We discuss today with Suzanne Carter. Suzanne is a business innovator and Founder and CEO of M•Y•O Cosmetic Cases
Suzanne, please start by telling us about M•Y•O Cosmetic Cases and the inspiration behind the business.
As the CEO of M•Y•O [Makeup Your Own] Cosmetic Cases, my journey in the beauty industry began as a mother trying to impart valuable lessons to my daughters about minimalist makeup and the importance of reducing waste. Frustrated by the clutter and sheer quantity of products in my own makeup drawer, I embarked on a mission to create something both organizational and sustainable. After extensive research and development, the multi-award-winning M•Y•O Cosmetic Cases was born, a customizable, refillable makeup system.
Our vision was to provide both professional makeup artists and consumers with a revolutionary solution that not only organizes their makeup but saves makeup application time and space in makeup drawers and makeup bags, but also upholds the highest standards of product integrity and eco-friendliness. We meticulously crafted our cosmetic cases from food-grade materials, ensuring the quality and safety of the products they housed.
We are proud to offer a game-changing solution to the makeup world.
What was your background before starting M•Y•O? Did you have much experience with cosmetics?
I come from a rather unconventional background for the beauty industry. For two decades, I worked as a corporate consultant, focusing on improving business efficiency through their workforce. Despite this corporate path, I’ve always had a creative side and a strong passion for sustainability. By melding my corporate expertise in efficiency with my unwavering commitment to eco-friendly practices, I’ve been able to introduce groundbreaking solutions to the makeup world. M•Y•O Cosmetic Cases embodies the harmonious blend of my corporate background and my creative vision, making it a trailblazer in the beauty industry.
In 2017 showcasing our original M•Y•O Cosmetic Case at Cosmoprof North America, the largest business-to-business beauty show in the Americas, of 12000 products, we won one of 100 coveted Trend Setter Awards creating brand awareness prior to our official launch in 2018. In 2020 M•Y•O was one of 100 companies out of over 2000, invited to pitch on the TV show Dragons Den (like Shark Tank in the USA).
How have M•Y•O Cosmetic Cases changed the make-up industry?
M•Y•O Cosmetic Cases has truly made a transformative impact on the makeup industry. Our products have been embraced by professional makeup artists worldwide, and for a good reason – they save valuable time in the makeup chair and on set. By pre-setting each talent or character’s touch-up case, artists save space and can minimize the painful weight of their kits.
Our innovative designs have streamlined the way artists work, allowing them to focus on their craft rather than sifting through cluttered makeup bags. Our palm-sized M·Y·O Cosmetic Cases design supports a minimalistic approach to makeup while accommodating multiple cosmetic types: pans, pencils and in our M•Y•O Makeup Pods (small magnetic containers), creams, liquids, and powders– allowing artists to take touch-up amounts of makeup rather than full-size products, a first-of-its-kind innovation!
What’s even more remarkable is the positive environmental effect our cases have had. In 2020 alone, makeup artists globally saved a staggering 1.5 million metric tons of CO2 emissions directly related to saving time on-set from using our cases. To put this in perspective, it’s akin to taking 214,000 cars off the roads for a full year.
Consumers, too, have fallen in love with our products. They can now enjoy the convenience of having all their makeup essentials neatly organized in one case. This not only simplifies their daily routines but also reduces waste by discouraging the purchase of excessive products. M•Y•O Cosmetic Cases has ushered in a new era of efficiency and eco-consciousness in the makeup industry, leaving both professionals and beauty enthusiasts alike thrilled with the positive changes we’ve brought about.
One of the great aspects of M•Y•O is that the company makes sustainable beauty products. What is the significance of making the brand low-waste, and how does it achieve sustainability?
