Northern Ireland’s unique position after Brexit has been more beneficial to a Co Down makeup entrepreneur than not.
Brendan McDowell, creator of BPerfect Cosmetics, said special flaws have been positive for his brand.
The region left the EU along with the rest of the UK, but effectively remains within single market rules to avoid the need for a hard border on the island of Ireland.
Mr McDowell said additional checks on goods arriving in Northern Ireland from Britain have slowed their transport.
But he said the positives outweighed the negatives, with some top US brands opting to be sold on his brand’s website to enter the EU market.
“Being in Northern Ireland in this special loophole has actually been very positive for us – we have brands that now want to be on BPerfect for the simple reason that they have a hard time selling to the rest of Ireland and the world. ‘EU,’ he said. told the PA news agency.
“Louise, Jeffree Star were all very interested in our online platform, as we can post anywhere in Europe duty free.
“So there are a lot of advantages that way; However, the negatives include that it’s a little more difficult to move the goods, it slowed down our transportation, but I would say the positives of being in the loophole we find ourselves in are slightly better.
“I just hope we can sort out the transportation problem; it delayed some shipments but overall it wasnt too bad for us.
Mr McDowell, from Annalong, County Down, started BPerfect in 2013 with just £ 500 and made the most of social media platforms like Instagram to promote it.
However, if it is a sales platform, it can turn negative as well.
The opening of the BPerfect store in Belfast in October 2020 drew criticism when crowds attended amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“We’ve had a lot of abuse online, but we just need to be strong and let a lot of it go over our heads. For me, I try not to put anything too personal or too much information, ”he said.
“To me it’s a sales platform and a path to the market… you have to be prepared to accept some negativity online, a lot of people go through it, that’s wrong, but unfortunately we can’t do a lot about it. “
Mr McDowell started the brand with brow products and now has major influencers such as Nikki Tutorials and singer Adele among his fans.
BPerfect has physical megastores in Northern Ireland and Scotland as well as online platforms, and its products are stocked in over 2,000 stores in the UK and Ireland.
North America, India, Hungary, Romania and Poland are the latest growth markets.
Mr. McDowell recalled starting his business capitalizing on the larger eyebrow trend.
“People have gone from thin brows to fuller, thicker brows,” he said.
“I created the eyebrow makeup kit and it was one of the first semi-permanent eyebrow makeup to be waterproof, stain resistant and sweat resistant.
“This was the only product we were dealing with initially and it worked really well.”
Mr. McDowell developed the brand by browsing agricultural, beauty and wedding shows, selling from a van.
Then there was an appearance on RTE’s Dragons’ Den in 2017 and, although he declined the proposed investment, he said it opened up the southern Irish market for him.
An eyeshadow palette in collaboration with makeup artist Stacey Marie then brought the brand to the UK market.
Mr McDowell said more and more people are increasingly turning to makeup for their escape, creating looks only to be photographed for Instagram.
“Even before the lockdown (of the coronavirus), creative things were taking off,” he said.
“Makeup has changed, it’s an art form now – a lot of the creative looks that you see wouldn’t necessarily be worn out on a Saturday night, they put it on, they take an image for Instagram and put it back again.
“So for me it’s a form of expression and an art form. We were at the time a pioneer with our color palettes which helped bring in the right colors and the right powder quality, because for creative artists they need very strong pigmentation.
In the new year, BPerfect will launch a line of foundations and concealers.
Emphasizing that the products are intended for all ages, Mr McDowell said his mother was going to be one of the models in the line which he said took 10 to 15 makeup artists working with the brand for two years to create.