It could be a Hollywood movie story line: Struggling couple takes an $80 investment and turns it into a multimillion-dollar, award-winning beauty company in just a few years.
It was 2008, and Glenn and Shannon Dellimore were strapped.
"The economy had just crashed, our house was upside down and we were having a baby," says Shannon, who grew up in Sherman Oaks.
During a Hollywood Hills party, their friends were chatting about whether there was a way that, "especially after a long international flight, you could get the effects of an hourlong $200 facial done by an aesthetician but get skin camera-ready in 10 minutes," says English-born Glenn.
Glenn was a spa and health club advisor, and "my mom worked as a
Friends recommended it to friends who got it into the hands of Hollywood entertainment execs. The Dellimores transformed first a bedroom, then their garage, into offices. "Eventually Neiman Marcus Beauty called," says Glenn. "[The buyer] said, 'Your product was given to me. We would like to see your retail version.'"
Evoking the Hollywood/L.A./California "brand" — recognized internationally, Glenn points out, as a "glamorous, magical wonderland" — they chose unisex black and silver packaging with a star symbol conjuring "the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a star on a star's dressing room or it could just mean Hollywood glamour." Boxes unfold "in layers, making it feel like you're opening up a gift to yourself," Glenn says.
Their product, by now called GlamGlow YouthMud ($69, www.neimanmarcus.com) launched at Neiman Marcus in 2011, Glenn says. Cosmetic Executive Women, Neiman Marcus and Elle awards followed. GlamGlow has since launched other products in stores and spas in 86 countries and does $106 million a year in retail sales, Glenn says. Each product includes a different type of leaf, such as tea or eucalyptus, steeped and combined with clays sourced from around the world.
Beauty entrepreneurs "have to come out of the gate being different," says Cosmetic Executive Women President Carlotta Jacobson, citing the then-growing mask business, GlamGlow's unique packaging, promotion, Sephora success and Hollywood feel as winning factors. "They had a vision and the ability to follow through the way they envisioned it."
"GlamGlow has unique products and a unique standing in the marketplace," says Ann Stordahl, senior vice president at Neiman Marcus. Other beauty entrepreneurs can learn from them: "Be consistent with your brand messaging, but your product should also be efficacious."
The Dellimores also credit their success to avoiding the wrong partnerships and even to their inexperience.
"We thought about things with this fresh new mind," says Glenn.
They are proud that GlamGlow products are made in L.A. They tried Chinese factories but say customs, duty taxes, long shipping periods, quality issues, time differences, language barriers, even email hacking made China a "crazy" choice.
"It also didn't end up being cheaper. L.A. has so many factories, it's just finding the right factory," says Shannon. "We're passionate about staying in L.A. and supporting the community we love."