UT-Austin student launches lip gloss business during COVID-19 pandemic

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Caroline Onwuzu, human development and family sciences junior, started her own business selling handmade lip glosses this summer.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Caroline Onwuzu | Daily Texan Staff

The summer before her junior year, Caroline Onwuzu made 270 shimmering lip glosses by hand. Two days after launching her new business, Glossydaze Cosmetics was completely sold out. 

“When I first came into college, I made a list of things I wanted to do before I graduate,” said Onwuzu, a human development and family sciences junior. “Starting a business (was) definitely at the top of that list.” 

Onwuzu was inspired by other startup lip gloss businesses on social media early this summer to make a product she said she “can’t live without.”

“It was because of the pandemic that I was able to do this because I have so much free time,” Onwuzu said. “Whereas if I was in the day to day on campus, running from meeting to meeting, class, study sessions and stuff, I would not have had time.”

Onwuzu launched Glossydaze Cosmetics with 12 types of glosses in July from her hometown of Tyler, Texas, and has transitioned her business to her West Campus apartment. She currently offers nine lip gloss shades, including bestsellers Chocolate Queen, So Nude and Pink Rose.

“You really don't need that many ingredients to make a lot of these things, (and) it really makes you eye the extra stuff that companies put in their makeup and stuff that is not needed,” Onwuzu said.

Onwuzu charges $2 to $7.99 per lip gloss, plus an additional fee for shipping. She said each gloss is made from two main ingredients and a cosmetic-grade glitter. 

 

With almost 12,000 subscribers on her YouTube channel and more than 3,000 followers on Twitter, Onwuzu brought her supporters along with her on her business venture. Kinesiology sophomore Vanessa Lane followed Onwuzu on Twitter and said she couldn’t resist purchasing the gloss when Onwuzu first announced her business. 

“Just to see her post about her starting her business really excited me because I love when college students start their own business,” Lane said. “It's hard to find good-quality gloss that would actually benefit me that wouldn’t cost an arm and a leg.” 

Back in Tyler, Onwuzu said her mother, Henrietta, tries to sell Glossydaze lip glosses to her co-workers. 

“I still have some (gloss) from the first day (Caroline started) that I use,” Henrietta said. “My number one job is to kind of let her know that I see what she's doing. I see her trying. I see her making (an) effort, and I support (her), and I'm proud of (her).”

Although Henrietta fully supports Caroline’s journey, she said her daughter’s schedule makes her “dizzy.” 

“She’s doing so much that sometimes I'm more like, ‘Caroline, can you pull back a little bit on something? You don't have to do all this,’” Henrietta said. “She's not that child that you're pushing to do anything. She is driven, (and) I say (I’m) highly blessed.”

While balancing being a new business owner with other commitments has been difficult, Caroline said this semester she is focusing on making time for self-care.

“(Self-care is about) making those schedules, being real with yourself, listening to your body and taking those breaks when you need them,” Caroline said. “Just always remember what you're working so hard for because it can get hard, and if you have that motivation, it really can push you.”