$50 Million of Revenue in 1 Year: Ann McFerran’s Journey to Becoming a Beauty Mogul with Glamnetic
There is a Glamnetic tagline that completely captures what founder and CEO Ann McFerran have constructed together with her brand:”Be Magnetic, Be Glamnetic.” It’s clever because Glamnetic is famed for its functional magnetic lashes that are similar to its rivals, false lashes which might stick together or clump. However, magnetism, too, is such a celestial portion of confidence. With time, the beauty industry has hinged back and forth through what beautiful is or means to a buyer. Products can enhance”natural” beauty, create dynamic and dramatic effects, and help create a entirely different persona. In the past couple of decades, as many current brands have recently positioned themselves this way, make-up and beauty products are not what makes someone”beautiful,” but through which you can express self-esteem and inner confidence.
McFerran felt this when she began experimenting with makeup. “The first time I put makeup on, I felt truly beautiful inside and outside for the very first time,” she says. “I became quite addicted to lashes. When I was really young, I literally did not go out without wearing them. I wore them every single day.”
Born in Bangkok, Thailand, McFerran immigrated to the U.S. as a young girl with her mother and sister, settling in Manteca, California. The modification to the sometimes cold and dismissive way people are toward new immigrants took a toll on the young McFerran. “I felt quite alienated because I looked so different from everybody else.”
In part as a result of motion, but also with all the natural cycles of growing up, McFerran believed a transformation happening. She had changed her name and began to shape the sort of identity she desired to have in a new location with new individuals. “My whole identity started shifting,” she says,”Makeup started helping me with this transformation and development inside myself.”
When she had arrived on the West Coast, she felt an instinctive connection to something bigger than herself. America, this land of opportunity,” she states, was a blessing, and a place where her as-yet-realized dreams could come true. “I still remember the day where we went across the Golden Gate Bridge and I thought, wow, my life was made. It was really the American dream for me to come here.”
In less than two years, due to McFerran’s unparalleled hustle and hard work, Glamnetic has turned into a $50 million dollar venture.
The beauty and personal care market is set to make over $511 million globally in 2021, according to Statista, with $82 million of that in the U.S. alone. This year, it is very probable that 22% of private and beauty care sales will be completely online. The false eyelash market will reach almost $1.6 billion dollars worldwide by 2025, according to a report by Grand View Research. McFerran’s success, to find a brand that began just before a global pandemic, is a prime example of the future of beauty and ecommerce. In this part of the current market, using an updated product fix for false lashes, McFerran could hit comparative gold.
The accomplishment of Glamnetic is a testament to McFerran’s hard work and vision, and a calling tethered to how someone feels in their own body and the environment where they are raised. Glamnetic is a particularly magnetic brand–these lush, swooping lashes–because of what the brand highlighted early on: that magnetism that comes from inside.
From med school to the art world
Before McFerran founded Glamnetic when she was 26 years old, she had graduated from the University of California Los Angeles with a bachelor of science in psychobiology. She had been about the pre-med route when she realized it had been no longer for her. “I wasn’t happy doing medicine since I had been a creative individual. I am a true creative: I’m left handed, my mother was a painter, so I always had this natural inclination towards painting.”
In what appears to be a somewhat smooth career transition, McFerran chased the life of a professional fine artist for four decades, selling her initial $10,000 painting directly from college. She moved to L.A. proper forever, seeing far more opportunity there to be prosperous in the art world than in the tiny town where she grew up.
Here, in this creative community, McFerran became interested in entrepreneurship. She mingled with other entrepreneurs she met at art events and soaked their understanding. While she loved seeing people get excited and emotional when they got her paintings, McFerran knew her business wasn’t scalable. The work, too, began to wear on her emotional health. Painting began to have its own limitations.
“I found it really hard emotionally moving from one job to another, then having to stay in all day and literally paint myself for eight hours straight,” she says. “It was back-breaking work. Sure, I was making great money, but I just knew it wasn’t scalable and that I was really lonely doing it.”
McFerran, putting visual art on the backburner, looked to take her creative instincts anywhere, landing on building a small business of her own, one that would be scalable and satisfying. She thought: lashes.
How to build a brand in a 300-sq feet studio
A beauty maker was McFerran’s true expert calling. It hit all the things she sought in her job: math, especially how in which the product is developed and improved; artistry and how the brand is represented; and, on a personal note, reaffirming confidence in the customers who hunted makeup for a way to feel empowered the same she did as a young lady.
McFerren researched different sorts of lashes, such as magnetic lashes, which had just begun to become popular. But she felt they were not exactly what she was looking for.
“They were quite tricky to wear,” she says,”They were the type of magnetic lash which sandwiched your lashes together with a top and a base magnet. They simply did not function the way you thought they wouldwere really thin and plasticky.” McFerran figured there was a better way to use this newer technology, actually making magnetic lashes functional, something she’d been –and properly –convinced that she could perform.
McFerran noticed a significant gap in the marketplace for whole glam magnetic lashes. She began to thoroughly investigate her merchandise options, tapping into her own experience as a lash-fanatic, along with looking to influencers and make-up artists on YouTube. A year-and-a-half later, after nearly 500 conversations with manufacturers and 300 product samples, the Glamnetic magnetic liner and lashes version began in August 2019. McFerran told Forbes she’d landed a formula for the magnetic lashes so that it required a few moments to wear and could be worn up to 40 times.
