Rea Ann Silva has come a long way since her days doing makeup for the cast of the TV show “Girlfriends.”
Silva shared how she founded Beautyblender 15 years go. The idea came to her on the set of “Girlfriends.” She didn’t know how to bring an airbrusher to set, so she decided to use a makeup sponge instead.
Beautyblender now sells 17 of its makeup sponges every minute and is one of the most popular beauty brands on social media solely through organic posts.
“I never spent one cent on advertising or social media,” Silva said.
The company is a 100 percent self-funded business. Silva has no investment partners and, for more than six years, didn’t take a paycheck in order to maintain Beautyblender’s status as completely self-funded.
Her business is a family business: her daughter, Erica, is the face of the brand and is responsible for about 80 percent of its social media content. Silva’s husband heads up their joint production company, A Good Egg, which produces content for Beautyblender’s social accounts, as well as for others’. Silva’s brother, Robert, is also Beautyblender’s facilities manager.
A makeup artist at heart, Silva refers to her customers and fans as “the everybody artist.” They help guide the product development.
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“We pride ourselves on producing products you never knew you needed,” she said.
Last year, Beautyblender introduced its first makeup product, Bounce Foundation. Bounce took 70,000 miles of travel and 100 different formulations to make, according to Silva. It launched with 32 shades and now comes in 40. Its packaging was made to be used with the Beautyblender makeup sponge.
Silva has since come out with four primers and is launching a new highlighter called Glass Glow Shinelighter, which has a wet look and is meant to set on the face without moving other makeup.
Beautyblender recently brought on a new president, Carsten Fisher, previously the chief operating officer of global business and corporate senior executive officer at Shiseido Co.
Silva’s advice for aspiring brand founders who are makeup artists is: “follow through and make sure you have good credit.”