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How to Start a Luxury Brand with Just $300

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What does $300 buy you these days? A couple of weeks' food shopping? A stylish pair of shoes? A multi-million-dollar skincare brand? That's what Susan Ciminelli did the first time she had some spare cash: "I started my company with $300 and built it into a multi-million business that keeps growing."

So, what's her secret? Check out holistic health guru and skin care entrepreneur's top tips for building a successful business (with just $300.)

1. Know Your Market
Susan's success wasn't exactly overnight. She didn't stumble across one of those golden opportunities you see in the movies, have an anonymous benefactor, or win a lottery ticket. She believes that having a deep knowledge of the market was crucial to her success.

After working for several luxury French skincare companies, Susan felt that women's needs were not being met with the products offered to them. She knew that she could deliver better results for problem skin by targeting the root cause of the issue. And she had a good idea of how to get through to her clients:

"We use vanity as a way into people's consciousness to get them to want to take better care of themselves starting with diet, lifestyle, and ending with a luxurious, natural, powerful regimen that delivers instant visible results to the skin."

2. Set Clear Goals
Knowing the market that you're operating in and the gap your product will fill in it is the first step to success. But being able to step back and see the bigger picture by setting clear goals is also vital. A lot of entrepreneurs make the mistake of getting too close to their projects and forget to keep focused on what they want to achieve long term.

If you don't establish a clear vision for what you want to accomplish (in Susan's case, revolutionizing the skincare industry), you'll never be able to launch anything more than a hobby.

3. Be Authentic
Whether you choose to launch a skincare line like Susan Ciminelli, or an online marketing consultancy, be sure to add your own personality. You don't have to make the domain your own name, or throw professionalism out of the window. But be enthusiastic and authentic about what you do.

If you're not passionate about your own life (or product), then no one else will be either. Millennials are a pretty tough crowd and turning into picky consumers. You may have the hottest product in town, but if your brand fails to inspire or impress, you may as well be selling old socks.

The same applies to your website, blog and all other marketing content. Source industry experts by all means, but make sure you produce your own unique, sharable content that people will want to link to. Bring your personality to your brand and have a clear idea of what you stand for. Susan enthuses, "my brand stands for beauty from within."

4. Grow Your Network
Just about all the material any entrepreneur will read these days talks about finding and growing a network. Strength in numbers and hanging out with like minded people who will help push your projects forward. Having a supportive network is vital in finding inspiration, sharing ideas, and bolstering you when you feel like giving up.
Be sure to grow your customer list as well and reward them for their loyalty. Once you start getting people sharing your content and visiting your site, make sure you capture their details. Tailor offers especially for them and grow the advocates for your brand.

5. Have a Great Product
While this might sound like a no-brainer, a lot of entrepreneurs will get behind something because they think it will be popular. Or try to launch a groundbreaking product with no competition. But here's the deal with no competition. That probably means that there's no market for it either.

The key is in selling a product that solves a real need, and has a true identity behind it that people can resonate with. Susan stands out in the saturated beauty market by being the first brand to offer holistic healing through beauty treatments.

"My method is to work holistically on a client, helping clients to understand the cause of their skin issue, and then teaching them how to organically fix it."

Starting your own business can be overwhelming and if you over-analyze every detail, you'll probably never get it off the ground. The biggest key to starting your business is (unsurprisingly) starting your business. So, just do it. You can face the challenges along the way and make improvements as you go. Keep these pointers in mind and think wisely before you spend your next $300.

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