wholesale makeup business

I received a query today about starting a wholesale makeup business and thoght it might be useful to share for others in the same situation:

Hi Mel,

I am looking to start a specific makeup business re-selling only top end products, and your website looks very promising, however, I think I have to be an authorised dealer to sell those products, do you have any advice?

Kind regards,


Here is my reply:

Hi Helen

It is not possible to become an authorised reseller for say MAC, Benefit etc as they only sell through their own websites or department stores etc. However, there is an unofficial wholesale market in those brands through the specialist cosmetics clearance dealers you will find on Cheap Slap. You will not be able to buy the whole product range of any brand, it is just certain items which are available at any one time. You would obviously not be able to set yourself up as an official stockist, but as far as I am aware there is nothing to stop you reselling these products independently. There are a lot of websites selling those brands – mostly fake may I add, but considering that MAC etc do not seem to clamp down on the fake sellers, so there is no reason to worry if you are selling genuine items.

It may be possible for you to get authorised status for salon brands like Dermalogica, and tanning products etc, but to meet the criteria there are very high minimum orders (e.g. I think Dermalogica is around £5K). If you want to carry a range of brands that adds up to a very high stock cost across all the brands. Also, just to give you an idea, the official UK wholesale price is around 50% of retail or even higher, plus VAT. Unless you are registered for VAT you will have to absorb the VAT cost on your purchases. Even selling at retail price, there is not a high profit margin. Allow for the fact that you can get 20% off those products on major UK websites, to be competitive that would be squeezing your margin even further. The big sites like lookfantastic and hqhair can do it because they get volume pricing discounts and they have high traffic.

That is why for smaller retailers it can be more lucrative to go for the stock that you can source through the high end wholesale makeup sellers that you will find on Cheap Slap, where the cost is much cheaper.

Sorry for the essay, hope that makes sense
Best wishes