Laura Hunter knew she had a multi-million-dollar idea on her hands, even as she was creating magnetic eyeliner in her family's bathroom.
Two years later, turns out she was right.
"I was really cocky," she said. "I was just so sure, so sure, that we would hit these numbers."
Hunter's magnetic eyeliner and magnetic eyelash startup LashLiner went from $110,000 in annual revenue in 2018 to $15 million this year. Of that, $13 million has come in in the last half of 2019, Hunter said.
Everett-based LashLiner employs 32 people and its Tori Belle Cosmetics subsidiary uses its 12,000 independent contractors, like social media influencers, to show and sell the product. The company has spent more than $1 million on ads that are featured on social media sites like Facebook.
LashLiner really took off when Tati Westbrook, a Seattle native, featured the product on her Youtube page in March. She called the product “witchcraft” and “revolutionary” on a video that’s been viewed more than 2.1 million times.
Before her company took off, Hunter had a rough few years. Her photography business was declining and she didn't know why. It wasn't long before the former Ms. World found her face fraudulently tied to a right-wing political website called Conservative Daily Review, which was attributing articles to her name and image, a lawsuit she filed in 2017 said.
Now she and co-founder Bob Kitzberger face different problems, like maintaining stock for the more than 300,000 orders LineLasher has received and staffing new roles. Hunter is looking to hire people specialized in videography, graphics, marketing, IT, finance and office management as well as janitorial staff and forklift drivers.
“Scaling is such a challenge,” she said.
LashLiner's executive team includes a former Amazon employee as its senior director of customer experience and has others from cosmetics companies like Butter London and Younique and nail company JamBerry.
The company is headquartered in a 4,000-square-foot Everett office, but plans to move into a 26,000-square-foot space in Woodinville in January.
LashLiner used the nearly $58,000 it raised through a Kickstarter campaign last year to invest in inventory of the magnetic eyeliner and eyelash product that was invented in February 2018.
After the Kickstarter campaign, Hunter ordered 100,000 lashes and 100,000 eyeliner tubes. The company has run out several times, she said.
The product is manufactured in China but will be moving its business to the United States next year, Hunter said.