You've probably never heard of Zoe Boikou, but if you're a make-up manic - chances are you've helped the young entrepreneur make millions from a business that started in her lounge room.

It started in 2008, when a building frustration over the lack of high quality and affordable make-up brushes in Germany, sent her on the search for something better elsewhere.

"No shop sold any affordable and quality make-up brushes," Boikou, the founder of global make-up brand ZOEVAtold from Germany.

"I wasn't in a position where I could spend a lot of money, and so I sat down and thought about how I could change the situation.


"I had no history in make-up, and no experience in developing brushes. But I knew what I liked, and I appreciated good products."

Taking her search for the perfect brush overseas, Boikou came across a business-to-business company in Canada that seemed to "fulfil in part" what she was looking for in a make-up brush.

"I bought a few of these brushes in 2008 and trialled and tested them for myself," she said.

"I ordered some more online, and began to sell the brushes through an account on eBay."

It was a slow burn for Boikou to start making a significant income off the brushes initially.

Born in Thessaloniki, Greece - and moving with her family to Germany in 1990 - she didn't come from a cosmetic background.

When she was just 15, she started learning how to become an office administrator and customer service trainer for a collectables company, which she continued to do until her eBay store started to boom.

"When the sales started to get bigger about three years after I started the store, I had to find a manufacturer who could include a logo and make the brushes look more professional," she said.


"After some YouTube [beauty blogger] recommendations, the sales of the brushes started to get overwhelming.

"It's a very tough world [cosmetics] but I was very persistent, and I would read a lot. I had to teach myself how this world works."

Following the growing success of her one-person eBay business, Boikou decided to make the jump and move away from her former suppliers in Canada, and start manufacturing with a company in China who could create her "ideal types of brushes".

"It took two to three years, but my brushes started to get very popular around the same time as online make-up tutorials" Boikou said.

"At the time, I didn't realise how a product could be marketed through social media. I kept wondering how my business was growing each day with more and more orders. That's when I realised lots of people were buying the products, and recommending them on YouTube and other social media outlets, and their followers wanted to buy my products as well."

Boikou, who says she has a "100 per cent hands on involvement with the company" has seen her initial 10 brush collection grow to an expansive 67 pieces.

The ZOEVA rose gold brush set, which is sold exclusively through Australian Sephora outlets, makes up the top three "most sold" products across the country.

According to Boikou, the ZOEVA brushes pass through at least 30 stages of production to create just one tool, and are made using goat hair.

In 2016, just a year after making their debut in Australia - the brand had their biggest year to date.

"I was selling two digit numbers monthly when I first started, and in 2016 we sold over five million brushes globally," she said.

Following the success of the brushes, the company moved into pressed powders, eyeshadow and brow palettes.

The beauty and cosmetic industry continues to soar in the Australian market, with the strongest-performing categories being sun care, skin care and colour cosmetics - according to 2015/16 statistics from Euromonitor.

Social media has had a strong influence on beauty and personal care in Australia, with consumers, particularly from the younger generation, increasingly living their lives online.

"Social media acts as a cost-effective, brand-building tool for companies, allowing them to increase brand-awareness, share beauty tips and announce new product launches," the summary read.

"Many companies have built a strong base of social media followers, supporting growth and encouraging brand loyalty. Social media is impacting consumer behaviour, with consumers frequently sharing their product experiences and looking to achieve the perfect and flawless look in images they share.

"An obsession with image and a desire to look photo-ready at all times has led to manufacturers launching products targeting this trend."

Boikou said the Australian cosmetic consumer is "more open minded and fashion driven" which allows for ZOEVA to have more fun with the product launched in our stores.

"Launching in Australia in 2015, we already had a lot of orders online for the product," she said.

"We were shipping from Frankfurt to Australia, so we had a fan base before we even officially arrived in store."

While brushes remain the core business of ZOEVA, coloured cosmetics are quickly becoming an imperative part of the business model - which currently has 60 employees globally.

"The eye shadow palettes are very popular" Boikou said.

"But we like to keep our product very simple. So all we have is the brushes, the eyeshadow palettes, and now experimenting with the strobe highlighting gel and lip products. We don't offer everything, because we want to focus on just a few so we get them right.

"Our attention to detail and design is something very special about ZOEVA."