For Beauty or For Worse
Husband and wife duo break barriers in the beauty industry and aim to build an empire dedicated to offering an impressive total beauty experience to the salon industry.
It is no secret that the beauty industry is BOOMING. Resistant to economic downturns, poised for exponential growth, and boasting a never-ending montage of trends to drive sales as a result of social media, the industry offers infinite possibilities for business owners and producers able to differentiate themselves in the congested market. Layne and Miranda Coggins, the dynamic husband and wife duo behind The Lano Company, have done just that with Mirabella Beauty, Pure Cosmetics and Pure Lano, a trio of cosmetic and skincare brands that focus on an array of top trends driving sales in the beauty industry, including natural-based, clean formulas free of parabens, lead and silicone. But, true to the saying, this empire was not built in a day. In fact, it all started with lip balm.
Conceptualized in 2003 by Founder and Owner Miranda Coggins, The Lano Company was inspired by Coggins' life-long struggle with chronically chapped lips after discovering the healing properties of medical-grade lanolin prescribed by a doctor post pregnancy. In 2005, the absence of lanolin-based lip balms in the lip care market caused Coggins to construct her own formula comprised of natural moisturizing oils. The lip balm was a huge
success and quickly gained a grass roots following as an ultra-hydrating and healing agent for sufferers of chapped lips. While Miranda focused on building a brand and securing a stable position in the beauty market, The Lano Company operated out of the Coggins' basement in an effort to keep overhead costs low. Miranda hired local residents to aid in the filling and packaging of the lip balm. As the lip balm gained popularity, demand for additional lanolin-based lip products increased and in 2007 Miranda obliged with the release of Pure Illumination Light Up Lip Gloss. The lip gloss featured the same moisturizing formula as the lip balm, but with the addition of beautiful shimmer colorants packaged in an innovative LED-lit tube with a mirror on the side for easy application. While the eye-catching packaging proved its worth of capturing customer's interest, the ultra-moisturizing lip gloss kept customers coming back for more. In the year following the release of Pure Illumination Light Up Lip Gloss, The Lano Company became a family affair when, like countless others during the economic crisis of 2008, husband Layne Coggins, a successful CEO in the mortgage industry was left without a job. Recognizing Layne's wealth of knowledge in sales and business management, the husband and wife duo felt the assets Layne offered The Lano Company would help take the business to the next level and he joined as VP of Sales.
NO PAIN, NO GAIN
While exciting, steady growth brought the Coggins new obstacles as demand increased. Layne secured placement in the beauty industry's lead distributors, and the Coggins' basement headquarters proved unsubstantial to handle the production of inventory necessary to fill orders. In an effort to streamline the manufacturing landscape, the Coggins outsourced production and packaging to a third party, a feat that required Miranda to convert her formerly "cooktop" recipes to large-scale batch formulas. Replicating Miranda's ultra-hydrating lip balm and gloss formulas proved to be a daunting task for the third party when a nationwide shortage of medical-grade lanolin led to the filling of 20,000 glosses with sub-par lanolin. The foal odor and sticky consistency did not withstand the approval of the Coggins' faithful customer base, and it quickly became evident that The Lano Company would need to bring production back to Kansas City if the company was to survive the year. In an effort to save the business, the Coggins sought refuge in a friend's warehouse in an area known to locals as "the caves," a cold, dark storage facility for companies in the city. Miranda recruited everyone from stay-at-home moms to the homeless via Facebook, offering $10 an hour and pizza at noon. Working tirelessly, often-lengthy 12-hour days, five to six times a week, The Lano Company slowly renewed its reputation among customers and retailers alike as a trustworthy, family-owned business offering quality products.
THE NAME GAME
In the two years that followed, The Lano Company gained immense international exposure; boasting an impressive 8,000 retailers nationwide and thus securing a strong take in the professional beauty industry as a reputable brand. Realizing the company's true potential as a full cosmetics line, the Coggins sought to develop a name for the brand that would encompass their vision for The Lano Company long-term and withstand the ever-evolving and expanding business. At the same time, rapid expansion dictated the need for additional storage and workspace, ultimately leading the Coggins to abandon The Lano Company's home basement headquarters in 2010 for a much larger space on one of Kansas City's most well-known urban streets, Troost Ave. Quickly outgrowing the space within 16 months, The Lano Company settled in a 12,000 sq foot warehouse in Lees Summit, Missouri in late 2011.
Later that year, The Lano Company trademarked Pure Cosmetics in an effort to convey a clear message as a unified cosmetics line specializing in natural-based, clean ingredients. While the rebrand was well received by retailers and the line's high-quality formulas and on-trend palettes created a buzz among makeup connoisseurs, Pure Cosmetics' primary focus on makeup left Miranda feeling a void developing between the brand and the healing properties of lanolin. She felt called to revisit The Lano Company's roots and once again focus attention on the universal vision to aid sufferers of chronically chapped lips with lanolin-based skin and lip care. It quickly became evident that in order to continue her quest to educate customers on the healing benefits of lanolin, Miranda would need to go back to her core objective. But, how?
DEAL OR NO DEAL
In an effort to gain exposure in new market segments and boost press and awareness, The Lano Company applied to be positioned on a popular entrepreneurial reality television show. The company's story coupled with the Coggins' charisma captured the attention of producers, and in mid-2015 The Lano Company began filming. While the show itself proved to be an unsuccessful venture, the experience led to the Coggins embarking on a new journey in an effort to help grow and expand on the company's key product identifier: lanolin. In 2015, Pure Lano was developed to not only provide a range of products that utilized cutting-edge natural ingredients, including jojoba, vitamin E, and other natural oils but also market the healing and ultra-moisturizing benefits of lanolin.
Providing body, skin, lip and hair care, Pure Lano now provides products tailored specifically to the health of the body. The addition of another successful line to The Lano Company and an increase in inventory volume once again dictated a larger facility. All shipping and warehousing were moved to a third-party logistics company, and the sales and marketing team relocated to the lively Power and Light District. The Lano Company still calls this spacious, modern office space home today.
In the two years following Pure Lana's inception, the Coggins' primarily focused attention on steady sales and expansion to new retailers and distributors, however, an alluring business proposition led the duo to once again trust in their experience as entrepreneurs and explore a new avenue in the beauty industry: a full cosmetics line. In early 2017, The Lano Company added Mirabella Beauty to the company's portfolio. Mirabella's focus and dedication to creating naturally based, talc-free cosmetics paralleled The Lano Company's collective mission, and the Coggins wasted no time integrating Mirabella's tradition as an industry leader offering beautiful luxurious cosmetics with their knowledge of cost-efficient manufacturing and high-quality formulas. Aiming to bring life back to the Mirabella brand and restore Mirabella's reputation in the industry, the duo created a manufacturing landscape that would allow the company to make products more affordable while continuing to improve upon formulas and packaging to keep up with trends in the market. After reconstructing the line with a stunning new array of wearable shades, high-end packaging, and a new, lower pricing structure, the Coggins watched as the brand once again began to flourish, resecuring its stronghold as a leader in the beauty industry.
TRUE TO ROOTS
While The Lano Company's story has not always been an easy one, the Coggins' intuitive business nature and resilience have made them a force to be reckoned with in the beauty industry. From a "cook-top" formula to a budding parent company with three successful brands, the Coggins feel the sky is the limit for The Lano Company, and vow to embrace the obstacles and challenges that come with the ownership of an ever-evolving and growing business and constantly strive to continue the parent company's core goal: to provide consumers with clean, natural-based products that are luxurious, affordable and effective in the booming cosmetics and skincare industry.