Getting started – episode 1

Episode 1 – What is the first thing you should do to start a cosmetic line? Start your business. Cosmetic formulator Perry Romanowski documents exactly how it’s done.

The story

This is a podcast series that documents the launching of a cosmetic product line. In this show we’ll give you an insider’s look at how to create, launch and sell a cosmetic product. Along the way you’ll hear stories about the most important aspects of cosmetic product creation including setting up a business, generating ideas, finding customers, designing the product, getting if made, marketing and more. By the end of this series you’ll know exactly how we went about creating & selling real cosmetic products.

I’m Perry Romanowski and I’ve been a cosmetic chemist for over 20 years. Being a cosmetic chemist is a great job. You get to invent things, create formulas and make products that people use every day. You even get to make products for yourself to use. It’s fun.

I’ve spent most of my career creating and testing products for other people and that has been rewarding. But one thing that might surprise you is that the cosmetic industry is mostly run by marketing and sales people. It’s rare that the people who actually make the formulas have any role in marketing and selling them. In fact, formula makers rarely have much say even in the type of products we create. Typically, we are given projects and ideas to work on and then expected to deliver products to match those concepts. Most product ideas that come from formulators are ignored.

And if you’re a formulator with ideas like me, it’s incredibly frustrating.

In this episode we cover the basics of starting a business including the legal structure we created and why we chose it.  We also go through the different business models used in the cosmetic industry exploring the positives and negatives of each.


  • For the business structure we set up an S Corporation.  You can see all the business structures available in the US at the SBA website.
  • Bootstrappers bible mentioned in the episode.
  • The accountant who helped me set up the business. Hensley & Associates


Get your free report on starting a cosmetic line.

34 thoughts on “Getting started – episode 1

  1. Hi there

    Just listened to your first podcast, I found this most informative and will be subscribing, I have my products ready to sell, it’s taken nearly a year to get to this stage I have been on a roller coaster journey, ups and downs, highs and the lows but I’m happy to say my websites nearly finished so will be launching it in the new year! I can’t wait to hear the next episode

  2. I’ve been a formulator in OTC and personal care for over ten years, and I agree with you that nearly all of my formulation direction comes from the Marketing Dept., and it can be frustrating to pitch novel ideas to the team only to have them rejected, or ignored. You’ve really ‘pulled back the curtain’ shrouding the whole process of launching a cosmetic line and I applaud you for that. I look forward to following along with your latest podcast as Element 44 launches your new product.

    1. Thanks. There is definitely a difference between formulating a product and actually doing the marketing. Although I always figured it should be easier for a scientist to learn to market than a marketer to learn the science. We’ll see if that’s true.

  3. Thanks Perry for creating this new series, first podcast was really interesting and you have a great presenting style. Looking forward to the next episode and hearing how your project is developing.

  4. Really excited for new episodes! Thanks again for the excellent and informative content! I took your natural formulating course (highly recommend!) and have been working on a lipcare line.

  5. I’m loving this! I am an entrepreneur and would LOVE to hear ideas some of you formulators have! Maybe something could be formulated for market and work on a project together! I’m a social media and marketing expert and have started some businesses over the last 15 years and looking to expand into a beauty/makeup company and want to start a direct sales company, but the products must be unique like nothing else out there!

    Connect with me to chat more and maybe there is some way to work together.


    1. Thanks Kristina. It’s tough to create unique products in the beauty business. Mostly, there are unique marketing angles. Fortunately, brands like Urban Decay prove that you don’t have to have a unique product to build a stellar beauty brand.

  6. Hi
    Thanks for very useful podcast hope to listen to your more podcasts. This vast a great innovation hope you more success.
    Best regards
    Dr. M. Arif Abid

  7. Hi Perry,

    I’ve been an avid visitor to your website in the past few days and really, I find your website, the resources & the information extremely as well as the most helpful for someone like me who wishes to start up my own cosmetic line but have neither the science background + intellect nor the business background to help me out.

    Would love to subscribe and continue learning from you. Super excited for the next episode and will be looking into exploring your other courses 🙂

  8. Thanks so much for this. Very informative. I was wondering about the part regarding suing you for all of your assets. What if you put a liability disclaimer on your website that if you are allergic to any of the ingredients do not use this product…. or should an allergic reaction occur there will not be any monetary awards provided and it will be limited to a refund for the price of the product.. I don’t know… suing people and destroying another’s life by pointing fingers has become a witchhunt in the West. Someone cries liability and you can be out on the street and lose everything. .. even if it’s not deserved and there is nothing wrong with the product… people just look for someone to blame.

    1. In the US, putting disclaimers doesn’t help much as far as I know. If someone wants to sue you they can. I’m not a lawyer so my opinion shouldn’t be taken as legal advice.

      We live in a litigious society. As a business owner I think it makes sense to protect yourself as much as possible. Operating as a corporation instead of a sole proprietorship is a great way to do that.

  9. Thank you for posting this information. It’s a great help for us who are trying to launch our own line and don’t know how or where to start. I’m living here in L.A. I’m in need of an incredible chemist. I’m starting my own cosmetic haircare line, but with only 1 product first. I’ve tried about 3 other chemists and wasted a lot of time and money with them. I have a sample of the product that I would like to get made, but they can’t seem to duplicate it or even come close to it. Can you yourself help , or do you know of another chemist that I can trust and actually make my product? Thank you for getting back to me. You can reach me here at Happy Holiday’s!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Hi! I’m not a chemist. I’ve been making my own hair products for the past 5 year, using books and research online. I am launching my own handmade product line this year. What do you think about non-chemist starting cosmetic lines?

    1. This is definitely something you could do. The most important part about starting a line is to do the proper marketing.

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