The Beauty Industry is a growing force that can’t be stopped. With more celebrities like Rihanna, Kylie Jenner, and Selena Gomez, who have all started their own line of makeup and skin care, it’s nice to think about how it must be to start your own–which is exactly what this Leading Lady did.

Photo courtesy of Hypergleam cosmetics

Miki Liuson is the founder of Hypergleam Cosmetics, a brand whose claim to fame is their line of hydrating lip gloss. Born out of her passion for makeup, she was inspired to produce her ideal lip gloss formula, which eventually turned into a budding business. All this while still being a sophomore in college.

Want to know how you can start your own cosmetics brand one day? Miki Liuson is ready to tell all.

What inspired you to start Hypergleam Cosmetics?

It stemmed out of my passion for makeup, which grew ever since I went to makeup school last year. I was always interested in how makeup was made, and I saw that it was possible to make your own lip gloss. So, I started researching all of the best ways and techniques to concoct a great lip gloss formula. After weeks of researching which [formula] was best, I started looking for the materials when I realized the yield is A LOT of lip gloss. Because of this, I had the idea of trying to brand it even if my direction was unclear–whether or not selling my own formula would be successful.

When I soft-launched the gloss for selling, I was surprised about how much positive feedback I got. Since then, it was clear [to me] that Hypergleam Cosmetics had the potential to grow [as a brand], so I turned it into a long-term (hopefully lifelong) project and finally launched on July 25, 2020.

Photo courtesy of Hypergleam cosmetics

What were the best and worst parts of starting a business?

Starting a business was something I’ve always wanted to do, but I never expected it to come this soon. I really just wanted to make my own lip gloss out of my passion for makeup, so the best part of starting Hypergleam is the fact that I’m doing something I love. The second best thing is the support I received from my family and friends, [from the moment] I started brainstorming, to preparing for the launch, and finally, to running the business itself. There was a lot of help offered to me, so support didn’t only come through encouragement, but actual contribution to help improve my business as well.

The most difficult part of starting Hypergleam was definitely when COVID-19 struck. When I started [planning out my business], we had no clue that a lockdown would happen nor think that it would last this long. But despite it, I still decided to push through with [my plans for Hypergleam]. There were many adjustments I had to make in the process, from the delay of shipments to the small tasks in preparation for my launch. Final polishing was delayed for months, and I was overwhelmed by the number of cosmetics businesses emerging before me, so I felt the need to rush. However, [in the end] I was reminded that there is no reason to feel pressured]. I constantly told myself to take all the time I needed, to which [I learned the true value of preparation] because all the time spent paid off immensely when I launched!

How has your business been adapting to COVID-19?

I can’t really compare [my experience] to operating without COVID-19 because Hypergleam was launched in the middle of the pandemic. However, one thing I did have to adjust to was not being able to work with as many people as I would’ve wanted. I was only able to work with a product photographer because it was urgent and I had to assist in the process. I wanted to invite people to model for my glosses, but since I chose not to do anything that would be risky at the time, [I decided] to collaborate with more local creatives. And working with these people produced photos of my glosses that were even better than I imagined.

The e-commerce platform continues to grow and develop everyday, so the adjustments I made lead me towards different opportunities. I also learned that it is important to make the most out of my resources because it’s not worth taking risks at a time like this. [Keep in mind] that there are always possible alternatives.

So, you’re a college sophomore. How has that affected you as an entrepreneur?

Since I haven’t started school yet, I’m not sure how I’ll manage Hypergleam alongside my academics. However, I think that being a student entrepreneur has [opened doors] for my brand because people are more inclined to interview and feature young people who have started businesses during this pandemic. Not only has my brand been featured on online magazines, but I was also able to participate as a student entrepreneur in more than three interviews (and counting) in the past month. To add to that, I’ve sponsored university organizations and events because of the student community, which helped me reach more people in my target market.

Photo courtesy of Hypergleam cosmetics

Last Question: What message would you like to give to aspiring Filipina entrepreneurs?

I want to encourage all of you to believe that there will always be people who will support you. With the rise of local businesses today, more people understand [why we should support them]. But despite this,

It is important to know that you [can] rely on yourself. It is inevitable that people will disappoint you, so make sure that you always know your next step or your Plan B. 

To be practical, you need the following to build a business: research, uniqueness, and authenticity. All of these things will stem out from how you manage your business, so [believe] in your own work and passion. Always look for something to learn and get inspiration from, and make sure to set goals for your business. With that, stay encouraged, because where passion runs deep, creativity flows.

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