Posted on September 7, 2016
“I don’t care at all what people think of me,” says 19-year-old entrepreneur and makeup artist Nick Raehsler. Successful beyond his years, this rising industry star is always reminding people, “Never let anyone tell you how you need to look!”
That’s an unexpected message from a man who’s making a living selling makeup and skin care products. But, then again, Nick’s hardly your typical impresario.
“I started a makeup line because I’ve always loved makeup,” Nick says, adding, “I was so obsessed with makeup that, in first grade, I would go to school with glitter nail polish on.”
Nick’s passion escalated from there. In middle school, in his hometown of River Falls, Wisconsin this budding businessman learned about eBay — and earned extra cash hawking clearance items procured from local cosmetic stores, upselling them by fifty cents or a dollar.
After that, Nick briefly owned an iPhone repair store in River Falls’ downtown shopping district. “I helped older people with technology and iPhone repairs,” he explains, noting that he was eventually asked to join the board of ambassadors for his Chamber of Commerce, which viewed him as a young millennial leader.
When Nick took a front desk job at a medical spa during his sophomore year in high school, he quickly forged a bond with the owners, Crystal and Dr. Tim Knotek. Unhappy with their current cosmetic line, the trio “jumbled on the idea of creating a line,” Nick explains.
He was so excited about the prospect that he flew to Ft. Lauderdale prior to launching to meet with the company’s manufacturer, Mana Products. Thing was, Nick wasn’t old enough to check into a hotel on his own, so his mom had to accompany him to Florida.
In 2014, Nick, Crystal and Tim made it official, and opened KLASS Beauty. The name, by the way, is a play on the nontraditional spelling of Nick’s first name, Nickolas. It jived perfectly with the company’s classy mission of delivering high-quality, all-natural products to consumers.
“It’s a skincare-based line that’s good for our clientele’s skin,” Nick says. Products contain “a combination of A, C and E vitamins,” he continues; the ingredients are always paraben-free and hypoallergenic, and the company is in the process of becoming vegan and gluten-free, too.
KLASS Beauty does the whole gamete – skincare included – but the company’s focuses are airbrush foundations and liquid lipsticks. In fact, KLASS Beauty will debut its new liquid matte lipstick at next week’s Sola Sessions in Orange County – on Monday, September 12 – where Nick will be applying makeup for Sola executives, and conducting demonstrations onstage for 300 attendees.
There’s a lot to love about KLASS products; what’s really special, though, is the company’s charitable giving program, dubbed the KLASS Act Foundation. “Tim, our CFO, developed that idea,” Nick says, adding, “He and Crystal didn’t want to do a cosmetic line unless we were also doing something to give back.”
For every KLASS Beauty product purchased, the KLASS Act Foundation donates an additional item to an organization sponsoring women living with domestic violence. What’s more, 5 percent of all service revenue goes to the KLASS Act Foundation, too.
Outside of the company, Nick has another pet project: running anti-bullying campaigns on social media, particularly Facebook. This latter endeavor is how Nick shows others his radiant way of being. “My big motto,” says Nick, “is that you must compliment three people every day in order to live a happy life.”
Business was already booming when KLASS Beauty moved into its Sola Salons Woodbury studio in February of 2016. Prior to teaming up with Sola, Nick and his business partners intended to build a cosmetics store inside a medical spa. “But,” Nick says, “Our path kind of changed.”
Building a brick-and-mortar from the ground up would have been risky. Sola, then, offered a safer investment. “Sola provides you with everything you need, right down to the wall color,” Nick says, adding, “This was a way to try out our company without any financial risk.”
And, it’s working. Nick does makeup application occasionally, and employs a staff for regulars and walk-ins. The studio also functions as a retail store for KLASS Beauty products. For the company, though, Sola is more than a storefront; it’s an avenue toward large-scale branding and visibility.
Operating in a building with forty other salons, KLASS Beauty has capitalized on referrals, attracting vast networks of individual clients from nearby and adjacent studios. And, that’s only the beginning.
“There have also been opportunities for national promotion,” Nick explains. Through the Sola Sessions in Minnesota last April, for example, KLASS Beauty struck a deal with Sola Salons Milwaukee, and the company’s currently in cahoots with another Sola location, too.
“We have a retail side and a wholesale side for our brand,” Nick clarifies. KLASS Beauty’s startup costs are lower than the competition, and that’s enticing to small business owners who want to carry a line.
As for Nick, his vision is to see KLASS Beauty sold not just nationally, but internationally — all while perpetuating the charitable mission it was founded on. “We plan on expanding into more Solas, and possibly being a franchising business someday,” Nick adds. Here’s to a class act with unlimited potential!