Teenager launches cosmetics business
Mya Furbert-Jacobs loves the look of lipgloss, but hates the sticky feel of it.
So this summer the 16-year-old started making her own.
“I wanted mine to be more soft and have a nice scent and give your lips nice moisture,” the Berkeley Institute student said.
Now lipgloss is part of an entire line-up of beauty products sold by her own company, MFJ Cosmetics and Designs, including scrubs, facial serums and false eye lashes.
“I love everything about skin,” she said. “I want to become a dermatologist. I thought it would look good on my college application to have my own business. It would really show colleges how interested I am in skin care.”
Her love of skin care was triggered by her grandmother, who lives in the United States. One summer they took workshops in Orlando, Florida, on making natural skin care products.
“My grandmother realised she was getting older and wanted to take care of her skin and wanted to age younger,” Mya said. “That is how she got me into it.”
Mya launched MFJ Cosmetics this summer, with the help of the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation’s eight-week student entrepreneurship programme.
“The BEDC accepted me into their programme and gave me a $900 bonus to start up my business,” she said. “With that I was able to buy ingredients for the products and materials I needed and packaging and everything.”
Her packaging leans towards the sparkly.
“My friends always tease me that I am very glam,” she said. “Baby pink or rose gold is definitely my signature colour. I usually express my glam in the clothes I wear and in my products.”
Product ingredients however, tend to be fairly simple, oatmeal, sugar, some witch hazel and milk.
She finds packaging ideas and recipes on websites such as Pinterest, and sometimes her grandmother sends her ideas.
The most challenging thing about making skin care products for Mya has been finding the right balance.
“I know that other people have different skin types than me,” she said. “It can’t always be about my skin, so I ask my friends, who have different skin types, to see how my products work on them. Then I make recommendations to my customers based on their skin type.”
She makes up her products in a space set aside in her bedroom.
“It is a medium-sized desk area,” she said. “I designed that into my product area and then I just make my supplies and package it.”
She loved the technical side of setting up her own website, but installing credit card services was difficult. She had to ask for help on that one.
Another challenge has been just finding the time to do everything.
She goes to school full time, is on the cheerleading squad, and also works in a fast-food restaurant. She also does some modelling.
“It is very hard,” she said. “I will find myself up until late studying, and then going back to making products and reviewing orders and looking at how I can improve my business. It is just a balance.”
Sometimes fear of failure has held her back from promoting her business.
“But I have realised that many people love skin care and the cosmetic side of it,” she said.
She sells a lot of her product to her classmates.
“A friend came to me about her skin problems and I recommended some of my products,” she said. “We started trying them. She said it did help her to develop great skin.”
Her hope is to grow MFJ Cosmetics and eventually sell her products internationally.
For more information see www.mfjcosmeticsdesigns.com or see her Instagram page @mfjcosmeticsdesigns