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e. l. f. Cosmetics was founded by Joseph Shamah and Scott Vincent Borba in June 2004. The duo originally met at a party in 2002; Shamah was a 23-year-old New York University business student. Borba was a 31-year-old Los Angeles beauty-industry veteran, responsible for previously launching brands such as Hard Candy cosmetics. Both were enthusiastic about an inexpensive, high-quality cosmetics line for women, and decided to form a company together. A few days after the party they sat down to brainstorm, and a business plan was created within months. Borba claims the idea originated from seeing women with expensive cars such as BMWs and Mercedes-Benzes buying bargain-price cosmetics at 99-cent stores in Los Angeles.