People’s Champion finalist 2018: Prima Makeup

Retailing everything from unicorn poop paste to glitter lipsticks and handmade body gems, will you join this inspiring founder and her cruelty free cosmetics brand's 'Prima Squad'?

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Start-up name: Prima Makeup
Founder: Emma Southorn
Started in: 2016
Based in: Stourbridge, Dudley
Business description: Cruelty-free, fully biodegradable and vegan brand specialising in glitter, festival and glam cosmetics

Shortlisted categories:

The Start Up Loans Company Inspiring Entrepreneur of the Year and Export Business of the Year

The Prima Makeup story:

In 2016, Emma Southorn’s life changed completely when doctors discovered she had suffered a very rare cervical eptopic pregancy.

Following several operations to save her fertility, and her life, Southorn contracted sepsis and was told by doctors that she might not survive.

After a radical hysterectomy, Southorn (pictured left) had to take a three month resting period to get back to health and, it was during this recovery time – when she found herself “reflecting on her life, her job, and her aspirations” – the business idea for Prima Makeup was born.

A former employee for cosmetics chain Younique with a self-confessed love of the beauty industry, through browsing online Southorn noticed that a glitter make-up phenomenon was talking hold in the US and was due to hit the UK.

Identifying a gap in the market to create a product which would solve the issue of messy glitter application and with time on her side, Southorn mixed up several formulas in her kitchen and was able to create a pressed glitter with a built in adhesive.

In August 2016, with the help of a Start Up Loan, Southorn launched her set of pressed, fully biodegradable glitters online to much fanfare. She soon followed this with the business’ now trademark ‘Unicorn Poop’ glitter adhesive.

Fast forward to October 2018 and Southorn has scaled Prima Makeup from her kitchen table to a team of eight people building a international cruelty-free, vegan-friendly affordable cosmetics brand inspired “by all things sparkly”.

The brand’s products, which include 100 unique lines, are shipped to over 19 countries and retail both on the website and with high street partners such as River Island.

Growth has enabled Southorn to expand the business into three divisions; Prima branded products, Private Label Cosmetics and Prima Manufacturing, while Southorn is expanding the product range with eight new lines set to launch shortly.

Why Prima Makeup made our shortlist:

Southorn’s incredible journey in recovering from a life-threatening health issue to pursue her dream of starting a business, and then building that business into a global company, makes her a worthy finalist for The Start Up Loans Company Inspiring Entrepreneur of the Year.

The fact that, in just two years, Southorn has expanded Prima Makeup to 19 countries from the company’s West Midlands HQ makes her a shining example that you don’t have to be an established brand or seasoned entrepreneur to achieve export success.

Where to find out more about Prima Makeup:


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