the initial hump and am now understanding the basic principles of running a business,” she said. “I was telling an intern that just because someone says yes doesn’t mean that it’s a match made in heaven. There are other factors you have to think about when it comes to growth and distribution in our industry.”
QuickBooks® has Helped Solve Numerous Business Challenges
One of the first things aspiring small businesses should do is choose the right accounting software that helps you take control of your finances. Thankfully, Eva Jane started with QuickBooks and that has helped open the door for other opportunities.
“I took a QuickBooks class through Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs,” she said. “I went to college for fashion, not business. So, their classes are extremely valuable when it comes to learning about various aspects of running a business.”
Eva Jane started using the desktop version and then transitioned to QuickBooks Online after about a year, and is still learning to use all of the features. Currently, she loves using QuickBooks® Online to keep track of her invoices and enjoys how convenient it is to use.
“I am not a numbers person so being able to plug my financial data into the system and having it automatically create reports is helpful,” she said. “I can also create custom invoicing that makes my business look a lot more professional.”
One of the great things about QuickBooks is the ability to learn about how to use the product more efficiently. Whether it’s adding a payments solution app to QuickBooks or diving deeper into reports, there is always more to learn about the product.
“I found a ProAdvisor® in my area who was certified in QuickBooks and helped me with my books,” she said. “I knew they were already vetted and knowledgeable on the products, so I just needed to make sure the partnership was set up for success.”
You Have to be Scrappy as a Business Owner
Part of the excitement for Eva Jane is seeing someone in a foreign country using her product. She constantly gets social media alerts from bloggers in the Middle East or in the United Kingdom using her product. She knew that she probably packaged it and that it was her product.
“There is a lot of back and forth with distribution throughout the world to invest our efforts to grow in those areas,” said Eva Jane. “The desire is there and it’s flattering, but I want to fulfill the need of that market.”
In the meantime, she is always networking and finding worldwide channels to get her product out there. She recently won a Glamour award in Russia for “Best in Beauty.” These accomplishments keep her motivated to buckle down and achieve her goal to be in every makeup bag in the world.
Editor’s note: Find Eva Jane and The Makeup Bullet on social media: @TheMakeupBullet, #TheMakeupBullet and #MakeupBullet.