Sustainability is central to M•Y•O’s identity. Our original case, mindful of our carbon footprint, is made locally, 15 minutes from our office and we pick up stock in our electric vehicle. Currently, we integrate up to 35% post-recycled materials into our products, reducing resource demand. Our ongoing pursuit is to create cases of 100% backyard or countertop compostable materials, making end-of-life recycling effortless for consumers. Beyond production, we are committed to the entire product lifecycle.
Partnering with PACT Collective, collecting and recycling the beauty industry’s packaging, we ensure responsible recycling of our items after use. M•Y•O stands for more than beauty; we embody environmental and ethical responsibility. Our brand is dedicated to environmentally friendly, ethically sound, and socially responsible practices, so much so that we became a verified B Corporation Certified company in 2020. Sustainability isn’t an option but a core principle, and we’re determined to lead the way towards a greener, responsible future.
Tell us about your work with 1% for the planet
At M•Y•O Cosmetic Cases, giving back to the planet is an integral part of our mission. We proudly contribute 1% of our proceeds to environmental causes because we believe it’s our responsibility to take care of the planet that sustains us. It’s a small yet meaningful way for us to make a positive impact and ensure a greener, healthier future for generations to come.
What were some of the challenges you experienced in the early stages of M•Y•O Cosmetic Cases Inc.?
Starting a small business is undoubtedly a challenging journey. One of the most formidable hurdles we encountered was the daunting task of marketing. Gaining brand awareness in a crowded marketplace demands committed hustle through various avenues. Trade Shows, speaking engagements, social media, and strategic paid advertising.
Just when we thought we had found our footing, the unexpected blow of COVID-19 hit us two years into our venture. The pandemic disrupted industries across the globe, leaving many without work or income. However, amidst the adversity, we found a silver lining. Our products, designed to be COVID-sanitary, FDA-approved, and food-safe, resonated with the new health-conscious landscape. This allowed us to pivot our marketing and find a niche in providing essential hygiene solutions to professional makeup artists working on TV and movie sets. Their support during these uncertain times became our lifeline, illustrating that even in the toughest of circumstances, resilience and adaptability can lead to unexpected opportunities.
When did you realize the company was reaching customers and achieving success?
The moment M•Y•O Cosmetic Cases began to reach consumers and achieve success was a truly remarkable and emotional experience. It all began when I stumbled upon an image of our products impeccably organized on the sets of major TV and movie productions in Hollywood. It was a surreal feeling, and I couldn’t help but start making a list of all the sets where our cases had found a home – such as Wednesday, Keeping up with the Kardashians, Schitts Creek, Emily in Paris, RuPaul’s Drag Race and Star Trek. What was even more touching was the heartfelt gratitude from makeup artists who would approach me, sometimes with tears in their eyes, to give me a hug and express their thanks. They shared stories of how our cases had genuinely changed their lives, making their work more efficient, organized and, alleviating physical strain from heavy on-set actor makeup bags. It was a profoundly humbling moment to hear the real impact M•Y•O Cosmetic Cases had in the professional makeup industry.
As an added joy, everyday consumers also began to realize the incredible convenience and organization our cases brought to their makeup routines, and they too fell in love with the brand, further affirming our mission to simplify beauty for everyone.
How difficult is it to be an “indie” beauty brand?
Navigating the beauty industry as an independent brand, I’ve come to realize just how saturated and competitive it can be. As a self-made woman from Canada, building M•Y•O Cosmetic Cases has been both a challenge and a deeply rewarding journey. Marketing, especially when starting from scratch, can feel like an uphill battle. Unlike brands with celebrity endorsements and established fan bases, we had to build our presence step by step. But that challenge has also been our strength. It pushed us to be innovative, authentic, and unapologetically ourselves.
We’ve focused on delivering exceptional value, quality, and sustainability. And while the path may be tougher, the sense of accomplishment and the community that has rallied around M•Y•O has made every hurdle worthwhile. In the beauty industry, standing out as an independent brand is no small feat, but it’s a testament to the passion and perseverance that drives us forward.
