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alibaba.com case study: makeup by maryann brushes
For professional makeup artist, MaryAnn Richardson, applying makeup is such a regular occurrence she could do it in her sleep. Having graduated from the prestigious Jemma Kidd School of Makeup in London, and later with honours from the globally recognised Blanche Macdonald Centre in Canada, MaryAnn now has more than five years industry experience. Her impressive client list spans advertising, editorial and TV and includes; Elle, Channel 5 News and The Perfect Wedding.
In 2012 MaryAnn took steps to set up her own company, specialising in top quality makeup brushes. A chance encounter at a seminar set MaryAnn on a course to Alibaba.com, and the creation of the ‘Makeup by MaryAnn’ business which sells her uniquely designed 12 piece makeup brush set to budding artists and beauty enthusiasts.
MaryAnn explains; “Once I’d decided to develop my business, I signed up to attend a ‘Startup Britain’ seminar. I outlined my plan to find a reputable supplier of makeup brushes to one of the founders, Emma Jones, who immediately put me in touch with Alibaba.com. I haven’t looked back since.”
Alibaba.com connected with MaryAnn in November 2012 and took her through the process of joining its online platform, including the crucial ‘safe payment’ and ‘suppliers’ aspects that were most relevant to her needs. MaryAnn comments: “Finding a quality, affordable supplier I could trust was the most important part of my business development. Prior to joining Aliababa.com, my supplier experience was quite poor, but they absolutely changed that for me.”
MaryAnn was able to utilise the Alibaba.com customised sourcing service, which offers a highly efficient and uniquely tailored sourcing tool for buyers. She adds; “Alibaba.com industry specialists listened to and understood my business needs, and were able to match those requirements with the best supplier, based in China, for me to work with on my makeup brush designs.”
Once a supplier was in place, things began to progress very quickly. From the moment MaryAnn was happy with the final prototype - which included contoured handles and natural hair brushes mixed with synthetic fibres – it took just a week for the product to be manufactured and ready for sale.
“As a professional makeup artist, I won’t represent anything less than the best products,” explains MaryAnn. “I am absolutely thrilled with the high quality makeup brushes from my supplier, and very proud to be putting my name against them. My customers agree as I’ve had some great feedback and a 100% satisfaction rate.”
Now, MaryAnn sells her brushes through the makeup collaborative website to customers around the world including the UK and USA. Business is going so well that MaryAnn is expanding her line to include artist tools and trade bags, and she credits her success to the guidance and expertise of Alibaba.com.
“Without Alibaba.com it would have been a lot more time consuming, expensive and challenging to develop my makeup brush line. The supplier I found through Alibaba.com works very closely with me to customise to my requirements within my budget and timescales, which is vital for a start-up or small business.”
On the verge of signing a contract with a global retailer, MaryAnn is very proud as she reflects on the business journey she has taken. “It was one thing to be able to apply makeup in my sleep, but when a successful business entrepreneur told me the key to success was making money while you sleep, I didn’t think it was possible. It turns out there is a lot I can do when I close my eyes and dream.”