Building a business on beauty
"The reason I started was to build a better life for me and my daughter. Being a single mum it was really hard for me. I knew I could do more for us both."
To build one successful business before you turn 30 is an achievement. Kelly Wright is just 26-years-old and she’s already on her second.
Kelly’s journey started eight years ago in 2009, just a year after her first daughter was born. A huge fan of beauty and hair products, specifically extensions, Kelly had the inspiration to start selling products on Facebook after seeing other entrepreneurs using the platform.
After leaving college, Kelly was determined to build a business and career that would enable her to support her growing family. “I have always had in interest in fashion and a love for hair extensions,” she says. “At the time, I’d seen a lot of people selling on Facebook and I really wanted to start doing the same so I could build a good future for me and my daughter.”
The result was Kelly’s first business, Krystelliefashion.com, a hair and beauty site that Kelly described as a ‘one-stop shop’ where people could get clothes, shoes and beauty products for a special occasion.
One of the many amazing elements of Kelly’s story is that’s she’s entirely self-taught. She did much of the work until the business grew and she was able to hire employees. “The hardest thing was not knowing anything about business and selling,” remembers Kelly, “also having no money to start. I overcame this by spending all my time searching how to build a website and how to create products, I watched tutorial after tutorial. I overcame not having any money to start with by listing products I knew people would love, that I also knew I could buy again. I kept doing this for some time, reinvesting the profit until I was able to start buying stock in. Eventually I’d built a website all by myself and used Facebook for customer service.”
Krystellie became an official company in 2013, and in that first year, Kelly was still running operations largely by herself. And yet despite an almost non-existent team, Krystellie turned over around £50,000 in sales in its first year. In the second year that figure rose to £300,000, and third year predictions were around £3million.
One of the turning points for the business was Kelly’s simple use of video. Shot vertically on a smartphone, her simple, no frills tutorials showing customers how easy it is to put on Krystellie’s range of products were hugely popular, with some videos being viewed over 5m times, directly affecting sales in the process.
This almost literal overnight success and rocket ship growth put Kelly to work, but she took it in her stride. “Our video went viral and we went from 100 orders a day to 1000 with only two employees. At the time, we only held about 20% stock, too. We overcome the issue by hiring staff fast and working with our supplier to bring in large amounts of stock, which increased our cost in the short term, but then allowed us to scale properly. Eventually, we had a smooth process to handle the large amount of orders.
All the late nights and endless hard work paid off, and in 2015, Kelly sold Krystellie. After a short and well deserved break, she returned to the business world with a new start-up, beautybabe.co.uk. Featuring advice, gossip and the latest on-trend yet affordable products, it’s a natural progression for Kelly and has quickly found a dedicated and growing community.
Kelly’s ambition is boundless, but what’s incredible are her reasons for striking out on her own and continuing with this journey. “I just wanted to be able to provide for me and my daughter,” she says. “But now I have the confidence in my ability to build a successful business, I want to build a big-name beauty brand that I can pass on to my children.”
Learn more about Kelly and beautybabe: