Karaché Kosmetics, a young, thriving lip gloss brand from Texas, got our attention thanks to the outstanding story behind it. We had a little chat with Christina Fitzsimmons, the brand founder, to discuss: how to sell products online, exactly? How to start a successful business like that with no experience whatsoever? And what can a small business owner do to expand their reach and sell more with less effort? Tune in and join us for this exciting interview!
Let’s start with a little introduction, shall we?
Hi, I’m Christina, I’m the owner of Karaché Kosmetics. I began my lip gloss business a couple of years ago when I was finishing my last college semester.
Karaché is how I actually wanted to name my daughter. I don’t have kids right now, but I really liked the name and liked that there would be a double K in the brand name – Karaché Kosmetics – and it kind of just worked out!
That’s adorable! But how did you get an idea to sell products online, in the first place?
“There was this high-schooler and she had her own lip gloss cosmetic line.”
So, as I said, I was doing an internship and getting ready to graduate. At some point, I also started working as a remote social media assistant for one YouTuber. With her, I was actually making more money than with my internship!
Due to the job, I was on YouTube a lot, and I saw a video that really inspired me. There was this high-schooler and she had her own lip gloss cosmetic line. That got me really intrigued and I thought: hey, let me just go ahead and give this a shot!
I felt that could be an answer, the way for me not to work for the upcoming semester and just focus on graduation. And so, I started getting everything together before launch.
Where did you get the products to sell?
“I was hand-mixing every single batch of lip gloss.”
From the YouTube video that I watched, I understood I could actually make lip gloss myself – just like people make soap now, for example. So, you simply need to get the materials — go on the supplier’s website, purchase all of the ingredients, and then make it at home. That’s what I did, and now I have an actual production! I don’t have to make them any more, but when I was starting out, I was hand-mixing every single batch of lip gloss.
In the beginning, it was retail-based, so I was selling lip glosses individually. And then I noticed that a lot of stores were doing wholesale. I took a shot at wholesale, too, and that was what really blew up my business.
Now, it’s more evolving to match the changing demand. Previously, many people wanted to start a lip gloss business and also sell products online. So, I would just supply them with trendy neutral shades and have them pre-made. I was solving their supply problem so they wouldn’t have to do it from scratch. What I am noticing now is that a lot of people want something that is already made and also has custom packaging, their logo on it… That is why I introduced private label for those really willing to have it.
That’s currently where I’m at right now, and it has been working very well so far. In the first month of running the business I made more money than I could have thought of.
How did you manage to sell products online so successfully from the very beginning?
“I would post stories every single day for a whole year and a half.”
Thinking of ways on how to expand the business reach, I looked over to Instagram. I started doing a lot of videos that were very popular at that time. I put my own twist on it, and I think that’s the reason they gained a lot of attention. A lot of my videos would go viral – I believe the business blew up 4-5 months after the launch – and by that time, I have graduated already.
At that point, I was without a job, I just moved to another state, and I was having to pay rent because I was not in college any more. I was devastated – I was trying to apply to jobs, I did a couple of interviews, and no one would hire me. That was the month when I was like “Alright, let me just go ahead and continue with this business” because I was going to close it down. And that was the month when I made more than I would have made at the jobs I was applying to. So, I just continued to work at the business and it blossomed from there.
I built it from the ground up on organic traffic and I’m very proud of it because it’s so hard. That means that basically I would post around 2-3 times every day on Instagram – that’s where I get all my traffic from. I would post stories every single day for a whole year and a half. I got so exhausted because not only had I to create this content, edit it, but also to make sure I was posting that many times every single day on top of everything else I was trying to do.
Seems like there isn’t a secret recipe to starting a successful online business – only hard work, right?
“Everyone has started from zero.”
There’s never going to be a perfect time, there’s never going to be a perfect business, there’s never going to be perfect anything, and if you try to chase perfection, you’re just going to go in circles. Just start, literally!
Everyone has started from zero. I was very scared to launch my YouTube channel because I was like ‘I don’t want to start from zero’, but that’s what everyone does. You just have to start, no matter what stage you are in your business.
Three days after I watched that YouTube video, I purchased the lip gloss ingredients! I wasn’t even going to do any logos or anything fancy, I was just literally going to put lip gloss into tubes and just sell it as that. When I started telling everyone about it, I started getting a lot of attention. People were saying I need to put a logo on it, to come up with a business name, to work on packaging… But anyway, it was still like “at least I started” and it has blossomed into what it is today.
