‘You can create something from nothing’

High flyer: Dyson was recently named one of the UK’s top 20 teen entrepreneurs by TransferWise.

What does it take to be an entrepreneur? Rose Dyson founded Pura Cosmetics when she was just 15. Three years later her A-levels are done and business is booming. She tells The Day her story.

Just £25. That was all the money Rose Dyson used to start up her cosmetics company Pura. “It was money well spent,” she muses three years on.

Indeed, the company’s growth since those humble days is astonishing: “we’re taking it to the next stage now, growing how many stockists we have, and potentially going into some big retailers,” she explains. “I’m getting a proper team, a special production area and a warehouse too — it’s just crazy, I still have to pinch myself.”

Pura specialises in lip balms and scrubs made with natural ingredients that Dyson used to concoct in her parent’s kitchen. “My idea was to create a beauty product that was ethical and taught the importance of beauty and ethics to girls at a young age,” she explains, “but I wanted the price to be accessible so young people could afford it.”

“I’ve just hired seven Saturday girls too,“ Dyson continues, “I’m trying to give young girls their first experience of work. They love it because it’s all beauty and stuff. I’ve got them as a sales team at the weekend, and I’m mainly sales and marketing now — that’s what I love doing.”

Unlike many of her friends, Dyson has chosen not to go to university so she can focus her business: “university is great as well, everyone is different, but for me personally I just couldn’t imagine going to uni now that I love what I’m doing so much.”

What is more, her youth has proved to be a help rather than a hindrance. “People are so supportive and they love the story,“ she says. “Being a teenager, it’s the best time to start a business because you have no commitments: no mortgage, no kids, no house. There’s nothing to lose, and it’s not such a risk.”

Although, fitting work in with her studies was challenging at times: “I had to get up at 5am every morning to get on the train, go to college all day, get back at 5pm then work until midnight, sometimes even through the night — especially at Christmas last year.”

What does it take to be an entrepreneur?

Gloss

“Start with as little as possible,” Dyson says. “If you are entrepreneurial you can start with very little and create something big. You won’t feel as much risk if you keep start-up costs as small as possible. I would also say: don’t expect opportunities to fall at your feet, get out there and seek them out — there’s no point sitting in bed and watching Netflix and hoping a phone call will come along. It’s not like that.”

“Finally, create a business, product or service that you are totally in love with,” she says. “The key to selling a product is translating your passion to the customer; if you have no passion, it won’t work. Tell people your story, tell people how old you are and how you started, and they will love it.”

You Decide

  1. Can entrepreneurship be taught?
  2. Should everyone try to start a business once in their lives?

Activities

  1. What advantages do you think young people have in business compared to adults? Write down your ideas and share them with the class.
  2. Imagine you have been asked to design a new cosmetics product — it does not have to be make-up and can be for men or women. Work out what the product will do, as well as its name, target market and retail price. Finish off by designing a logo. Once you have completed these tasks pitch your product to the class using exciting and engaging language.

Some People Say...

“Good habits formed at youth make all the difference.”

Aristotle

What do you think?

Q & A

What do we know?
Worldwide, the cosmetics industry is predicted to be worth over £525 billion by 2020. In Britain, over a million people are employed in the industry which is worth around £17 billion. The biggest portion of the cosmetics market is women aged 18 to 34. However, the over 50s market is predicted to grow by 38% between 2015 and 2035.
What do we not know?
Exactly how the beauty industry will change over the coming years. For example, one recent change is the development of make-up brands for men. In August, Chanel launched a new male make-up brand called “Boy de Chanel”.

Word Watch

Start up
Dyson began her company as part of a school enterprise competition.
Cosmetics
Make-up and beauty products.
Sales team
Dyson initially grew her company by visiting markets and fairs in her local area where she sold her products and developed her brand. Once it got big enough, and she had enough money to invest, she was able to launch a website to sell nationwide.
Hindrance
A thing that provides resistance, delay or obstruction to something or someone.
Supportive
On the other hand, Dyson remembers one occasion when she approached an independent shop with her products only to be told: “how the hell can you have a professional product at 16?” She sent them free samples anyway and made a big sale (she got an apology too).
Mortgage
Money borrowed from a bank in order to buy a house.