Breaking Into Beauty: Clo Bell, Founder of Sample Beauty

Anyone who works in beauty will tell you that it’s a fun, inspiring place, full of creative ideas (and the occasional free sample!), but exactly how do you break into the beauty industry? In this series, we’ll be chatting with beauty industry insiders to find out what their jobs involve and the paths they took to get where they are now.

From makeup artists and beauty editors to social media assistants, brand founders, and web developers – these stories are proof that you can enter the beauty industry via any career path.

Meet Clo, founder of Sample Beauty.

What did you want to be when you were younger? 

I always wanted to do something maths based. I never knew what but I LOVED maths!

 

What attracted you to the beauty industry? 

I started becoming obsessed with eyeshadow in 2016 when it started becoming more popular with everyone! I started hoarding palettes and buying as many as I could! Since then, makeup has become an obsession!

 

What did you study and how did this guide your current role/how do you use the skills from your degree in your job?

I studied Maths and Statistics at the University of Liverpool. My degree definitely provided me with life experience and gave me maturity but it also provided me with a really high level of maths knowledge and allowed me to develop strong analytical skills. The maths knowledge allows me to understand the numbers in the business really well and the analytical skills have definitely come in handy. I have to analyse a range of data everyday – from website data to sales data to data on trends and so much more. My job definitely compromises of 50% makeup and 50% data.

 

What path did your career take after graduation?

After graduation, I did my teacher training and became a secondary chool maths teacher. I worked at a school in the north west for a couple of years before leaving to do Sample Beauty full time.

What skills and experience do you need to succeed as a brand founder?

You definitely need a hard work ethic, patience, and good time management. My parents always taught me that true success and true value takes hard work and if you’re not ready to put the work in, you’re not ready to have that success. I started my first job when I was 12 and I have always worked since then. Working from such a young age has definitely provided me with that hard work ethic and that meant that I could work long hours and work multiple jobs to grow Sample Beauty at the beginning to get it where it is today. 

Patience is very important. People want things now but building value takes time. Be patient and work hard and it will come.

Time management is also very important. When you run a business, it’s very difficult to not switch off and continue to work all day every day but time off is important. So, I work on a tight schedule in 30 minute time frames to ensure I am completing tasks in short sprints. This keeps me on-task and I get a lot done in a day because of it. If it takes longer than 30 minutes, I break the task up into shorter segments. This will keep you on-task, will keep you alert and will give you a greater sense of achievement once you’ve completed a segment, even if you haven’t managed to complete the entire task!

 

What does your day-to-day entail? 

I start the day by checking my schedule that I created the evening before to see if any new meetings have been scheduled for the day. Once I’ve confirmed my schedule for the day, I grab a coffee and head onto my emails and answer all from the bottom, up. I ensure that everything that can be answered, has been answered by the time my coffee has finished. Then I review all website data from the previous 24 hours and previous 7 days and write any acction notes from that. For example, we may have had a spike in traffic at 8pm so I look into this further to see how this has happened and where it has come from and ensure all of these notes are logged. After that, I start working through my schedule. This compromises of meetings which are to do with data, sales and marketing and also compromises of product development work. Once I reach the end of the working day with everyone at 6pm, I create my 30 minute sprint schedule for the next day.

What are some common misconceptions people have about your job? 

Definitely that I am sat playing with makeup all day or designing products all day. I personally design all products that Sample Beauty launch but it is only one part of my day-to-day role.

 

What is the best part of your job? 

The best feeling in the world is seeing the first sale come in on a product we launch. Launch days are the best days! It gives a really overwhelming sense of achievement and really gives me that “buzz” that drives me forward.

 

What has been the most surreal moment of your career so far? 

Without a doubt, it was the moment I was watching Mario Dedivanovic’s IGTV birthday video to Kim Kardashian and I saw that he had our Cult palette. When watching more of the video, I noticed it was used as a part of the product planning for their collaboration palette. THAT was huge for me. To know that a Sample Beauty product was loved so much it was in hands of people so well known and so well respected, it was so surreal.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to be a brand founder? 

Be patient. Take your time developing the brand and products. The brand is the identity. It’s the personality. It’s the base for everything. Once you have launched a product, re-invest every penny you make into the next product. Do not take money out of the business for as long as you can. Work multiple jobs for as long as you can. The day will come sooner than you think where you can run the business full time. As I’ve said above, quick cash is easy to get but building value takes time. Be patient. and it will come.

 

What deskside essentials are vital to you doing your job?

A deskpad/large notebook!  If something pops into my mind, I write it down immediately there and then. I use this deskpad as my brain splurge and then build a plan from there. Being a brand founder means my brain is full of a million things at once so it’s easy to forget things sometimes and that’s okay! So I make sure to write it down immediately so I don’t forget.

My other essential is my letter-C coffee mug. I bought this mug in June 2016 when I started Sample Beauty and I drink out of that same mug everyday. It’s my little reminder of Day 0 of the brand.

What’s your top piece of beauty advice? 

Use products however you want to use them! Don’t let anyone else tell you any different. See beauty products as a playground. Eyeshadow is not only for your eyes. Just go for it. From that, my top two makeup tips are: mix a dark pink/peach/brown eyeshadow with your concealer on the back of your hand and you’ve created a cream blush or cream bronzer! You can also mix eyeshadow with a clear gloss or balm and create your own opaque glosses. Eyeshadow is made from pigment and pigment is used in all cosmetics so use it to your advantage! 

What are your favourite beauty products? 

The Paradigm Shift Palette Volume II

This palette has such a wide range of colours that can be used for everything – blusher, contour etc. It also contains white and black for making shades darker and lighter and contains all colours of the rainbow so I have all bases covered.

I use this to mix with eyeshadow to create my custom blush colours. I also use it as an eyeshadow base, foundation and cream bronzer. It is full coverage!

I use this to set my face and it’s locks everything into place perfectly. I also mix it with our loose pigments to turn them into a matte lipstick or liquid eyeliner. Such a versatile product!