It’s almost the weekend and you have big plans. You want to look your best because hey, what girl doesn’t. But your old liquid lipstick just isn’t doing the trick anymore. One sip of your drink and all of your color comes off on the glass. Have no fear, we have the solution for you.
Introducing LipSense, a revolutionary new lipstick (okay, well maybe not so new, just new to me) with long-lasting staying power! Founded in 1995, CEO Joni Rogers-Kant decided to start her business with a different approach, selling via distributers rather than in retail stores. She knew that trust and word-of-mouth marketing were powerful tools, and wanted to empower women to have an opportunity to make money from home for various reasons, whether these women were stay at home moms or college students looking to stay afloat. Originally popular in the southern states, LipSense is part of a greater corporation called SeneGence, that sells a variety of beauty products, and these products have just recently begun to blow up, making their way into the northern states. I had the opportunity to sit down with my friend and one of the local distributers in the area, Olivia Ivison, to ask her a few questions about the company, how she got involved, and some of her tips and tricks for navigating running her own business while also working full-time.
J: How long have you been working for LipSense? How/why did you get started?
O: I first heard about the company while volunteering with Jessica Burt for rePURPOSE, a nonprofit she had built out of her home to combat the large scale human trafficking/sex slavery passion in the world. The company uses repurposed fabrics to make headbands and other garments sweatshop-free, and hires refugee women to make all of these products. I was volunteering with her at a trade show at SkyArmory, when I saw girls at the next booth over selling LipSense. The table was super busy all day, but this was the first time I had heard of it. At the time, I was using really cheap lipsticks that weren’t lasting through drinks or eating, and I couldn’t even kiss my boyfriend. Because of this, I wasn’t wearing them. It didn’t make me feel pretty to constantly be worrying about my lipstick smearing or coming off all together. Over the next month or two, I began considering LipSense more and more- as a lipstick purchase I needed to make, but also as a potential business opportunity. I knew liquid lipstick was a growing trend, and the more I started to consider LipSense as a business, the more excited I got; I realized that it could fulfill my need for creativity, my desire to own a small business, and allow me to fully exercise my passion for marketing and branding. I wanted to do something I was passionate about, and I think this is the new millennial mindset. I went to school for marketing because I knew I wanted to run my own business one day, and this came full circle for me when I realized I could do this by selling LipSense.
J: How exactly does LipSense/SeneGence work?
O: Learning the back side of the business was really overwhelming at first. Essentially, there are two ways to make money- sales and commission. Sales come from buying a product at wholesale and selling at retail price. Commission comes from getting distributers to sign up under my name, and every order they place, I get a percentage of. The bigger in bulk, or higher quantity, I buy, the higher the discount I earn. So the least profit I can make is 20%, and the most is 50%, based on how much product I buy at a time. LipSense collections are sold as a package of color, gloss and remover, or you can buy these separately. Usually customers will buy the collection to start, and then add with more colors and glosses.
J: What is some advice you have for others, especially our age, looking to start their own business or work for themselves?
O: My advice is to jump. Save your money. Don’t doubt your potential to do amazing. And take the leap. It takes an investment- not only of money, but of time. Also, do your research. Understand your customers/clients. Know what makes them tick, know what generates their interest. Is it discounts? Is it beautiful packaging? Is it freebies? Is it visually-appealing, artistic photos? Whatever it is, do that. We are the best generation to start our own business- we’re tech savvy, we understand the importance, complexity and impact of social media, we’re flexible and fluid and never stuck in our ways.
J: What are some of the positives and negatives of working for yourself?
O: It’s hard to come home from a full day of work and jump right into posting on social media and running orders. But I would say the biggest negative is the initial investment. I haven’t shopped for myself recently because any extra money I have goes into this. There’s also a large out of stock problem right now, and it might be months until this problem goes away while SeneGence works to implement new processes and machines. But the biggest positive is confidence. I’ve always struggled with confidence. I never thought I could do it, I wouldn’t know what to say, especially in direct sales. Now seeing it take off, I realize I can be that social. Being able to go out delivering products and do live videos has been a confidence boost. I’ve bonded with a community of like-minded women, I talk with new people, and I deliver product to people’s homes. Now seeing my business take off, I feel that I’ve bloomed and blossomed into a new, outgoing person. The whole experience is just a labor of love.
J: How do you typically bring in new clients?
O: Right now everything is word of mouth through people I know. Most of my sales come from Facebook. I don’t get as many sales from Instagram, but that’s how we get people our age aware of a product. The next step is to reach an audience I don’t yet know. I will be at two trade shows this upcoming May, and a party at The Central Saloon in Sandy Creek in June. I also am looking into getting my product into farmer’s markets this summer.
J: What is your favorite product?
O: Senegence manufactures a wide variety of skin care and lip care products. LipSense is the most popular, because of it’s impressive staying power of 18+ hours, and the beautiful color options- seriously, no color is a “bad” color. While my business is 100% LipSense at the moment, I do plan to expand and offer more skin care products. I am currently waiting to receive my SeneDerm Facial Resurfacer, which is an exfoliator to buff away rough, dry skin to make your face softer, and LashSense with undersense, which is a black, waterproof mascara with an eyelash lengthening serum in it. Next, I’m going to try MakeSense foundation- it, too, has incredible staying power.
J: What do you foresee being the next steps for you within LipSense?
O: I have 5 distributors signed up underneath me, and we have built an amazing connection as a team – we talk every day, give each other tips, trade product, and encourage one another. I recently hit the rank “Royal In Waiting,” and my next rank goal is Royal. I’m super proud of myself for that, because I didn’t know if it would be possible for me! This means I have 5 downlines. The more downlines I have, the more I make through commission, which is based on our group sales. Furthermore, I have two trade shows in the Watertown area in May, so I will be able to tap into a different market and region. It’s all about making yourself available to new and current customers – both digitally and face-to-face.
To see more LipSense product visit: www.lipsense.com, visit Olivia’s Facebook page, or contact Olivia directly at one of the ways listed above! Order from Olivia to receive a personalized tip sheet, application instructions, ADORABLE packaging, and a FREE lip scrub with every purchase (on top of your incredible LipSense product!) When placing your order, don’t forget to use Olivia’s ID #277566.