She admits the operation of the very first product was not perfect, but entrepreneurship is too often stymied by this pursuit of perfection. She wanted to get her product out there and make changes from reviews by her many important users: customers.
“We started [our product] and first day we had over $1,000 in earnings. I didn’t anticipate it ”
Throughout, McFerran was nevertheless working from her small studio in L.A., doing everything by herself. She spent $5,000 of her own money into the stock but had nothing left for photography or advertising. After teaching herself product photography, she invited versions she met on Bumble BFF–an app to meet new people in her place –to her small studio to take product shots free of cost.
“I have this video of me using ten paint cans and piling them up, putting a lash together with a couple of white pieces of paper, and then placing a ring light onto it so that I could shoot a close-up shot to your item detail page on the website,” she says.
Mcferran wasn’t only taking on the role of founder and inventor, but also a growth hacker and a marketer extraordinaire with proficiency in email advertising and social media administration. Wearing each and every hat possible was McFerran’s fact at the very first days of the brand’s start-up.
Her resourcefulness and nimbleness moving through worlds and roles would prove to be fortuitous. As a micro-influencer herself, McFerran was invited to a photo shoot for another brand. No matter the photoshoot being outstanding, she thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to expand her photography skills by seeing how more recognized brands photographed models and products. There, she met her now co-founder and business partner, Kevin Gould, the founder and CEO of Kombo Ventures, together with an operator and investor in direct-to-consumer brands. Gould manages the daily operations of the brand, and says the pair work very closely:”our minds meet at the middle on all things marketing.”
But, at the moment, Glamnetic was little and had no money to spend on influencers or ads. Instead, McFerran, putting into practice that influencer muscle she had, used herself as a part of the brand, recording videos describing how the product worked and why it was different from rivals in the marketplace. This proved to be an outstanding hook for her audiences.
“The films blew up and became highly popular on social media,” she says.
Still doing this on her own, the job, like her visual artwork profession, began to take a toll. She had to seek out employees, despite her own stubborn obstacle with delegation, preferring that scrappy start-up mentality, but it needed to be done. “I had to or I was going to die,” she explains. “I reached a breaking point. I was working 14 hours a day, daily, for a year. I had a moment of clarity where I understood I was going to need to hire someone.”
The first couple of people McFerran hired stop, not too comfortable with all the needs of a little beauty start-up company. Then, a friend of a friend was recommended for her. Straight out of school, Glamnetic’s first employee, Mia Slaughter, knew exactly what was needed to develop a startup, and didn’t even have a name, only a belief in the business. “She just kept showing up each and every day and she’s still here with us to this day, so I am very thankful for her because she got me from the belief it was impossible to employ people and trust them.”
Scaling from $1 million to $50 million in 1 year
Glamnetic sold out over 50 times in its first year. The stock sold the second it came in. This is unsurprising, as Glamnetic took what was a cumbersome process of applying fake lashes and made it easy. No more glues, no more ripping your lashes out off them, and no more costly extensions. Buyers loved the social content, too, wanting to take part in their budding Glamnetic community.
The buzz about Glamnetic, McFerran says, was that this combination of social advertising push and influencers who formally loved the merchandise. “We needed to work out how to keep up the speed we were promoting at. It was too angry. We were air transportation everything merely to try and keep up with the demand.”
There’s now a budget for influencers, among other marketing choices now that the brand is bringing such a profit. Last year, McFerran and Gould spent a stunning $20 million in advertising and turned into a top, prestigious lash brand almost overnight consequently.
In 2020, the business grew from $1 million to $50 million in revenue, went from one to 60 employees, and dropped 52 new SKUs. It grew its own Facebook community to 20,000 and Instagram to over 350,000. Today, the brand has over 70 employees and the business is set to maintain these constant growth in 2021.
While this could be adequate for some, such a startling amount of growth during a pandemic year in which the huge majority of us spent our time inside, McFerran wants more and to top her goals. The brand recently launched press on nails, which have earnings in 50 percent month-over-month so much, a new line of lashes comprising Sanrio’s Hello Kitty and Friends, and shortly it will offer a subscription service to loyal customers.
With new product plans coming later this year, the new aim remains firmly set on making beauty accessible, easy, and enjoyable for buyers. “The whole ethos of the brand is providing innovative solutions in beauty, to make women’s lives easier in regards to application and the period of time necessary to do something, so ease of use is what we want to emphasize.”
Recently, McFerran was selected as an honoree for Forbes’ hotly tapped 30 Under 30 for retail and ecommerce. The rapid growth and success of the company are important to McFerran, with high praise coming from Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, but her job comes back to what beauty products can do for the average person to reinforce a person’s self-confidence. There are a lot of ways someone can elect to come within their authentic selves and false lashes were that for McFerran, together with countless other women and men who buy Glamnetic’s products. It’s not a solution in the pursuit of becoming whole but it’s a path; one where the choice to do something this positive is a radical act of warning.
“The importance of the brand to many people is that they feel confident for the first time,” she says. “In our communities, [clients ] post about how much more confident they’ve felt and they never thought they would feel as amazing as they do. They’re being uplifted by these positive women around them all the time and giving them inspiration daily.”
►►► ConnectPOS is a cloud-based POS software compatible with multiple platforms including Magento, Shopify & Shopify Plus, and BigCommerce.
Our Feature Posts: