Melissa Juried Kriebel
Many business owners would want to launch their products in a store in the hopes of catching the customer’s attention, but Kerrie Roberts from Antrim has taken a different direction for her small business venture — a slightly unconventional one.
he 23-year-old owner of the brand ‘Glamorously Gorgeous’ has decided to sell her cosmetic products, some of which she produces herself at home, via a vending machine in what is one of the first of its kind in Northern Ireland.
The machine is located in north Belfast’s Abbey Centre and was purchased by Kerrie herself after saving money to do “something different” for her brand.
Now, instead of housing soft drinks and snacks, the machine is home to cosmetic brushes, make-up removal cushions, and eyebrow/lash serums, and more, beginning at a price of just £1.
“I knew I wanted to do something unique with the products,” explained Kerrie, who began her career in make-up after struggling with acne at a young age. “I spent a long time researching different things to do.
“I thought to myself that a vending machine is something where someone goes to get something that they need.”
She launched her brand in December last year, selling products online and highlighting them on social media including TikTok.
Although the make-up world is an already crowded market, Kerrie said launching her brand was a more personal decision to help people.
“People can be self-conscious with low self-esteem, and when I was going through school, people would cake themselves in make-up which can take natural beauty away with no fault of their own. That’s what the beauty industry can be.
“I am someone who is incredibly anxious and I do struggle with my mental health, so I began my career in make-up because my jobs in the past always involved caring for other people and I just wanted to start to strip it back and do something which involved working on myself.”
Kerrie says selling her products through a vending machine is about helping people find something they need, instead of always going into a shop.
“I just wanted it to be available for all different types of people who just want to come and get something,” she said.
When asked about the customer base she is aiming the products in the hot-pink coloured machine towards, Kerrie said a wide range of people who “the machine might catch the eye of when walking through the doors of the shopping centre”.
“It’s for people like single mums or people who don’t have a lot of money and just want to treat themselves to something,” she said.
Kerrie says she deliberately sought out Abbey Centre, thinking the centre would be a good place for her products.
“I thought a lot about placement and I walked around Abbey Centre and thought there was a bit of a gap there, especially at the front doors,” she said, adding that she contacted the shopping centre who said she were “very supportive”.
The machine went live on Sunday, with Kerrie saying it’s already seen considerable interest, with many people stopping to look at it.
She hopes the machine is the start of something bigger and can act as a launching pad for more make-up-themed events in shops.
“I hope in the future to do a pop-up shop or something like that, I’d love to demonstrate the products for people who are interested or need advice,” she added.