Aishetu Fatima Dozie, founder and CEO of Bossy Cosmetics, decided it was time for a second act.
She launched her own business after spending 20 years in a soaring global career in investment banking, handling multimillion-dollar transactions in places such as the United States, Sub-Saharan Africa, and South America.
Starting in the late 1990s, she worked for several financial powerhouses, including Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and the World Bank. She recalls, “I got to see the world, and it was fun!”
Her worldwide journey ended after Dozie married, had three sons, and focused on building a family. Dozie says she struggled with “the imposter syndrome” daily, feeling successful some days and a failure on others. Trying to manage her home, family, and work became exhaustive.
These obstacles led Dozier to launch Bossy Cosmetics in 2018. Based in Palo Alto, California, Bossy Cosmetics sells more than 40 products in the cosmetics and beauty categories. The line includes lipsticks, lip gloss, eyeshadows, eyeliners, blush, and highlighters. In the future, she plans to offer more color cosmetics products, as well as skincare items.
Along with her focus on vegan and animal cruelty-free products, Dozie says her cosmetics inspire confidence in ambitious women. Dozie says Bossy Cosmetics’ mission is: “Empowering women to look, feel, and do good in the world. We want our customers to feel as amazing as they look so that they can go out into the world and surpass their goals and do so with confidence.” This approach helps distinguish her company from competitors.
To further support her customers, Dozie recently developed Beauty Meets Wisdom, an online executive coaching program that helps women scale up their business, life, or career goals.
Overcoming hurdles and establishing the business
Today, Bossy Cosmetics is flourishing in the $50 billion U.S. cosmetics industry.
Dozie says launching Bossy Cosmetics was no easy feat in this highly competitive sector. The former finance professional had to conquer her self-doubt before turning her focus to startup capital.
At first, she wasn’t able to find a venture capital firm to invest in her company but found success by meeting with angel investors. As a result of her persistence, she raised over $1.1 million in the first half of 2022. “I just kept building and staying close to our customers,” she says. “They funded the business in the earliest stages.”
With her new funding, she reinvested the money into new product development. “It’s been that way since, and I love the way we are building, learning, and developing over time. We aren’t in a rush to create something that won’t last, so I’d rather take it slow and create a brand that will last centuries.”
Focusing on global growth
Her products are sold in the U.S. on her website, in Amazon’s store, and in other outlets. Dozie says her business produced $2 million in gross sales in 2022—amazingly, seven times greater than 2021 gross sales. Now, she hopes to reach $5 million in gross sales in 2023, anticipating gains derived from new product launches, entry into additional retail stores, and global expansion.
To further accelerate growth, Dozie plans to launch four new product collections. She hopes to expand into the United Kingdom this year and start selling her products at a prestige beauty retailer. “We have some amazing plans for 2023 and can’t wait to watch them unfold.”
Expanding with Amazon
Dozie says another strategy is Bossy Cosmetics’ development as an omnichannel business, leveraging various online and offline channels where ambitious women love to shop for new beauty products. She asserts that Amazon is a vital partner because “our customer is already shopping heavily” in the online store. “Just being there means you will meet thousands of potential shoppers interested in your exact product.”
Dozie says she began partnering with Amazon in 2020, enabling her to boost exposure in various ways. In 2021, her crowning achievement was Bossy Cosmetics being selected as one of Oprah’s Favorite Things. In 2022, Bossy Cosmetics was also chosen to be a part of Amazon’s Small Business Gift Guide, connecting her brand and products with “millions of shoppers!” during the holiday season.
Additionally, Bossy Cosmetics was one of the brands invited to pilot Amazon’s Buy with Prime program last year. Calling it a “game-changer for us,” Dozie mentioned it enabled her business to significantly increase conversion rates on its website and offer free and fast shipping via Prime. “Being able to keep customers on our site and offer them the unique services that have traditionally only been offered within the Prime space is an excellent differentiator against our competitors.”
Moreover, Bossy Cosmetics participated in Amazon’s Black Business Accelerator (BBA), a $150 million commitment over four years to help build sustainable diversity and provide growth opportunities for Black-owned businesses. Dozie noted her company also joined Amazon Launchpad last year, allowing it to give the brand more visibility across Amazon.
So, what is next for Bossy Cosmetics? “Our brand has a very global appeal to it, and our goal is for the brand to be available in Europe, South America, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Geographical expansion, as well as retail distribution expansion, is front and center for us, and we’re currently exploring several exciting opportunities.”