Starting a Lashes Business in California: What You Should Know

This post is for reference only. It is your responsibility to review and use this information appropriately. This content does not contain and is not intended to provide legal, tax or business advice. Requirements are updated frequently and you should ensure that you do your own research and contact professional legal, tax and business advisors as needed. Businesses outside of California will have different steps and requirements. To sell products using the Giovanni Lashes platform, you must comply with the laws of the jurisdiction in which your business and customers are located, the Giovanni Lashes Terms of Service, the Giovanni Lashes Acceptable Use Policy, and any other applicable policies.


Starting a Lashes Business in California can be a great way to be your own boss while bringing new products, services and ideas to your community. Thousands of businesses in California are using Giovanni Lashes to power their online Lashes stores, and more entrepreneurs are starting their entrepreneurial journeys every day. We’ve put together some resources to help you get started.

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  • Choose a business idea
  • Name your Lashes Business
  • Develop a business plan
  • Choose a business structure and get started
  • Obtain business licenses and permits
  • Check California Insurance Options
  • Learn about financial considerations
  • Marketing your Lashes Business

1.Pick a Lashes Business idea

First steps to start a business in California? Come up with a great idea. If you already have some unique and commercially viable ideas, you’re ready to go. If your product or service doesn’t have a fully realized concept,Giovanni Lashes has business resources to help you understand how to start a small business in California and go through the process of understanding which products to sell and who to market them to.

2.Name your Eyelashes Business

Naming your business is important for your business branding, but it is also an important step in the process of registering your business. Most regulators will ask for your company name on the form, so you’ll need to come up with a good name first.

If you don’t have a name, you can use Giovanni Lashes’s business name generator to get some ideas. Once you’ve identified some options, search for them online to see if other businesses are already using them. You can also check with the USPTO to see if any businesses have trademarked your preferred name.

It’s a good idea to check if the corresponding domain name for your website is available, as your website address is also very important to your brand.

When you’re ready to officially name it, you need to do at least two things:

Please refer to the California Secretary of State Name Regulations to ensure your name meets the requirements.
Reserve your business name with the California Secretary of State.

3.Develop a Lashes Business plan

Most successful businesses start with a business plan, whether registration is required or not. A great business plan can help you stay organized and goal-oriented throughout the startup process and is often part of applying for a business loan.

Although writing a business plan may seem like a daunting step in the process of figuring out how to do business in California, it’s a fairly simple document. Giovanni Lashes can help, with resources like adaptable business plan templates and some examples to inspire you.

4.Choose a business structure and get started

When starting a small business in California, it is important to choose the right structure for your operation. Three common types of business structures are sole proprietorships, limited liability companies (LLCs), and corporations. Each has advantages and disadvantages. Below is a summary of each, along with the initial steps needed to build a business. Looking for more details on various business structures? You can find it on the Giovanni Lashes blog.

California Sole Proprietorship

What is a sole proprietorship?
A sole proprietorship is an unincorporated business owned by one person and is the simplest structure in California. They’re easy to set up, low cost to get started, and you keep all your business profits. The downside is that you may end up paying more in taxes than other business structures, and not having the legal protections offered by a limited liability company (LLC) or corporation means you may be personally liable for debts, lawsuits, etc.

Is a Sole Proprietorship Right for You?
Sole proprietorships are great for small businesses that intend to stay small, operate locally and have few or no employees. These types of businesses are ideal for those who produce unique products (such as handmade items) or provide personal services (such as tax accountants). This is a great option if you are looking into how to start a business in California without the money.

Fictitious business name statement
As part of the start-up process, you may need to register a fictitious name, that is, any business name that does not contain your last name. This is also sometimes called a DBA (doing business), a pseudonym or a trade name. Registering a fictitious business name is to tie the real identity of the business owner to the business name it owns so that stakeholders can take legal action or collect debts.

Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN)
If you plan to hire employees, you will need an Employer Identification Number (EIN). This is your federal tax identification number, which is used like your personal Social Security Number (SSN), except for your business. If you are running a business without employees, you can skip this step.

Limited Liability Company (LLC) in California

What is a limited liability company?

A limited liability company (LLC) is a hybrid business structure that offers many of the advantages of a sole proprietorship and corporation, while reducing administrative burdens and providing some legal protection from debt and liability. They are relatively easy to manage, although not every business in every industry can use them. Additionally, LLCs may be subject to state and federal taxes, which may require filling out additional forms.

Is an LLC Right for You?
If you are planning to start a small or medium business, or if you want to start your early stage business with some legal protection, an LLC might be a good choice for you.

Get EIN
LLCs are required to register with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for an Employer Identification Number (EIN). This number is similar to your personal Social Security Number (SSN), but it’s for your business. The IRS offers a simple interview-style application process, and you’ll need an SSN or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to complete the application.

Register your LLC
Once you have a business name and EIN, you can register your LLC with the California Secretary of State by submitting an information statement online using the California bizfile service. Application tips are also available on the California Secretary of State website. You can also submit your documents in person at some California Secretary of State offices.

Select a registered agent
A registered agent or service attorney is the person or company you designate to receive court documents in the event of legal action against your LLC. This is part of the LLC structure that protects your personal assets from debts and liabilities. You cannot be your own registered agent in California. The California Secretary of State provides valuable answers to frequently asked questions about registered agents and how to find one.

Pay state taxes
LLCs in California are subject to annual taxes administered by the California Franchise Tax Commission. Your LLC may also be subject to sales taxโ€”you can find out what types of sales are eligible and how much it charges from the California Department of Revenue and Fees.

