Eighteen-year-old Sydney Robertson proves that anyone can start a business if you want to, and, commit to it.
The UBC Arts student has started her own cosmetic business, with nothing but her saved pocket money.
Her All Heart Cosmetics website was launched Jan 6, which features an, “all-natural, vegan, cruelty-free and kosher,” clay mask.
“The inspiration for starting a business comes from my dad, who started his business when he was young,” Robertson said. “(My dad) always said to me, ‘be your own boss,’ so I took it from there.”
Robertson started creating her own formula to make cosmetic products for family and friends twoyears ago, and turned this hobby into a business last summer.
“I saw other people doing it and then I started doing research on the Internet. There are so many resources to be able to get information from,” recalled Robertson. “I really refined the product over the summer – it was what I spent my entire summer on.”
She wanted to create a product for her customers that are “compromise-free.”
“People’s choices are often compromised by purchasing products with fillers, preservatives, non-vegan or non-kosher ingredients, or from companies that don’t support its workers or being cruel on animals,” said Robertson. “I want to make sure that they are not really compromising anything by going with my products.”
She also noticed that many natural cosmetics do not have a cool style. Robertson wants to combine the two “without having to compensate anything.”
Having very limited funding, Robertson learned about sketching and web design to create a “cool look” for the packaging and website. She also hand-makes and hand-packs all the products herself.
“It's been a really fun and a great learning process. There were times I nearly gave up, but I love it. It’s fun to be able to see something grow from next to nothing,” she said.
Robertson hopes to see her business expand, but her vision goes beyond that. Five per cent of her net proceeds will go towards feminine hygiene products for women in need.
“I believe that everyone deserves to feel clean and confident. It’s so unfair that you have to pick between being clean and confident and having a meal," said Robertson. “Even if at first I'm not able to raise a lot of funds for it, at least I can bring it to the attention to people.”
For other young people who also dream of being an entrepreneur, Robertson said her recommendation is to act now.
“In our day in age, there are so many new opportunities that we never would have thought of before,” said Robertson. “It doesn’t matter what your age is; Don’t stop yourself because you are only 18, because you are just as capable at researching as someone who is 25.
“At the end of the day, we say what we want to do. It doesn’t have to be standardized. You just need to have the right mindset and find something you are passionate about.”