Advice on selling your products

Unknown Member
edited February 2014 in Starting a cosmetic line
Hello,

I have recently started making my own anti-aging product line in DC, and I was wondering if you all had any advice on how you actually started selling your products. Right now I just have a facial moisturizer but I would like to expand.

Any and all advice and connections would be helpful

Comments

  • mikebavingtonmikebavington Member
    edited February 2014
    You could approach wholesalers in your area and sell them on the idea of carrying your product. They would then offer it to their customers and through the supply chain, you would get shelf space in the market.

    In order to find these wholesalers, look through your local library NAICS reference books. NAICS stands for North American Industry Classification System. It segments businesses based upon their primary business activity and that is the easiest way to find suitable business partners.

    You might also search for flea market events and approach vendors at each flea market which already sell cosmetic products. Ask those vendors to carry your product.





     
  • @mikebavington Hi Mike,

    First of all, thank you for the kind suggestion to @vnatale87. I think it is good advice on how to start out. I am trying to follow that advice as well, but I am encountering some difficulties.

    In particular I am trying to look up wholesalers in my state (Indiana), but I cannot seem to figure out how to use NAICS to obtain a list of cosmetic merchant wholesalers (code# 424210)? Were I to be able to locate this list of industry businesses, I would then like to be able to narrow it by location. Is this possible? Could you please, as a very kind favor, provide a link if available?

    Thank you for your help. I am looking forward to your feedback.
  • Any retail outlet is going to want a bar-coded product, so you might investigate the procedure for registering bar codes and add a code to the label.
    Cosmetic Brand Creation. Concept to name to IMPI search to logo and brand registration. In-house graphic design inc. Pantone specs. Cosmetic label and box design & graphics.
  • Chemist77Chemist77 Member, PCF student
    What about product registration from local concerned authority???? Who is gonna do that, the producer or seller????
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    You can purchase barcodes from GS1 ... www.gs1.org ... the national registry for barcodes.

    Cosmetics do not need approval from any regulatory agency for marketing, but you do need to make sure you follow the FDA labeling requirements.

    If you desire, you can register your manufacturing facility and products with the FDA VCRP (Voluntary Cosmetics Registration Program).  You will be given an FDA VCRP registration number for your facility.  But, this is entirely a voluntary program.  It does help when approaching distributors and retailers if your facility and products are registered with the FDA VCRP.

    You will also need to present the results of your preservative efficacy testing for any distributor to be interested in carrying your product.
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • This is a very complicated topic and one that I am dealing with myself. I think you need to consider where you want to end up. My own progress with our small company has been to first develop a range of tested products and then to decide to enter the larger market.

    The first main issue is branding. Creating a brand has taken a lot of time, even with support from local government. The brand name has to be submitted and is liable to challenge from any names vaguely similar. If you want quick brand name approval you will have to pick something really unique. My own brand isn't finally approved yet.

    Secondly is how customers buy in your country. If (as in the UK for instance) people are really used to buying online, then you don't really need to get into a retail environment but could market entirely online using a delivery service. This approach requires excellent Web skills and you'll almost certainly need a branding and graphics designer plus a shopping platform (e.g. Shopify)

    In my country people haven't begun buying online yet but we decided to invest in an online shopping system anyway so as to stay ahead of the curve.

    A startup approach we have used is to participate in Sunday markets and shows. This allows test marketing of your products in small quantities without the risk of having a product recall if something goes wrong. I also recommend contacting beauty bloggers and sending samples to them - ONLY when you are very confident and have great customer feedback because if you get it wrong the adverse Web publicity can put you out of business.

    You need to consider your market position against the herd. As an example of how to do it wrongly, I wasted a lot of time creating a super nice hand soap in a 250mL soap-dispenser (pump) bottle. The minimum price we could sell it at was $4.50 (because of the expensive package) and you can find similar items in a supermarket for around $1. Of course, the contents are SLS/SLeS/CAPB salt thickened and nowhere near as nice, but you know that price will beat customer benefit perception every time. It doesn't make sense for me to design products like that because I can't afford to buy 10,000 containers, 10,000 labels and 500 Kg of surfactants or for that matter put all that together and find markets for it - and I can't get anywhere the price of the big companies.
    So, it makes sense for me to design products that use expensive technologies so that the packaging cost is a small fraction of the overall cost and it is easy for us to make small quantities of expensive items as compared with large quantities of cheap items; and niche products that the big companies aren't interested in.

    I hope some of this is of use.
    Cosmetic Brand Creation. Concept to name to IMPI search to logo and brand registration. In-house graphic design inc. Pantone specs. Cosmetic label and box design & graphics.
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    I'll give you my perspective based on using the Internet.  If you are just starting out there is no better way to build your brand than by using the Internet.

