2019 KickStart finalist signs distribution agreement in America

Jessica Blackler

An innovative make-up artist has signed a distribution agreement in America to sell her unisex products.

Jessica Blackler was a runner-up in the Baldwins Young Entrepreneur KickStart Awards 2018 after launching a global cosmetic product for transgender women.

She set-up Jecca Blac with the Correct & Conceal palette which creates a luminous base and hides beard shadow, acne and birth marks.

It is also vegan-free and can be used when taking medication as part of the gender transition process since it steers clear of any interfering hormones.

Since winning £5,000 worth of mentoring and accountancy advice from Baldwins last November, Jessica is expanding her overseas reach.

“Since the Baldwins awards last year, we have grown our product range to include lipsticks and concealer and we will be launching new products again this quarter,” she said.

“The response has been fantastic and we have opened a distribution centre in Vermont in America after signing an agreement because we had so much interest from American customers.

“It was a challenging time because there was so much legal work involved but the initial response in America has been really encouraging.

“Later this year, we will also be in-store in a number of retailers in America which is really exciting and  builds on our presence in France, Germany, Spain and Poland.

“In the UK, my business remains largely online but that is expanding all the time and I have grown to having 15 independent retailers onboard.

“I have moved the business from Cardiff to London since I was spending more and more time here since this is where all my contacts are based.

“I have taken on two members of staff as well as two highly-trained make-up artists to run lessons which we have started at the London Transgender Clinic so business is going really well.”

Jessica said the support of Baldwins will be crucial in the coming months as many new strands of the business come into fruition.

She said: “I have started working with the London team of Baldwins as well as David Baldwin in the Midlands on my strategy for the future of the business in the short and long-term and their advice is going to be really important for future growth.

“Their support has been really important because it is great to receive their feedback and know I am going in the right direction and they are a great team.”

David Baldwin, a director at Baldwins, said Jessica’s business had immediately stood out when they were considering the shortlist for last year’s awards.

“Jessica is not only a talented make-up artist but she has developed products which are in demand in the transgender community,” he said.

“The judging panel always felt her products had a global appeal and that has proved to be the case.

“To have opened a distribution centre in America is no mean feat and underlines not only Jessica’s determination to grow her business overseas but that she has spotted a gap in the beauty industry.

“With Baldwins continuing to provide mentoring advice and support to Jessica, we will hopefully open even more areas for growth as the interest and demand for her products continues to rise.”

Entries for this year’s Baldwins KickStart Awards for 18-25-year-olds with a business idea close on August 31.

The winner will receive a £10,000 investment and £10,000 worth of mentoring and accountancy advice, and two runners-up will each receive £5,000 worth of mentoring and accountancy advice.

For more information about the Baldwins Young Entrepreneur KickStart Awards and to enter, visit www.baldwinsaccountants.co.uk/kickstart