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You may have just started experimenting with homemade cosmetics recipes or have experience making products for friends and family. If you want to take your hobby to the next level, you’ve probably wondered, “Can I make and sell my own beauty products?” No matter where you are in your DIY beauty journey, the answer is yes.
The UK beauty industry is huge. According to comparison platform Finder, it was worth £27 billion as of 2020, ranking as the seventh-largest cosmetics market globally. This means there’s plenty of competition out there for new brands and products, but also lots of opportunities to tap into the market with something new.
Anyone can make and sell beauty products, whether they’re doing it by hand from their kitchen or manufacturing on a larger scale. If you’re thinking about officially launching your line of homemade moisturisers or wondering whether it’s time to share your natural skincare brand with the world, you’ve come to the right place. Read on for our expert tips to help you get started.
When selling any product, the first step is to figure out who your market is. This is especially important in the beauty industry, where so many different cosmetic products vie for the customers’ attention. Start by thinking about your product’s niche, work out what makes it different from what’s already out there and think carefully about the group of customers most likely to buy into what you’re selling. Targeting a specific group of customers is vital at the beginning of your journey, as it will be easier to make key decisions. You can always expand your business later to target new market segments.
When thinking about your product and target market in these early stages, it may help to ask yourself these questions:
If you’ve not already got a finished product, now’s when you’ll need to get to know different ingredients and experiment with formulas. Consider how each of your ingredients interacts with one another and the properties or benefits that they bring to your product.
If you’re starting out, a natural skincare course will arm you with the knowledge needed to make a key range of products and give you an understanding of some of the raw materials used within the beauty industry.
You may want to make a facial moisturiser, an exciting new bath bomb, a luxurious body lotion or a new range of mineral makeup. There's no reason you can’t make your product work – you just need to think about making it unique and perfect the formula.
Often, when asking that initial question, “Can I make and sell my own beauty products?” fledgling beauty biz owners have a super ambitious goal in mind. While it’s good to aim high, you also need to be realistic as you attempt to break into this incredibly competitive market.
Starting with a small capsule collection of products is sensible as it will be much easier to get it right from the beginning, limiting the amount of formulating, testing, manufacturing and marketing you’ll need to do. Give yourself the best chance of success by reigning yourself in a little, keeping your other great ideas for future product launches.
Once you’ve finished tweaking your formulas, ensure that they’ve been properly tested before you move onto the next stage. Your final products must be safe and stable, plus they’ll need to abide by the cosmetic regulations in the country where you plan to sell.
Each region will have its own laws around how cosmetics must be manufactured, tested, labelled and marketed, so you’ll need to do a lot of research into these regulations to ensure your products and practices are legal and safe.
If you plan to sell beauty products in England, Wales and Scotland, they must comply with the UK Regulation for cosmetics (Schedule 34 of the Product Safety and Metrology Statutory Instrument). If you’re selling products in Northern Ireland, they must comply with Regulation EC 1223/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 November 2009 on cosmetic products.
The Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association (CTPA) is a valuable source of information. Use their help tool to access a variety of useful resources.
Your formulas are in the final stages, so what’s next? Now, you need to build your brand. Consider the feeling you want customers to have when engaging with you and your products. Use this to make decisions about voice, branding, packaging and your website if you’ll be using one.
You must figure out how to communicate your brand values and create a unique customer experience, as this will play a massive part in the marketing of your products. The brand you create should be showcased online, on social media, on the packaging and in any advertising to build brand awareness and tell a story.
In the beauty industry, packaging serves multiple purposes. Not only is it used to represent your brand, market your product and list any ingredients, but it’s also a vessel for your formula. This means you’ll need to choose the correct container to keep it safe, stable and easy to dispense.
You’ll need to find a trusted packaging supplier and source hygienic containers that fit their purpose. Depending on your product, your packaging may need to protect it during shipping, double as an applicator or keep it safe from contamination. Be sure to test your packaging as well as the formula itself, ensuring that it does its job well before you get to the marketing stage.
Your beauty business is just as valid whether you sell at local markets, on social media, through a website or in a brick-and-mortar store. Decide how you’d like to start and make the necessary arrangements to get set up. You may decide to start small and sell locally before moving onto other platforms as your business grows.
If your brand’s differentiator is that it’s affordable or luxury, you’ll have already put a lot of thought into the price you’ll be charging. If you’re still unsure at this point, you’ll need to get clear on pricing now.
Think about your production costs, how many sales you’d need to generate to cover these, and where you want your products to sit on the affordability scale compared to competitors. Additional market research may be helpful at this stage.
Emerging beauty brands must face the challenge of competing for attention in a saturated market, so you should start by thinking back to your target market and find out where the best places are to reach them. Has previous market research provided you with any data that might be helpful?
The cosmetics industry was an early adopter of social media marketing, with 2016 research from Statista showing that 96% of beauty brands already had an Instagram profile at this time. The industry has continued to adapt its strategy in this space, partnering with other brands, blogs and beauty influencers for greater exposure.
Social media is an excellent place to start for any new brand, but you should also experiment with other marketing campaigns to find out what works for you.
Shipping beauty products comes with its own set of challenges, especially with delicate products such as makeup or fragile packaging such as glass or plastics. It’s advisable to run multiple test orders before fulfilling your first sale, ensuring that your customers have a positive experience from the outset.
As well as the design and practicality of your packaging, you’ll also need to consider your returns policy, ensuring that it’s a seamless process for everyone involved. Finally, you’ll need to set up strong customer service processes to keep purchasers updated, track orders and make it easy for customers to contact a representative.
You’re finally ready to launch your new products – congratulations! Take a leap of faith and start making those sales.
Remember, there are many things to learn when starting a new business, so everything doesn’t have to be perfect right away. As you learn more about the process and get a greater insight into your customers, you’ll grow and improve as a small biz, making key changes along the way.
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These notes are not meant to replace medical guidance and you should seek the advice of your doctor for your health matters. The formulae are given in good faith and are intended for educational purposes only. They have not been evaluated or tested in any way and Aromantic Ltd. makes no claim as to their effectiveness. It is up to the reader to ensure that any products they produce from these recipes are safe to use, and if relevant, compliant under current cosmetic regulations.
For more information and guidance on making your own skin care products please see Aromantic's books and eBooks in our Publications section.
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