    1.  Create a website
    2.  Build an email list of potential clients
    3.  Sell products to your clients via email
    4.  Fill orders through the mail.

    The most successful brands are the ones who focus their efforts on marketing their brand, creating their story, finding their audience, and solving problems for those people.  

    Urban Decay started a makeup brand in 1996 using technology that has been around since the 1960's.  There is nothing special about their technology.  A few years ago they sold their company for >$150 million.  

    Focus on marketing.
  • This is an amazing topic as I have been thinking about getting into this for a while. It is great to see responses from people that have been in the game for a while. @Belassi I never thought to use beauty bloggers as a way to get the word out. That's a good idea. 

    In the same vein, what would be considered a product that is too expensive to produce and sell? I'm probably not phrasing this question properly, but I have a conditioner formulation that is about $11-$12/LB (contains high amount of MuruMuru butter). Would that be a product you would start up with or is there a price range per pound you want to stay within?
  • $26 a kilo, x6 = roughly $150/kilo, = 17 x cream jars, $9 per jar (contents) - not expensive.
    Cosmetic Brand Creation. Concept to name to IMPI search to logo and brand registration. In-house graphic design inc. Pantone specs. Cosmetic label and box design & graphics.
  • heraklitheraklit Member, PCF student
    Our difficult fight - perfect tips:
    "You need to consider your market position against the herd. As an example of how to do it wrongly, I wasted a lot of time creating a super nice hand soap in a 250mL soap-dispenser (pump) bottle. The minimum price we could sell it at was $4.50 (because of the expensive package) and you can find similar items in a supermarket for around $1. Of course, the contents are SLS/SLeS/CAPB salt thickened and nowhere near as nice, but you know that price will beat customer benefit perception every time. It doesn't make sense for me to design products like that because I can't afford to buy 10,000 containers, 10,000 labels and 500 Kg of surfactants or for that matter put all that together and find markets for it - and I can't get anywhere the price of the big companies.
    So, it makes sense for me to design products that use expensive technologies so that the packaging cost is a small fraction of the overall cost and it is easy for us to make small quantities of expensive items as compared with large quantities of cheap items; and niche products that the big companies aren't interested in."
  • I'm a bit surprised no one else has mentioned this, but one way you can market is to crowdfund like on Kickstarter. If you design and work your page correctly, it can generate a lot of online interest and some extra revenue. This is where you must get skilled on marketing.

    Remember that marketing provides the "answers" to what your customers are thinking: "How does this product benefit me?" Convey your "answers" in the clearest way possible. Don't get caught up too much in the "style"; that will come out naturally if you have a clear vision.

    You must also know your demographic from the inside-out. You are best off actually talking to your demographic instead of sending out surveys. It's seemingly obvious that you should know your demographic well, but I've seen several people fail in different business avenues because they really didn't know.

    In the same thread of beauty bloggers: you may want to start an affiliate program. That way, more beauty bloggers would have an incentive to talk about and promote your product(s). Affiliate programs are really the most cost-effective marketing solution on the Internet so far. It can be risky, but then again everything in business is.

    Hope this helps!
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    I think one of the biggest mistakes startup entrepreneurs make is creating low priced products.

    Don't do it.  Here's why.

    1.  You can't out compete companies who have more money.  The big guys will crush you.

    2.  You won't make enough profit to stay in business.  Your profit should be at least $10 a bottle.  Better if it is more like $50 a bottle.

    3.  You can't really increase your price substantially.  Once you start low priced, you won't be able to charge more for the product.  Start high.  You can always cut the price or offer discounts.

    Follow the model that Apple Computer follows.  Don't compete on price.  Compete on story, quality, and experience.

    True, there will be lots of people who won't buy from you and go for the cheapest product.  

    Let them.  Those aren't the customers that a start up business wants.  You want people who have money to spend.  

    It takes a lot of work to sell 1000 bottles.  It won't be that much easier if you make $1000 profit or $10,000 profit.  You might as well go for the bigger profit.
  • Unless you have a ton of money to burn, I would suggest staying clear of traditional brick and mortar retailers. You are going to be competing head-on with brands that are putting millions into advertising and will most likely get lost on the shelf (assuming you can get on the shelf in the first place!). 

    The next generation of retailing is Amazon. Amazon is eating brick and mortar retailers for lunch. And you know what the great thing is? You can literally get your product loaded and ready for sale in an hour. You should seriously check out becoming an Amazon FBA seller. FBA stands for "fulfilled by Amazon". So, basically you will send in your products to the various Amazon distribution centers and they will fulfill the orders when customers order your product. You can also choose to 'drop ship' from your own facility, but will lose the millions of Amazon prime customers who are out there. 

    Anyways, just my thoughts. Good luck and congrats either way!

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