Loyola MBA students launch cosmetics distribution company in Maryland
When Christian Dean entered the Executive MBA program at Loyola University Maryland’s Sellinger School of Business in 2013, he hadn’t planned to start his own business. A year later, he co-founded BAM BrandsUSA to market and distribute two German makeup brands.
“After my first semester at Sellinger, I was sitting in class one Saturday and it dawned on me: we have all these knowledgeable professors and
guest speakers,” Dean said. “Why not use these resources, all this knowledge and course work to start a business? If we had to pay for the knowledge and experience these professors have on a consulting basis, we could never afford it.”
Around the same time, Dean met two of his current business partners for the first time at a bar in Baltimore. One had experience in the cosmetics industry and, six months later, mentioned the opportunity to distribute Make up Factory and BeYu products in the United States. They secured distribution rights in 2014 and formed BAM BrandsUSA, which now consists of five partners including Dean’s Sellinger School classmates Kevin Malone and Lisa Hanes.
“The Executive MBA program at Loyola fostered the confidence we needed to be entrepreneurs, and the connections made at Sellinger have been vital. Even our fellow classmates have helped us make connections in Maryland. Everyone from the program director to the faculty has been a part of our success,” Dean said.
Dean and his partners consulted with Sellinger professors Mark Johnson, Jason Zhang and Terry Zhao in forming BAM BrandsUSA. Zhang mentored the partners through the summer, lending them his expertise in developing a marketing framework, and Johnson met with them on a Sunday to help them arrange financing and complete their business plan.
The partners also consulted with Elliott King, chair of Loyola’s communication department. Support from professors, Dean said, has been critical to the company’s strategic growth.
BAM BrandsUSA secured its first market location earlier this year. Salamander Hotels & Resorts, which consists of upscale destinations along the East Coast, will sell Make up Factory products in its spas. Other spas in Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey and Florida will also sell Make up Factory products. In addition, Dean and his partners launched BeYu products on CVS.com and are talking with other large retailers.
Establishing these locations as part of leading a startup distribution company, Dean said, allows him to use the education he received at Sellinger.
“The skills I’ve learned are vast. From classes in finance, accounting, leadership operations, strategy and marketing, we now have a foundation for making better informed decisions. For me, being a strong effective leader is important. Sellinger has given me the tools to accomplish this.”