Girl launched ‘secret side hustle’ from bedroom at 14 – set to make her first million | Personal Finance | Finance
Millie Goodwin, 21, was in the bottom sets at school and written off by her teachers. Now she is on the way to making her first million.
Millie, from Boston, Lincolnshire, is the owner and founder of With Love Cosmetics, a PETA-certified cruelty-free and vegan-friendly cosmetics brand.
It’s an incredible success story for a girl who was “made to feel ashamed of wearing makeup” as a teenager.
“Every morning, I’d wake up extra early for school just so I could apply my mascara for 45 minutes,” Millie says.
“But as soon I got there, I was handed a baby wipe and told to take it off. We weren’t allowed to wear even the smallest amount of makeup to school.”
She left school at 16 but had already taken her first steps in business, by making eyeshadows in her bedroom.
Millie now has more than 317,000 followers on Instagram and another 57,200 on Tik Tok. Some of the world’s biggest beauty influencers are fans.
Her pigment popping products are particularly popular in the US with professional makeup artists and content creators.
Millie grew up surrounded by rescue animals at her family home, everything “from donkeys to cows to one-eyed cats” and spent holidays volunteering at animal shelters.
She struggled with the idea that big beauty brands were testing on animals and decided to create her own pigment-popping, cruelty-free ranges.
Now she ships worldwide and has retail partners across the world including BPerfect Megastore in Ireland, LA MakeUp, which operates in 19 EU countries, and DBS in Australia.
She already makes £200,000 a year shipping her cruelty-free cosmetics across the world, and that will hit £250,000 this year. Her first million is in sight.
“It was never supposed to be a business,” Millie says. “I just loved make-up and started creating my own in my bedroom by watching YouTube tutorials and mixing pigments from different brands I’d brought on Depop.”
With Love Cosmetics has already sold more than 70,000 hand-pressed glitters, which Millie and her family still make by hand in Lincolnshire.
She even employs her older sister, Holly, 26, in the business.
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One of the reasons Millie began making her own makeup was because her mum, Tina, refused buy the expensive brands.
“Cheaper products didn’t sit very well on my skin, so I decided to make my own.
When she posted her first photo on Instagram of her own makeup, she had no plans to sell it. “I just wanted to share what I’d created,” she says.
“I didn’t put it on my personal Instagram page because none of my friends knew what I was doing – I was really embarrassed to tell people.
But she had gained hundreds of followers in a matter of months and people started asking where they could buy her creations.
Millie started an Etsy page, and at 15 she’d began selling her products and had researched extensively about what testing and procedures she needed to follow to ensure that everything adhered to EU regulations.
She was also sourcing her own cruelty-free and vegan friendly ingredients to make her vibrant eyeshadows and glitters by hand.
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Millie’s dad who lent her £1,000 towards the costs of getting her packaging professionally manufactured.
“Dad knew I was serious about making a go of the business so he gave me a little bit of money to put into it.
“My family are my biggest supporters and even now our bestselling glitters are still hand pressed by me, my mum, and my sister.
“We do outsource the manufacturing of other products, but they still follow the same bespoke formulas that I created from scratch in my bedroom.”
But it hasn’t been a completely smooth ride. “Learning about profit margins was the hardest, especially when there was a couple of retailers who were interested.
“Knowing about the different regulations for the different continents was a major obstacle too – especially as my largest customer base is in the US.”
Her key piece of advice to anyone starting their own business is don’t listen too much to others. “If you have a burning desire, then trust yourself to make your dreams a reality, because no one can do it for you.”