What It's Really Like to Create a Cult-Fave Beauty Brand

When she was mixing up her own face oil at home a few years ago, could Linda Rodin have possibly predicted that her handcrafted formula would be among the most coveted beauty items today? Did Garren, Thom Priano, and Howard McLaren know that R+Co's cheekily packaged formulas would become staple items for salon owners and discerning customers alike? How about Amanda Chantal Bacon—when she first opened the doors of Moon Juice's Venice Beach storefront, could she have imagined that her celestial approach to wellness would earn her a rabid global fanbase?

Every entrepreneur dreams of success, but then there are those blockbuster hits that exceed one's wildest imaginations—the kind of success that we call cultdom. It's the holy grail of the beauty world, and these days, it typically involves a combination of factors, like sleek, Instagram-worthy packaging, big-name fans… and, most importantly, a product so good that you simultaneously want to sing its praises from the rooftops and keep it a secret, all to yourself.

As fun as it is to chart the rise of a killer product from an editor's POV, we've wondered lately: What about when you're in the thick of it? What happens when something you created suddenly blows up as the Next Big Thing? To find out, we went straight to the source—the talented folks behind the brands and products that we now can't live without. 

From the hit-makers at Oribe, Rodin, S.W. Basics, and more, see how great ideas come to fruition and what mega-success looks like from the inside out. Take notes!

What's your favorite story or piece of advice from these movers and shakers? Tell us what you think in the comments below.