Natural cosmetics are becoming more popular with consumers, especially those who prefer natural and creative products instead of products with good advertising. But, starting a small business of your own is not easy, especially if you are also a student. Amila Muratović from Živinice has successfully tackled this challenge – she has started Bellen Cosmetics, a brand of handmade cosmetics using natural waxes, vegetable oil, and essential oils. On their website, you can find mirrors, teas, and serums, among other things – everything you need for beautiful skin.
Own experience as inspiration for starting a small business
Amila says that cosmetics have been her passion since childhood.
“During puberty, I began to have problematic skin. After more research, I discovered that the main culprit was my makeup. The products I used contained silicones, parabens, formaldehyde, heavy metals, and even flame retardants. Who would want to use that every day on their face?” says Amila Muratović, who got the idea to make cosmetics for herself after learning this.
As she points out, she wanted to create natural, cruelty-free cosmetics without ingredients that are not harmful to both people and the environment. The name of the brand, as she says, came about quite by accident.
“At the time when the brand itself was being created, my sister and I were watching a movie. The lead actress’s name was Belén, we looked at each other, and our thoughts coincided. The name Bellen seemed to be the perfect name for a cosmetics brand. The word bella in Italian means something beautiful, so that’s another reason.”
According to Muratović, the difference between Bellen cosmetics and other products is its composition and other defining characteristics.
“Bellen does not test its cosmetics on animals and does not use parabens, formaldehyde, silicones, or heavy metals. Instead, Bellen uses raw materials from certified organic farmers. We also try to listen to the requests and opinions of our clients. The packaging for storing cosmetics is mostly glass or paper and is safe for the environment,” says Amila Muratović, adding that Bellen cosmetics are intended for women seeking quality skincare.
Teamwork is the secret of success
Beauty standards are not going anywhere, especially due to the influence of social media. What Amila Muratović tells her clients is that they should love and appreciate themselves as they are.
“Beautiful skin is healthy skin, and we need to respect that. A woman’s face with makeup is beautiful, but a clean face without makeup is a luxury. Therefore, I consider cosmetics much more important than the makeup we use every day. I also want to mention that social media is not the true measure of beauty – we should not believe everything we see,” she adds.
In addition to starting a small business, Amila is studying at the Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Tuzla. She is successfully adjusting to her new obligations thanks to her team.
“Together, we help each other to manage all of our responsibilities. Sometimes it is hard for us, but when we work together in harmony as a team, everything is much easier. Without exaggerating, the whole team radiates some kind of special energy. I think that good organization is our key to success,” says Muratović.
To produce Bellen cosmetics, Amila uses luxury ingredients with specific effects.
“Bellen cosmetics are handmade from natural waxes, vegetable oil, and essential oils. We listen to our clients and make changes in the composition on request. If a client is allergic to a certain ingredient, we usually replace it with something which agrees with their skin type,” says Muratović.
The uniqueness of the ingredients as a perfect natural recipe
“Our production is like a small kingdom of pure oils and waxes. Every day, we strive to improve our recipes with more and more modern equipment. To create a product, we must first develop an innovative recipe. Then, we must analyze what the composition of the product should be. We must be safe, meticulous, and very careful when making it. While the mixture for the products is being prepared, we disinfect the packaging. When the mixture is ready, we slowly transfer it to the filler, and then we begin the careful packaging of our products,” says Amila Muratović about their production process.
She adjusts the price to the market conditions, and for each product, she makes calculations based on the material the time spent working on the product. However, the Bosnian market is very uncertain for small producers, and competition is increasing.
“In general, it is a great challenge to develop a brand in the world of high-quality natural cosmetics. I am aware of this, and so I always choose originality and creativity. I try to give Bellen cosmetics have an authentic look, quality composition, and nice feedback. I am glad that customers recognized the benefits of these cosmetics and remained faithful to it,” says Muratović, whose products have not yet found a place in the retail chain, though this process is in the works to make it easier for customers to purchase their products.
Amila’s brand proves that the world of production and trade in BiH is not only reserved for men, which is an encouragement for all future female entrepreneurs who want to start their own small businesses.
“Start as soon as possible! Learn, explore, create. The younger you are, the better because you have more time for ups and downs. That way, you gain experience. Don’t listen to others; listen to yourself. Be supportive of yourself. Long-term experience will open many doors for you,” advises Amila Muratović.
She plans to expand Bellen Cosmetics in the future, but she does not want to reveal her big plans yet, wanting to keep them a sweet surprise.
“Also, in the coming period, I would like to dedicate myself to developing formulations for new products. Every day is a new beginning for me, and I think we should make good use of what life has to offer,” she concludes.