Sisters enter cosmetics business



Maverick PR photos


Identical twins and entrepreneurs Jenny, left, and Fiona Lees are the creators behind the new line of lip gloss, Balmshell, which is on sale at Holt Renfrew stores across Canada.

Jenny and Fiona Lees share more than their appearance. With an identical mindset and passion, the twin sisters took advantage of their close bond and leapt into the cosmetic world.

With no experience in the industry and only a love of cosmetics on their side, the two self-confessed “cosmetic junkies” are now launching their balmy passion to the world.

Last Wednesday, Jenny and Fiona, both 28, released Balmshell — their non-sticky, moisturizing line of lip gloss. Available exclusively at Holt Renfrew stores across Canada, the gloss comes in 10 sheer but sparkly shades to match every girl's personality.

Which Balmshell best represents you? This new line of lip gloss comes in 10 distinct shades, each with its own story line and floating artwork designed by Spanish illustrator Mar Murube.

Five years ago, the two Toronto natives thought the idea of a lip gloss line was “cute.” But Fiona said they soon fell in love with the concept and became passionate about launching their business model.

However, the girls concede it has not been a smooth ride getting there.

“People liked to tell us how many new businesses fail,” Fiona said, “or they would joke and say, ‘What if Balmshell bombs?’ ”

But challenges like these only kept the girls motivated. “Challenges make you feel closer to your product,” Jenny said, “and you learn the most when you’re being challenged.”

With inspiration from industry professionals from MAC Cosmetics and Elizabeth Arden, the girls said they were able to learn from others’ experiences and apply them to their own. And with this guidance and knowledge, the girls delved into the Balmshell world.

Since the beginning, Fiona and Jenny have been involved in every stage of their product’s development. From working with a chemist to selecting an artist, and from choosing the plastics to packaging the first orders, the girls were there. “When you have an idea you need to see it through to the end,” Jenny said.

But lip gloss won’t be the end for Jenny and Fiona. Eventually, the girls would like to launch an entire cosmetic line.

And for those following in their footsteps, the girls advise young entrepreneurs to think outside the box and ask lots of questions.

“We got through challenges by asking questions where others wouldn’t,” said Jenny.

“Many people hit a roadblock and stop,” added Fiona, “but from every roadblock, there’s always a new path to be created.”

To unleash your inner Balmshell, visit www for product information. The glosses retail for $25 at

Holt Renfrew locations across Canada, as well as four Selfridges locations in the U.K.