In 2015, LiveGlam owner Dhar Mann launched his shoestring startup from a tiny 300-sq foot studio apartment he shared with a roommate with only $600 in the bank. Within two years, that $600 investment has turned into an 8-figure business with 2M followers and 50 team members around the world. This is the story of how it happened.
Dhar Mann’s Story – Before the Glam
After a handful of successes (and even more failures),
Dhar Mann found himself at 30-years-old sharing a tiny studio apartment in Los Angeles with only a few hundred dollars to his name (you can read Dhar Mann’s entrepreneurial story of how he Failed His Way to Success here).
With no income and very little money left, Dhar Mann was at the point of leaving Los Angeles and returning to Northern California to move back in with his parents.
Then one fortunate day he happened to meet a popular Instagram beauty influencer over lunch. The beauty influencer told stories of how she was traveling all over the world to teach sold-out in-person makeup seminars. Dhar Mann asked the beauty influencer if she had ever thought about teaching the classes online to reach a larger audience and make her classes more accessible. The beauty influencer loved the idea, but said she had no idea how to pull it off.
Never having created an online business before and knowing nothing about makeup, Dhar Mann didn’t have much of an idea himself. But as with many great ideas, necessity became the mother of invention, so he offered to partner with the beauty influencer to create the online makeup school together – and she agreed.
Online Makeup Classes
With only several hundred dollars of starting capital, Dhar Mann knew he had to make very little money go a long way. The first thing he did was to go to Best Buy and purchase two soft box lights and a webcam. That cost him $400, leaving $200 in his bank account. He reached out to his contacts and found someone willing to build a scrappy website for $400. Since he didn’t have enough to cover the entire cost of the website, he asked the developer to take half up front and receive the balance after the website launched. Luckily, the developer agreed and 14 days later the online school was launched. And it was an instant hit.
The first day in business the website launched to much fanfare, generating six-figures in revenue with thousands of students joining to learn about makeup artistry.
Within a short time, the website became the most subscribed to live online makeup and hair school in the world. The content library today includes over 200 professional makeup classes including collaborations with celebrities and other well-known beauty influencers.
With one class, Dhar Mann had gotten much more than just a lesson on contouring. The class was a tutorial on bridal makeup and had the popular beauty influencer Laura G as the model. To complete the bridal makeup look Laura G put on a bridal gown (complete with veil and all!). The class was such a success Dhar Mann, Laura G and the whole team decided to celebrate after the class was over, but there was one slight problem.
The only outfit Laura G had was her bridal dress she wore for the class. And Dhar Mann coincidentally happened to be wearing a long buttoned up white shirt. So, wherever they went, everybody had thought that Dhar Mann and Laura G had just gotten married. Even though they had just met, they played along, and had no idea that would be the start of a long-term personal and business relationship together (you can read Dhar Mann and Laura G’s relationship here: Dhar Mann and Laura G: Creating a Lasting Relationship.
The Beginning of LiveGlam
With the business on the up and up and the right girl by his side, Dhar Mann was ready to take things to the next level. The first thing he needed to do was to come up with a name for the business since the online makeup classes had been completely branded after the beauty influencer. At that time the idea was to continue creating live online classes with other makeup artists about glam. Combining those two words, he came up with LiveGlam.
Dhar Mann continued to expand the online makeup classes by adding on additional makeup artists and eventually products. One of the most common requests LiveGlam received from students was for physical products to be included with the classes. So, Dhar Mann reached out to various cosmetic brands and most were more than happy to provide products for students. LiveGlam used those products to put inside a free beauty box that would be included for students purchasing an annual membership.
That was the beginning of LiveGlam’s transition to a beauty box subscription.
Beauty Subscription Boxes
The launch of the beauty box with other brands was a massive success. Dhar Mann had to quickly learn how to operate a product subscription which ended up being a lot more complex than online classes. For starters, he realized he was going to need a lot more space.