How does M•Y•O overcome the bigger brands on the market and reach new customers?
At M•Y•O, our ability to stand out and connect with new customers in a competitive market is driven by our unique value proposition. There is simply nothing else like our products on the market in terms of sustainability, organization, or the ability to maintain the integrity of high-end beauty products. We’ve strategically reached new customers through various channels. Trade shows have been instrumental in showcasing our innovations and connecting with makeup artists and beauty enthusiasts. Speaking engagements at makeup artists unions have allowed us to directly engage with professionals who understand the value of our products.
Moreover, our dedicated community of makeup artists, who have seen firsthand how M•Y•O cases transform their routines play a vital role in spreading the word. We are proud to be available in 8 countries and to have partnerships with 18 retailers catering to makeup artists and enthusiasts, making our products accessible globally.
Based on our current success with professional makeup artists, we are actively working towards growing our everyday consumers, so they too can experience the difference M•Y•O Cosmetic Cases make. We are excited about the future and are working to launch a new line of eco-luxe makeup organizational and travel pieces for the beauty consumer.
M•Y•O Cosmetic Cases Inc. is a family business. Tell us about your daughters’ involvement in the company and the experience of working with your children.
M•Y•O Cosmetic Cases is truly a family business, and my daughters are the heartbeat of our journey. They serve as inspiration in multiple ways and the genesis of M•Y•O was partly rooted in my daughter’s needs, as I sought to create the perfect minimalist makeup solution for them – a one-stop palette/case for all their makeup.
They are incredibly supportive and play an active role in representing M•Y•O at trade shows, where their enthusiasm shines through. Olivia, my youngest at 21, is a busy university student who loves to test products and continuously brainstorm ideas for marketing and future products.
Additionally, my daughter Alexa, a professional makeup and hair stylist, has lent her talents to our brand, crafting makeup and hair at events and photoshoots. To have Alexa’s perspective as a makeup artist in my own home is invaluable. Their involvement not only enhances our products, but also deepens our family’s connection in our mission to make beauty simpler and more accessible to both the Pro and consumer communities.
In terms of a family business, I would be remiss if I didn’t add that my niece, Kayla, works with M•Y•O as our digital manager and my husband, Jason, supports me daily.
Suzanne, how is a day in your life?
A day in my life is a constant juggling act. My morning starts with reviewing emails and customer inquiries that demand immediate attention, maintaining positive customer relations is my top priority. I check on the progress of ongoing projects, ensuring that everything is on track. Connect with my social media team and organize retail and customer orders to be shipped, making sure each package is quality-checked. Create or update marketing materials, striving to keep my brand fresh and appealing. In the pursuit of growth, I reach out to potential partners and collaborators to create new opportunities for my business. Friday mornings are reserved for tackling financial paperwork, from budgeting to invoicing. As a small business owner, my role demands versatility, however, my passion for my business and the prospect of its success drive me to navigate these challenges with unwavering determination.
What is something most people don’t know about you?
I grew up on a 25,000-acre working cattle ranch in the northern countryside of B.C. This experience bred a sense of creativity and innovation and ignited a thirst for adventure second to none. With over 300 cattle, 30 horses, and a multitude of other animals, every day was an adventure.
With a ferocious appetite for adventure, by age 28, I had travelled to 28 countries experiencing diverse landscapes, architecture, people, food, and culture. Six months backpacking through Europe at age 21, you would find me volunteering in Italy at a rehabilitation camp for young people.
Choose two of your favorite quotes and write them here
“In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.” — Albert Einstein
“A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all.” — Michael LeBoeuf, Business Author and Motivational Speaker
If you had the power to change just one thing in the world what would it be?
To inspire individuals globally to cultivate mindfulness in their daily choices and recognize the impact these decisions have on the planet, our nurturing home that takes care of us.
To learn more about Suzanne Carter and M•Y•O Cosmetic Cases please visit https://myocosmeticcases.com