How to survive the first 12 months of a beauty startup with Jessica Bellinger of Bess & Color (episode 323)

Jessica Bellinger is the founder of online cosmetic brand Bess & Color. Founded in December 2019, now 12 months in they’re at $37,000 sales with growth accelerating.

Subscribe on your Favourite Podcast App

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Listen on Spotify
listen on YouTube

About Jessica

Jessica is a full time wedding photographer with three kids. She travels a lot but has had her eye on starting an eCommerce business that would allow her to work from home.

She started with drop shipping, which did not go well — so she took an eCommerce workshop to learn the ropes and pivoted to start a beauty business focusing on nail polish. 

About The Business

Bess and Color nail polish focuses on producing vegan, cruelty free, non-toxic nail polish. The polish colors are inspired by Wes Anderson films. 

  • Based in Florida
  • Sells Nail Polish 
  • Ships in the United States and looking to expand
  • Shopify Platform

Favorite widgets and tool 

Selling Small, Well

Bess and Color nail polishes are priced high compared to similar products, but they have a high AOV.

Even though Jessica gets orders with a single polish, she says a lot of people have bigger orders and she has returning customers who are very loyal. Jessica attributes this success to not only her higher quality product but also the way she shows up for her customers on social media.

She says that her customers have not only been loyal to the brand but have followed her across all social media platforms and have enjoyed connecting with her as an individual. 

The Team

Jessica is still a team of one, but she works with freelancers including Joyful PR, and most recently an ad marketing team for Facebook, instagram and google ads. 

Juggling Multiple Responsibilities

Jessica is a mom to three kids, runs a photography business full time and has been in the midst of finishing up a book. She doesn’t do schedules and she’s still making it by plowing through her to do list every day.

She says that even though this might sound crazy to other people, it works for her. She points out that a lot of people get stuck before they even start and that the best way forward is whatever way works for you.

What She Would Do Differently

The only thing that Jessica would have done differently was her launch. At the time, she says she had no idea what she was doing. She had no idea how to use influencers and how to build hype.

She says it’s taken an entire year to learn how to build excitement. She’s using that new knowledge now to build hype for her new products coming out at the holidays.

Jessica says she learned how to do everything the hard way, and she doesn’t regret that a bit. 

Jessica’s Book

Jessica wrote a book about humility called the Humility Paradox. Though the book addresses a range of topics, Jessica says the practice of humility can help drive businesses.

eCommerce Book Top Tip

eCommerce Traffic Top Tip

  • Instagram and being present on the platform and Email Marketing with valuable emails

Tool Top Tip

  • Shopify Plugins and Email and Zoom

Growth Top Tip

  • Hire someone to help you scale

Interview Links

Related episodes

  • Meet our 2021 Startup founder: Luke Carthy of Afro Drops. What’s the plan for the first 6months?
  • Influencer marketing, Pinterest Ads, and Lead Gen Quizzes with Simon Driscoll from UXB Skincare
  • How to quit your job and in 12 months grow your eCommerce store by 300% with Daniel McClen

Without the sponsors the podcast wouldn’t be possible – please do check them out:


Klaviyo is a leading customer data and marketing automation platform dedicated to accelerating revenue and customer connection for online businesses. Klaviyo makes it easy to store, access, analyze and use transactional and behavioral data to power highly-targeted customer and prospect communications. The company’s hybrid customer-data and marketing-platform model allows companies to grow by fostering direct relationships with customers, without giving up their valuable data to popular big-tech ad platforms. Over 80,000 innovative companies like Unilever, Custom Ink, Living Proof and Huckberry sell more with Klaviyo. Learn more at
Give it a try today – get your free account

Cloudways is a managed cloud hosting provider that is built for online commerce. Based in Malta and serving a diverse global audience, Cloudways is all about simplicity and freedom for eCommerce businesses. From the choice of five industry-leading cloud providers to 50+ 1-Click platform operations, Cloudways ensures that your visitors do not have to face slow loading websites and security issues. Platform features include free SSL certificates, IP whitelisting, unlimited staging sites, and a high-paying affiliate program.
For eCommerce Masterplan listeners, Cloudways have an exclusive offer:
Use the promo code: MASTERPLAN to sign up for a new Cloudways account and get FREE $25 hosting credit.

Like to be a guest? Apply Here