At the time LiveGlam was still operating from Dhar Mann’s apartment (not the original 300-square foot studio apartment, but nevertheless a small 2-bedroom space that he shared with a roommate). The living room would function as LiveGlam’s photo studio for content creation. Since there was no space to assemble and ship out all of the beauty boxes, necessity once again being the mother of invention and Dhar Mann used the hallway that led to the elevator from his apartment as the fulfillment center. Fortunately, he had many female neighbors that were more than happy to receive free makeup in exchange for not complaining to the building’s management.
This whole experience taught Dhar Mann a lot about content creation, subscriptions and beauty boxes (no, despite hosting hundreds of makeup classes he still does not know how to use a makeup brush).
By the second year of business, LiveGlam had outgrown Dhar Mann’s apartment, so he leased a dedicated photo studio and separate fulfillment center in downtown Los Angeles.
He was again ready to take things to the next level. Seeing the higher interest in product subscriptions over content for members, his initial thought was to continue partnering with other cosmetic brands to launch additional beauty boxes. But he later decided if he really wanted to grow the LiveGlam brand, LiveGlam would have to launch its own line of beauty products.
Developing LiveGlam Products
As a guy who has never used makeup, Dhar Mann knew he was in over his head when it came to developing cosmetic products. He knew how to run a business but he didn’t know the first thing when it came to creating desirable makeup.
To pull this off, he knew he needed someone who knew a lot about makeup, had incredibly high standards, and, most importantly, someone that he could trust. Luckily, he had the perfect person that fit that description – his now-girlfriend, Laura G. He was already routinely asking her for advice (as many entrepreneurs do with their significant others), but now it was time to make it official. Dhar Mann asked Laura G to become the Creative Director at LiveGlam – and she agreed.
Both of them quickly got to work to create LiveGlam’s first in-house cosmetics line.
Dhar Mann and Laura G spent a lot of time brainstorming cosmetic products that could work for a beauty subscription box. In order to keep members interested for the long-run, the products had to be new and exciting each month. At the time, liquid lipsticks were all the rage, so they decided to launch a liquid lipstick club called KissMe (KissMe is now the world’s most subscribed to lipstick club). Members of KissMe get new 3 liquid lipstick colors each month for $19.99.
After many months of perfecting formulas, partnering with the best labs and developing exciting colors, KissMe’s launch in April 2017 was a big success. The club grew over 400% in 2018 and has received outstanding reviews from its happy customers.
Growing the Business
With the success of LiveGlam’s first cosmetics line, KissMe, Dhar Mann and Laura G are now focused on creating a full range of cosmetic products for LiveGlam customers. In 2018, LiveGlam also launched an e-commerce store to give non-members a chance to buy its products. In 2019, LiveGlam plans to launch additional beauty subscription boxes, including ShadowMe, a bi-monthly eye shadow palette club, and also a skincare club (for those wondering, it won’t be called SkinMe).
Starting with just $600 in initial capital (all Dhar Mann had at the time), LiveGlam grew to 8-figures in revenue within less than 2-years of its launch.
On social media, LiveGlam has collaborated with many top beauty influencers and the #LiveGlamFam is almost 2M followers strong. Dhar Mann attributes the key to LiveGlam’s success being his amazing team of 50+ members located in five continents across the world, and to his girlfriend Laura G for believing in him and helping him become the person he is today. You can read about Dhar Mann’s leadership tips here: 6 best leadership tips for business owners.
Today, Dhar Mann uses his personal story to create content that motivates others around the world. His life, relationship and business tips have been viewed over 100M times and shared by 3M+ people. In addition to giving back by helping to inspire others, Dhar Mann launched LiveGlam’s Give a Glam initiative which engages in random acts of kindness on a weekly basis to help those in need. While Dhar Mann is excited about the success and growth of LiveGlam, he knows that ultimate success is to touch as many lives as possible by helping others in their journey.
Stay Connected with LiveGlam Owner Dhar Mann
Dhar Mann, the founder of LiveGlam, has seen a lot of ups and downs along the path to success. Through his experiences, he has developed techniques for turning stumbling blocks into building blocks.
He encourages people to free themselves from limiting beliefs and build the life that truly inspires them. You can keep up with his story by joining his active group of Facebook fans at https://www.facebook.com/dharmannofficial/