Made in Michiana: Sisters turning hobby into blossoming business
NILES, MI. -- Made in Michiana series returns with a pair of sisters taking the world of cosmetics by storm.
Let's take a minute and think back, what did you want to be when you were 13.
“I wanna be a doctor, a gymnast. I want to be a designer," says co-owner of NS Cosmetics, Neriah Stevens.
“I want to grow up to be a singer, dancer," says other co-owner of NS Cosmetics, Naomi Stevens.
No matter what you say at that age the response always seems to be the same.
“When people see us they are like how old are you? We tell them our age and their like *whoa*. No way, you guys for real?” says Naomi.
For this sister duo of 11 and 13 year-old's Neriah and Naomi Stephens they decided to take a chance with a new dream about 8 months ago.
“Because both of our names start with N and you know our last name starts with an S, we decided to just put that together because we’re sisters and it’s both of our business. So we were like you know what let’s make it NS Cosmetics cause you know," says Naomi.
A new dream, jump started by a shut down.
“So with the world shutting down and everything, we did. We had a lot of free time. We had a lot of free time to just experiment. That’s where really the whole idea came from," says Neriah.
A homegrown Niles company, focused on lip gloss, chapstick, beard balm, eye serums and more!
That started right in their own home, at the kitchen table, with a little help from their first investors.
Mom and Dad, Ashley and Martinez Stephens, are not only filling the parent shoes.
Fans, supporters, parents, not to mention business advisors.
“They came to us one day with the idea to make lip gloss. And I was like okay then bring me a business plan," says mom, Ashley Stephens.
The girls mom, Ashley, graduated with a degree and masters in business so she took what she knew about creating a business plan, a product, even consumer testing and put it to use right at the kitchen table.
“I have put some products on before and gotten bumps, but this is the real deal," says dad, Martinez Stephens.
A venture that started as a fun quarantine project, even a learning moment.
“To me it was more of a teachable moment. I didn’t think they were going to do anything with it. I felt it as an opportunity to teach them. So if anything I thought it was going to be an expensive learning project.”
Now coming up on a year since their launch, the girls have turned their make-up hobby into a profitable business.
“We have been doing really good too. Like our business is expanding and we’re doing good," said Naomi.
“It’s been growing wild. From our shows to our online orders. Sometimes I sit and look back and I’m like wow we’re really doing this," says Neriah.
One they are taking from their home, out to shows across Michiana!
“When I put them in their first show, I was like they don’t have to sell any lip gloss. But it would get them the exposure and the experience of communicating and facing their fears because craft shows are scary you know approaching people is scary and they took on that challenge and just thrived," says Ashley.
A thriving challenge that's also teaching these kids important business lessons like how to communicate better.
“The biggest thing I have learned is better communication with my sister," Neriah.
“It really helps because sometimes we may disagree but the communication is really good," says Naomi.
How to craft the best sales pitch.
“Not sticky, no residue, no chemicals in it. It’s organic, it’s healthy for you, it has really good benefits," Naomi.
And how to have joy in the journey.
“We try our best to teach them for them to be focused on their goals and to move forward," says Martinez. "Do what you like to do and let others see that and be happy about what you’re doing and that’s it.”
As the world starts to see a light at the end of that long pandemic tunnel, this pair of sisters believes their future is especially bright.
“And soon we hope to expand to indoor businesses," says Neriah.
“We want to go Amazon, Walmart places like that. Big...even Ulta beauty and stuff like that," says Naomi.
All while inspiring others to dream big and face their fears.
“We’re just trying to inspire young people, girls of color, anyone at this point like if you dream big enough and try hard enough you can make it," says Naomi.
If you are interested in NS Cosmetic's products, hearing more on the girls, or are looking to see them at their next show:
Website for online purchasing: www.nscosmetics.net
- February 20/21st: The Grand LV, Niles, MI.
- March 20th: Women's Expo--Fort Wayne, IN. 10 a.m.- 3 p.m.
- April 3rd: St. Joseph County Fairgrounds 10 a.m.- 3 p.m.
- April 16th-18th: University Park Mall during mall hours.
- April 24th: 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Nappanee Spring Market, Clay Wood Event Center
- May 15th-16th: 8:30 a.m.- 2:30 p.m. Apple Festival Spring Market, Apple Festival Fair Grounds 10 a.m.-7 p.m.