DEFINITION of Lipstick Entrepreneurs

Lipstick entrepreneurs is a slang term that refers to independent, self-employed businesswomen who sell makeup or other female-oriented products and services. Lipstick entrepreneurs are viewed as leaders of the "femterprise" movement. In periods of economic crises there is often a surge of female-owned start-up businesses or "female enterprises," due in large part to the perceived job security, income potential and flexibility to accommodate a busy family schedule.

While these opportunities do provide women with a sense of autonomy and extra income, many of the business platforms rely on multi-level marketing schemes that have come under scrutiny by regulators and the public.

BREAKING DOWN Lipstick Entrepreneurs

Mary Kay, Avon, Rodan + Fields, Tupperware, and Arbonne are among of the most well-known female-oriented businesses that target lipstick entrepreneurs. Many of these businesses operate as multi-level marketing (MLM) schemes - meaning that individuals not only sell products but also recruit new saleswomen to sell as well. Those recruits then may recruit ever more individuals. All along the way, recruited members forfeit some of their sales commissions to pay those that recruited them and those that recruited their own recruiter, etc. Regulators and public revelations have criticized such platforms for making more income off of recruiting salespeople rather than selling actual goods or services. Nonetheless, these platforms remain popular, and there are several success stories of women doing very well and who are quite happy in this line of business.

Avon U.K. has identified eight primary types of lipstick entrepreneurs:
1. The Meritocrat – a formerly successful career woman who has chosen self-employment.
2. The Rescuer – a woman who pursues self-employment as a way to provide for her family, often as a result of her husband's job or income loss.
3. The Horizontal Juggler – most often a middle-aged woman who begins her own business in addition to managing childcare duties.
4. The Double Hitter - a woman who is able to compress a full-time job into part-time hours and run her own business on the side.
5. The Domestecutive – most often a woman already caring for young children at home who begins a home-based business to provide additional income for her family without having to incur costs for full-time childcare.
6. The Passionista – a woman who chooses to turn a hobby into her full-time personal business.
7. The Fledgling – a young woman, typically still in college or recently graduated, who opts to launch her own business either full-time or part-time to earn income and pay off student debt.<br/>8. The Freewheeler – a woman nearing, or in, retirement who chooses to start a business.