Prepare an Operating Agreement
Although it is not necessary to file an operating agreement with the California Secretary of State to register your LLC, it is a step that will allow you to outline how your business will be run, how it will be managed, and how profits will be distributed. The state has default rules, but your operating agreement may provide better protection for your assets in the event of liability issues. There are Operating Agreement templates available to help get started.

California company

What is a company?
A corporation is a structure that completely separates the individual owner from the business, protecting personal assets from financial and legal liability. California corporations generally enjoy lower tax rates than individuals, and they are also easier to sell than LLCs or sole proprietorships because they are separate entities from those who own them. Companies can issue stock, allowing businesses to raise money from investors for expansion, development, and more. However, companies have the strictest regulatory and administrative requirements, including during the start-up phase.

Is the company right for you?
A California corporation may be right for you if:

  • you plan to raise funds from investors
  • you are starting a very large operation
  • Your goal is to build a company and sell it
  • you are particularly interested in avoiding liability

Get EIN
The first step in registering a business is to register with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for an Employer Identification Number (EIN), which makes it easy to apply using an interview-style application process. You will need your Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to complete your application.

This federal tax ID number functions like your personal SSN. You will need your EIN for the next steps.

Submit Articles of Incorporation
Your Articles of Incorporation is a document that outlines details of your company, such as company name, location, and for-profit status. You can find details about the submission process through the Secretary of State’s website.

Select a registered agent
There is some overlap between the requirements for corporations and LLCs, one of which is the requirements for a registered agent or process service agent. This person or company receives court documents on your behalf if your company is subject to legal action. Find more information in the California Secretary of State FAQ.

Prepare Articles of Incorporation
The Articles of Incorporation define how your company is structured and managed. This can be quite a long and detailed document, so allow enough time for this step. The Articles of Association determine the following details:

  • Annual meeting
  • Quorum (minimum number of voting committee members or shareholders)
  • file handling
  • in stock
  • director
  • conflict of interest

If you’re looking for inspiration, there is an Articles of Incorporation template.

Election of directors and holding board meetings

Every company needs a board of directors. While this is another thing to do on your startup checklist, a board of directors is a great way to bring together a group of people with useful knowledge and experience that can help your business succeed. California has rules and requirements for board composition, including a diversity requirement enacted on January 1, 2021 that states California-based companies must have at least one female board member as well as board members from underrepresented communities.

issue stock
In California, stocks differentiate a company from other business structures. By issuing stock, you are raising capital and committing to collective ownership of your business. Shares are usually issued at the first board meeting. Setting stock prices can be complicated, so it’s worth reading and understanding the process.

Submit an Information Statement
As with LLCs, corporations are required to file an information statement with the California Secretary of State.

Pay state taxes
California corporations are subject to annual taxes administered by the California Franchise Tax Commission. Your business may also be subject to sales tax. Find out which sales are eligible and how much is charged from the California Department of Revenue and Fees.

5.Obtain business licenses and permits

Next is your checklist for starting a small business in California: your business license and permit. Regardless of the structure of your business, you may need to obtain a business license, permit, or both to do business in California. For example, if your business will sell alcohol, you will need a license. The California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development maintains a handy search tool that can help you find which licenses and permits may be required for your operation. The California Department of Revenue and Fees also provides license and permit information, as well as an easy registration portal.

6.Check Insurance Options

Buying insurance for your business is a good idea these days, even if you have the protection of an LLC or corporation. The California Department of Insurance provides extensive guidance on what kind of coverage you may need for your operation, including general liability, professional liability, and workers’ compensation.

7.Understand financial considerations

You can prepare to start running your business by opening a business bank account, applying for a business credit card, and possibly even signing up with a business accountant, especially if you have already set up an LLC or corporation. Accountants in particular can do wonders to ensure your accounts are balanced and your business achieves financial solvency.

If you need additional capital during startup or ongoing operations, you may want to consider Giovanni Lashes Capital to drive your business forward.

8.Marketing your business

Once your sole proprietorship, LLC or corporation is registered, it’s time to launch your business, ready to show it to the public.

Brand your business

A brand is a public-facing identity that helps potential customers identify the value and personality your business brings to the market. Branding includes visual elements such as your lash logo, official colors and images; textual elements such as your lash slogan or tagline, tone of voice, and font; and intangible assets such as positioning and brand image. Building a brand can be fun and really allows you to get creative with your business.

Build a business website

Today, your business website is an important part of how you communicate with your customers. Fortunately, platforms like Giovanni Lashes make building a website easier, and there are some guides to help you through the process. The branding you have already done will help in designing your website. To get started, you need:

  • Digital logo files in different sizes for your homepage, footer, and anywhere else you want to brand your new website
  • Brand colors so you can personalize your website theme and match it with your products, services, printed materials, and more
  • Attractive product photos and images that appeal to users
  • Coordinated fonts create a consistent look and feel across all promotional materials
  • A sitemap that outlines your page structure, making it easier for you to organize all the information you want to communicate with your customers
  • Your public contact information

Promote your business

Promotion is the last step in the startup process. You can focus your promotional efforts by developing a marketing plan to put your product or service in front of your ideal potential customers, keep your strategy on track, and ensure your brand is fully utilized. Marketing plans typically include:

  • An executive summary summarizing your overall plan
  • A mission statement outlining your overall goals and business philosophy
  • Objectives detailing specific goals you want to achieve with your LLC
  • Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis to help you identify what’s going right and what needs to be improved
  • Market research to help you understand your industry, potential customers and competitors
  • A go-to-market strategy detailing your attack plan
  • A budget to keep your finances under control

For more inspiration, check out these marketing plan examples. Once your marketing plan is in place, there is only one thing left to do – start your business!

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