Do you have advice for people who, like you, want to sell products online?
“I always try to have days on which I work on certain things.”
My advice would be to organize your time to dedicate specific days to specific tasks. So, for example, if you’re working 9 to 5 Monday through Friday, Tuesday evening may be the time when you set aside a couple of hours to work on social media strategy.
My own daily routine means handling three different things: my business, my YouTube channel, and my blog. I always try to have days on which I work on certain things. For example, I ship out items and work on my TikTok account on Tuesday. On Wednesday and Thursday, I will dedicate the entire day to YouTube – either editing or filming a video. Friday is a catch-up day to get out some orders and focus on the business itself.
You can’t do this without hours and hours of research. There’s a lot of different things not a lot of people think of. What about stepping back and going to your local farmers market, for example? Or going to small businesses within your city and handing out your business card? A successful business owner will figure out a way to make it work.
What holds us back is that we believe that things like these can’t happen to us, but they can – they really can.
All you have to do is just try – life’s way too short and it’s ok if you try and you fail. You learn something from every situation, every business that fails, and what you do is you take from that and apply it to your next move. I think it’s ok to let go of things that don’t suit you any more so you can move forward onto things that really excite you and bring you happiness.
Let’s talk about your blog: it’s another channel where you share advice on how to sell products online, right?
“I would have wished that I had something like this when I first started.”
One of the things that I have noticed was that I would always get a ton of DMs with people asking for business advice. I knew it’s going to be more than just a couple of sentences exchanged through Instagram DMs. There’s just a lot more to that, and so I thought of having a blog where people can pay a small fee – not like a thousand-dollar course – where we can all collectively come together.
It’s a little bit easier for me to have this confined space dedicated to me personally and message you back. There’s so much going on – I can’t just go and answer every comment on Instagram or YouTube! I write tons and tons of articles every month suited to what my audience needs and so it’s just a lot easier for me to help others understand how the business works and create a community around it.
I would have wished that I had something like this when I first started because there would be like the smallest questions that I would have and I would be like “who do I even ask?”. That’s why I created the blog – I’ve had so many people that have done giveaways with each other, support each other’s businesses, and it’s really amazing to have that community.
There’s a lot of things you’re dealing with all by yourself – but what is your biggest challenge?
“How do I continue to keep this consistent?”
I work alone, indeed — everyone thinks I probably have a huge production team behind me, but I don’t. But I thought about getting a production manufacturer to make the products for me. It would really help release a lot of stress on my end because I won’t have to physically do them like “okay, I have this product, now I have to make like 58 8-ounce jars of lip gloss, this is gonna be fun!”. Instead, I’ll have the products just sent to me and then I will be just shipping them out.
My biggest challenge is – how do I continue to keep this consistent? Once my YouTube channel started really taking off, I began doing a lot of partnerships. I started dedicating myself to putting out so many videos on YouTube that my business was on the back burner for a little bit. I was not posting on Instagram as much – and that’s my main source of traffic and sales and profits! A really big challenge was how do I keep up the momentum of my business and also my YouTube and my blog and all the other responsibilities plus take care of my social life and my personal life in general. I relied so much on organic traffic and organic marketing that I now think it’s great to look for other selling opportunities that don’t take that much of your time.
How would you like to become a Sellvia supplier – and having at least a part of your issues sorted out?
Anyone can join the Sellvia ecosystem and become a Sellvia supplier. This way, your products will be stored in Sellvia Fulfillment Center in California and the team will handle everything else, from orders processing to shipping. Any time a US customer buys your product through the Sellvia catalog, we will make sure he or she receives it on time, safe and sound!
I’m excited to become a supplier – I think that would fix my problem of solely organic traffic. This way, I’ll have someone buying from me while I’m not having to sell and that makes me happy because I can still focus on my other stuff.
It’s definitely a very smart business model. It’s just so hard to start a business, and this is such a unique resolution to that, and I’m excited to start!
We’re beyond excited to start working more closely with Christina and welcome her as a member of the Sellvia family! Sellvia is committed to helping small businesses grow in any way. If you are a newcomer who wants to sell products online for the first time ever, we are happy to make you a store with ready-to-sell items and guide you through every step of your newborn business – forever and for free. And if you’re a business owner who wants to reach a wider audience and sell to more people online with no logistics or fulfillment issues, you’re more than welcome to join Sellvia as a supplier!