The serum has sold out, ladies. Less than a year after its well-received launch, By Elizabeth Dehn is out of business. The pretty skincare collection was manufactured locally by Galen Labs, another highly lauded Minnesota brand, which abruptly shut its doors last year. Finding another manufacturer proved too difficult and costly for Dehn, author of the popular blog BeautyBets. A lifelong product fanatic, creating her own line had been a dream come true for Dehn. I spoke to her about the experience as she packed for her next adventure in Seattle, where she has accepted a position as a senior writer for Nordstrom.com, curating beauty and fashion content. I'm going to miss her dewy glow around town. But she plans to continue blogging, so we'll be able to keep up with her product recommendations and tips at BeautyBets and @beautybets on Twitter (where I stalk her when I need the latest bronzer -STAT.) Dehn's parting words of wisdom are a must read for other would-be entrepreneurs. Q. Favorite thing about being a beauty mogul for a year? I’ll ignore the mogul part and just say that there’s nothing better than getting to play with product all day, whether it’s mine or someone else’s. Who gets to do that for a living?! Q. Hardest part of starting your own line? As with many entrepreneurs, I am my own staff, help desk, accountant, trash-taker-outer, etc., in addition to all of the other demands of running a small business. It can be exhausting and incredibly isolating. Which is why you shouldn’t go out on your own unless you REALLY love what you’re doing. Q. Best or surprising lesson learned about the beauty biz? I thought I knew what was required to bring a product line to market, but to truly play with the big brands requires far more capital and man power than I could’ve ever imagined. Had I known, I would’ve never attempted this. For once in my life I’m glad I was ignorant. Q. What's your advice for other wanna-be product developers? How are you going to differentiate yourself in this over-saturated market? If you can answer that question confidently, then start talking to manufacturers. They are going to help you determine what’s possible, how much it’s going to cost, and how long it will take. If you still want to proceed after those findings, then get ready for a wild ride! Q. Which of your products will you miss most? The serum. It’s been the real game-changer for my skin. Younger customers would probably say the Face Spray, and more mature skin types would say the Shea Cream. Q. Have you stashed away a supply of your products for yourself?
Absolutely. I have a box of “factory seconds” for my mother and closest friends who’ve been on the By Elizabeth Dehn bandwagon from the very beginning. Thankfully the products have a shelf-life of at least two years. After that, we’re all screwed. Q. Oh dear. What will you replace them with? I was a facial oil junkie before this, so I can honestly say it’s going to be next to impossible to find something as equal parts hydrating and brightening as the serum. I’ve already started testing out potential replacements for the Shea Cream, and while there may be something as moisturizing on the market, it won’t have the soothing and anti-aging benefits that only shea butter can provide—especially not in the quantity we used. The Face Spray will be much easier—but nothing else will smell that yummy! Short answer: There are no replacements.