A 22-year-old student from Bridgend has launched her own cosmetics business with a range of six false eyelash products, which have won fans, including star of The Only Way is Essex Gemma Collins, for their durability.

Mollie Watkins launched Wat Cosmetics to pursue her passion for makeup artistry after becoming frustrated with the quality of high street eyelashes, investing her own savings into the business in order to get it off the ground. Since its launch in June of this year, Wat Cosmetics is already boasting influential customers such as drag artist Bran Alunan who has almost 70,000 Instagram followers.

Mollie, who currently studies makeup and special effects at The Manchester College, began Wat Cosmetics after a long-term dream of running her own business. After careful market and customer research, Mollie met with an advisor at her bank who recommended her business idea was financially viable.

The same advisor recommended Mollie to Big Ideas Wales, the youth entrepreneurship service in Wales, to help her develop her business. Big Ideas Wales is part of Business Wales and is funded by Welsh Government and the European Regional Development Fund. The service is aimed at anyone between the age of 5 and 25 who wants to develop a business idea.

Mollie created her brand with the help of her graphic designer friend Olivia Jenkins, also from Bridgend, and built her website and online shop by herself.

Speaking about launching her business, Mollie said: “I’ve been so lucky to turn my makeup hobby into a business and I have created a brand I feel really proud of. I want Wat Cosmetics products to be inclusive to everyone, so I’ve specifically designed the brand to appeal to all, not just women.

“The eyelashes in my range are much more durable than many high street alternatives that might only last one or two wears. The feedback I have had so far has been very positive with many of my customers using the products over ten times, so really getting their money’s worth.”

Mollie met with Big Ideas Wales business advisor Chris Howlett who was able to advise her on running a successful business and helped her with legal and financial aspects of being a business owner.

Mollie continued:

“Big Ideas Wales has been a massive help, giving me a point in the right direction when I need it. I am the first entrepreneur in my family which means I am learning a lot as it happens without any prior experience, so it’s very reassuring knowing Chris is there if I need a piece of advice. I’ve already recommended Big Ideas Wales to one of my friends who wants to start a business.”

In the future Mollie hopes to expand her cosmetics range to include makeup brushes, eyeshadows and lip glosses but would continue to ensure her products are inclusive and can be used by everyone. Her dream is to see Wat Cosmetics products stocked within the likes of Boots, Superdrug and Topshop.

She said:

“I’d love to grow my cosmetic line in the future to offer a variety of products. One of my aspirations is to work with alopecia charities and create a range of eyelashes to suit people living with the condition. But for now, I am focused on building awareness around my brand and current false eyelash range.”

Mollie trained as a makeup artist at Cardiff and Vale College before embarking on her foundation degree in Manchester. After graduation, Mollie intends to move back to Wales to continue to pursue her business ambitions and reap the benefit of services like Big Ideas Wales and Business Wales available for entrepreneurs.

Chris Howlett, business advisor at Big Ideas Wales said:

“It’s wonderful seeing how far Mollie has come with her business already. She’s a fantastic example of a young person applying entrepreneurial thinking to the skills she has under her belt already to achieve her ambitions. We’re looking forward to seeing how her business grows in the future.”

Wat Cosmetics eyelashes cost £12 per pair and can be bought at https://watcosmetics.com/