Melanie Cruickshank found joy and strength in makeup at an early age. And for over 10 years now she’s been working to deliver a similar experience to women seeking simpler, safer beauty products. She’s scaled the brand up and down to find the right product mix; and with recent partnerships and sponsorships, Cruickshank is strategically building a bigger and better consumer base for the future.
Here Melanie Cruickshank shares a profile of herself and the da lish cosmetics business.
Name: Melanie Cruickshank, CEO aka Queen Bee
Indie Beauty Company: da lish cosmetics
Launched: July 2006
Headquarters: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Cash flow: I own 100% of da lish cosmetics. The company is funded through sales we generate. We do not have any investors. And it has been great. It’s allowed me to figure things out, and really build the brand and keep the equity I’ve built with me.
Indie how? To be an indie brand I feel the founder partners are still involved in the daily activity and are self-funded.
Team work: 2 part-time employees and myself
Distribution: da lish cosmetics is sold globally via our ecommerce site; and we sell through various independent locations in the US and Canada.
Years in beauty: I would say all my life… I was born wearing lipstick and obsessed my whole life. My mother did her best to get me what I needed and wanted. She wasn’t a makeup person herself. I suffered from horrible acne so makeup have been my amour and savior.
Years at da lish cosmetics: 13
Entrepreneurial experience: da lish is my first business that I’ve created from nothing and launched. It’s been a huge learning lesson to say the least. I feel like I’ve done everything backwards. I’ve had the most incredible highs and lows in this business. Every day is a new day and you never know what opportunities will come your way.
The business: We went from having 400 SKUs to our best-selling 30! We do basics and do them very well. We have 1 soft black mascara, only do matte long lasting lipsticks, 1 highlighter etc. Our line is universal and focused on blue undertones so that they work on all skin tones and [consumers are] not overwhelmed by having way too many to choose from. The highest quality at a reasonable price and long lasting. We source locally and pride ourselves on supporting other local suppliers.
The wow-factor: da lish cosmetics stand apart on price as well as for being long lasting and locally sourced. da lish is simply pretty makeup with nothing to hide. da lish is uncomplicated beauty essentials designed for every woman’s daily routine.
The consumer: Our primary niche consumer is the women who’s already purchasing and interested in clean/green beauty and has been with us from the start, or is looking to try new products and is knowledgeable with ingredients. She cares about supporting local and independent brands and connects with our story.
Our secondary niche consumer is the women who is suffering from a new or long existing allergy or skin condition, and is looking to get into the clean market or has been / is going through cancer. We get emails and dm’s regularly from women and we do our very best to talk with them and give the education / support for whatever will give some ease to their daily routines.
Milestone moment: Collaborating with Barbie (first clean independent brand to do so) , becoming the first Indie clean brand to be the official sponsor of Toronto Fashion Week to name a few. I feel like we’re just getting started with more exciting collaborations to come.
Advice for fellow beauty entrepreneurs: Don’t expect this to happen fast or overnight. There’s a reason why good things take time. You get to learn along the way and make the mistakes that you’ll need to learn from. It’s a journey not a race. Enjoy it!
Just one: Asked about her go-to product, Cruickshank says: it’s lipstick! I don’t go anywhere without it. All you need to look chic when out is a great lipstick (NADINE, LO4, ROSEMARY) sunglasses, and a great coat.
Deanna Utroske, CosmeticsDesign.com Editor, covers beauty business news in the Americas region and publishes the weekly Indie Beauty Profile column, showcasing the inspiring work of entrepreneurs and innovative brands.