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  • Writer's pictureGreat Companies

Rachel Clinesmith: Winner of the 2024 Great Companies International Women Entrepreneur Award

Name: Rachel Clinesmith

Business Name: Vampyre Cosmetics LLC

Location: New Orleans, Louisiana , USA

Establishment (Year): 2019

Category: Retail - Cosmetics

Profession/ Specialty: Cosmetics

Company Detail:

Vampyre Cosmetics LLC is an officially licensed pop culture cosmetics manufacturer, made by and for the fans. They create uniquely-packaged, high-quality, ethical cosmetics for ages 14-55 of all genders since 2019. Their products are sold in over 150 independent retailers, on, and

Unique Selling Proposition or Competitive Advantage:

Vampyre Cosmetics' unique selling proposition or competitive advantage lies in their commitment to being a "beauty disruptor," challenging social constructs of beauty and promoting individual expression. They believe that beauty is inherent in everyone and provide tools for its expression rather than selling a predefined notion of beauty. Their products combine unique, inspired packaging with high-quality, ethical cosmetics, offering consumers a comprehensive solution without compromising on either aspect.

This philosophy is encapsulated in the company's "mini-manifesto," which emphasizes the magical and transformative nature of makeup, rooted in academia and dark lore. Vampyre Cosmetics aims to cater to individuals often overlooked by mainstream brands, empowering customers to freely express themselves and embark on their makeup journey according to their unique aesthetic preferences.

Challenges Faced During the Journey 

The journey of Vampyre Cosmetics LLC has been marked by various challenges and milestones:

  1. Company Background: Rachel Clinesmith, the CEO and Founder, has successfully scaled up Vampyre Cosmetics LLC, making it her second makeup company to achieve such growth. The company is proudly women-owned, disabled-owned, LGBTQ-owned, and dedicated to green standards, clean beauty, and transparency in all aspects of its operations.

  2. Licensing Contracts: Vampyre Cosmetics has secured licensing contracts with numerous renowned intellectual properties (IPs), including Assassin’s Creed (UBISOFT), Buffy the Vampire Slayer (ABC/Disney), American Horror Story (ABC/Disney), Madame Web (Marvel/Sony/Disney), Miraculous Ladybug (ZAG), and Strawberry Shortcake, among others. Additionally, contracts are pending for Interview with a Vampire (AMC), Skelanimals (HASBRO), and other Marvel IPs (Disney).

  3. Product Expansion: The company has expanded its product offerings through licensed collections with popular IPs such as Emily the Strange, Vincent Price, Winchester Mystery House, Amy Brown Fairies, Silent Hill (by Konami), Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Space Invaders, Oregon Trail, and Living Dead Dolls. An upcoming Officially Licensed Collection with Dungeons and Dragons has also been announced.

  4. Distribution and Retail Presence: Vampyre Cosmetics products are sold in over 150 independent stores worldwide, as well as on and select Hot Topic Stores. The company's presence in major retailers and independent shops has contributed to its widespread availability and visibility.

  5. Media Recognition: The brand has garnered significant media attention, being featured in prestigious publications such as Vogue, Medium, THEM (a Conde Nast Publication), LGBTQ Nation, Newsweek, Loudwire, Blabbermouth, Rely on Horror, Bloody Disgusting, Fangoria, IHeartRadio, Billboard, and The PRIDE (Los Angeles LGBTQ Newspaper), among others.

  6. Sales Growth: Vampyre Cosmetics experienced a remarkable 461% increase in sales from 2022 to 2023, with Q4 2023 seeing a 31% increase over Q3. The company anticipates further sales growth in 2024 by partnering with larger IPs.

  7. Manufacturing History: Founded in 2018 and formally organized in 2019, Vampyre Cosmetics initially focused on manufacturing private label custom cosmetics for various independent brands and celebrities, including PinupGirl clothing, Nikki Lipstick, Traci Lords, and Ve Neill.

  8. Wholesale Distribution: The company sells its products to independent shops via the wholesale platform FAIRE, with a sell-through rate of 100% and consistent re-ordering on long-term SKUs.

  9. Brand Recognition: Licensing IPs from established brands has expanded Vampyre Cosmetics' reach into a wider retail market and garnered significant press coverage, leveraging the popularity and recognition of well-known brands.

Throughout its journey, Vampyre Cosmetics has navigated challenges, expanded its product offerings, secured licensing agreements, and achieved remarkable sales growth, positioning itself as a prominent player in the cosmetics industry.

Advice for Women Entrepreneurs:

Supporting other women-owned businesses is extremely important. It's crucial to lift each other up. Vampyre Cosmetics LLC is a certified WOMEN OWNED BUSINESS (WBENC) and contracts with women-owned businesses wherever possible, fostering a supportive community among women entrepreneurs.



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