Gabriela Hernandez created Besame cosmetics in 2004 after a five-year research period, inputting over $1 million of her own funds in order to fund the venture.
Since its launch, the company has targeted the niche brand cosmetics market with competitors among the likes of Mac, Bobbi Brown and Philosophy.
Besame Cosmetics specialize in color-based make-up, focusing on a glamour aspect with Gabriela Hernandez deciding to create a line that translated the style and craftsmanship of the 1920's, '30s and '40s. Sales in the first year reached $40,000, a figure that is expected to increase to around $1.5 million in 2007.
NPD Group, a New York-based consultancy, stated that niche brands previously represented only 3 per cent of the market, a figure that has now increased to almost 30 per cent.
Gabriela Hernandez explains, "I put a lot into it, how things are manufactured, I am not going head-to-head with Estee Lauder".
Having previously worked on marketing and advertising projects for companies such as McDonalds and Kodak at the Alma Group, Hernandez has a head for business that is being reflected in Besame's sales growth.
The company decided to initially target the online sales market, beginning its sales drive with a retail website.
It chose to take this path due to the company's desire to base its sales approach on the branding of the range, with the online sales market allowing for a wider vision for eye-catching product branding.
Karen Grant from the NPD Group said, "the devil is in the details, Besame is a good-looking product. The fact that the packaging stands out and can become little collectibles is an interesting avenue".
Hernandez explained that 'the web gave us visibility', therefore allowing them to showcase the brand and advertise the product to a larger target audience. Thus helping them to initiate the marketing and packaging of the products as one of the core selling points of the brand.
The company does this by offering product samples, selling at $1.50 a piece and each boasting a $5.00 coupon for further purchases, therefore allowing them to discover where potential audiences are. Fergus Hernandez, public relations officer for the Besame brand, told CosmeticsDesign, "the Internet was the fastest distribution tool to the masses. The internet has been the foundation of our success. Within weeks of launching the website we were reaching thousands of people, in US and more countries than we could have imagined."
Besame products have, in the past year, initially targeted elite boutiques in the US market. with California, Colorado and Louisiana being the first states to take on the brand.
Further to that, the company has recently expanded to several major chains such as Bloomingdale's, Nordstorm, and Sephora; with cosmetic trend-setting Manhattan store, Henri Bendel's, also starting to stock Besame products.
However, Fergus Hernandez stated that it is not keen to develop further into the lower end market segment, such as CVS, suggesting that, the quality of our pigments and custom made components make it difficult to compete in a price driven market".
He stated that the specific products driving the recent increase were originally the lipstick and lipstick sets, however, in recent months the Masterliner Pencil range has taking moved in as the leading product.
But the company says it is keen to start the cross-over into the international cosmetic market, with top Paris department store, Printemps Haussman, stocking the brand as of September 2006.
Fergus Hernandez said, 'After signing with a European distributor it became apparent that the European market was embracing our products even faster than the US market". The European market is currently enjoying healthy sales growth in general, with overall like-for-like sales for cosmetic and toiletries in western European increasing by 3.7 per cent to reach €3.67bn for 2005.
However, the biggest increase in like-for-like sales was in Eastern Europe, where the figure rose 21.9 per cent to reach €411m last year.