“I had high expectations when it came to make-up,” explained Catwalk Cosmetics proprietor Marj Sia, whose career as both a seasoned make-up artist and a beauty blogger made her long-lasting hues a must for her clients.
Her transition from style guru to solo entrepreneur was driven partly by necessity; while plain and basic shades are all too often the norm in the beauty business, this former accessories designer argued, “Most bright and highly-pigmented colors here are sold separately in pots or solo palettes.”
To remedy this, Catwalk Cosmetics’ first offering lets make-up aficionados trade in all many of their tools for one; the shop’s Runway Palette introduced to the local market 18 unconventional shades that are a must-have for both day and night looks. Inside the 9x6 case is a wide spectrum that includes warm tints dubbed Geisha Red, Lollipop Pink, and Purple Lotus as well as cooler tones such as Lime Green, Green Tea, Powder Blue, Royal Blue, and Teal.
Next to these bolder choices, the palette features neutral alternatives like Copper, Juicy Orange, Hello Yellow, and Cocoa Brown. One can also create smokey accents with the Pearl White, Disco Silver, and Black Noir shades.
While these can be used as eyeshadow, the palette comes with three blush shades as well: Rose, Salmon, and Tangerine.
In her search for hypo-allergenic and rich cosmetics, Ms. Sia spent over a week in Hong Kong until she found just the right supplier. All the colors are handpicked by the entrepreneur herself, as she recalled, “My hands and face [were] always messy from testing and swatching the colors.”
But, the business didn’t come about on a lark. Ms. Sia had been sitting on the idea of opening her own web-based cosmetics shop since 2008, having seen a local demand for Korean and Japanese fashion. She began by selling her line of Mane Attraction wigs in August 2010, before expanding to make-up just this year.
When Catwalk Cosmetics made its debut, Ms. Sia braced herself for the stumbling blocks of running and marketing a new brand. But word spread fast thanks to her network of bloggers — a boon to the business, considering she finds her market online. Together with big-name sponsors like Etude House, Maybelline, Nivea, and Lay Bare, she also holds regular make-up workshops to share tricks of the beauty trade.
While it’s a handy tool for the runway-ready, the business’s target demographic isn’t strictly limited to models and make-up artists. Catwalk Cosmetics caters to cosmetics professionals and enthusiasts alike. “My product chooses no age — there are hobbyists as young as 15 years old,” Ms. Sia said.
In fact, she actively encourages people to spice up their everyday looks. “I want to promote the use of bright colors on a normal day. It’s very common in other countries.”
Currently, Catwalk Cosmetics is only available online, but Ms. Sia hopes to open a brick-and-mortar store soon, featuring an expanded product line with more make-up variants. “If [you] have a business idea, don’t be afraid to execute it and always start small,” she advised would-be entrepreneurs. “I’m glad that I risked starting up Catwalk Cosmetics because I’m really happy with the outcome.”
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