Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating General Requests / Opportunities I cannot find a 100% honest and legitimate company to formulate and test my product idea.

  • I cannot find a 100% honest and legitimate company to formulate and test my product idea.

    Posted by Anonymous on April 18, 2016 at 5:51 pm

    I have an idea for a unique skin-care product and would like to create a company starting with this one product.

    I have been trying to find a legitimate company to formulate my product and perform all of the necessary tests such as microbial testing, stability testing, safety testing, performance testing, and more.
    I have found three different companies that have seemed legitimate and displayed enough credentials in my opinion to be considered legitimate, however I have not heard any response from them. It is discouraging me a little bit, but I know I cannot give up.
    I do not want to create a home-based skin care business because it is unrealistic to expect to be able to handle everything if this business does expand the way I would like it to. In addition, I want the product to be created with high quality in a manufacturing facility.
    What I look for in a potential company to provide formulation/testing/manufacturing services:
    1) Ability to provide a legitimate website with REAL photographs of YOUR lab facility (not a home-based “lab”). (Also, not STOLEN images off of Google search of laboratories)
    2) Photographs of you and a biography of your cosmetic chemistry qualifications. A bachelors degree in chemistry or chemical engineering is a must for me. Additional degrees is always a plus.
    3) Photographs of you AND your team of cosmetic chemists (all of which should have degrees and bios on your website as well) performing tests or creating formulations.

    4) Social media accounts with REAL photographs that you have taken of you performing different tasks for clients. Also social media accounts of YOU and your team performing various tasks in the lab, manufacturing facility, and shipping product.

    5) List of clients who you have worked with and can support your service claims. (It would be a plus if you have worked with clients that now have products in big box retailers such as Wal-Mart, Target, Sally’s, etc.)

    Before I signed up for this site, I researched a few “cosmetic chemists” that have been highly suggested ON THIS SITE.. I found one “chemist” on here advertising their services and have had others suggest their services on a website used to WARN others of their scams/fraudulent company. 

    Just be careful and VERY particular about who you choose to conduct business with. I am VERY suspicious and particular about who I will be potentially doing business with. I need to see proof, photographs of your lab facility, photographs of you performing tests/formulations, photographs of you traveling to conduct business, ability to contact former and current clients of yours, proof that you have products that you have formulated in big box stores such as Wal-Mart, interviews of you on various blogs/websites, degrees in chemistry/chemical engineering, references, and MORE.

    Due to my refusal to work with just anyone, I have found it extremely difficult to find someone to work with. I do not want to be scammed or taken advantage of. However, I do find it a bit discouraging that I cannot find anyone or receive responses. 

    Any suggestions?

    DavidW replied 8 years, 2 months ago 8 Members · 11 Replies
  • 11 Replies
  • belassi

    April 18, 2016 at 6:37 pm

    Frankly, if you have been contacting people using fonts and colours as per above, they will likely not want to respond to you. There is no such thing as a “unique” skin care product. Marketing is what makes a viable business and a nuanced, professional approach in communications is the first item.

    An “idea” is not a start. If you take an “idea” to a formulating company, the formula they produce will be their design, not yours.
    Step one would be to make a test formulation to see if it’s even possible at the design level.
    Step two would be to test it on volunteers to see if it actually has any positive effect.
    Step three would be to determine an appropriate business model.
    and so on . . .
  • Bobzchemist

    April 18, 2016 at 11:05 pm

    You are looking for what is essentially a top-shelf consulting and a high-end manufacturing company. 

    To engage the services of someone like that, you will need to have substantial (6-figure) funding already in place before you talk to them, since you will essentially be purchasing an entire turnkey business.

    I would personally suggest Irwin Palefsky, Mark Chandler, or Tom Vichroski, but anyone on this list should be able to help you:

  • OldPerry

    April 18, 2016 at 11:17 pm

    There are NO chemists that are HIGHLY SUGGESTED on this site.  We have a discussion thread where people who offer formulation services can list their contact information.  This is not an endorsement of anyone. It is up to you to interview the people listed and decide for yourself if you want to work with them.

    For the rest here is some advice.
    1.  Professional chemists get contacted by people with “revolutionary” and “unique” cosmetic and personal care products all the time. Unless you have a patent, your idea is not unique. Even then it is probably not unique but at least you’ve done enough testing to convince the patent office it is unique.
    2.  Professional chemists do not work for free.  They aren’t going to create products for you unless you guarantee payment.  The vast majority of people who contact professional chemists with ideas do not have enough money to pay a chemist to make a product happen.  If you don’t have money (at least a few thousand dollars to start) no one will really want to work with you.  It takes time, equipment, and expertise to turn an idea into a finished cosmetic product. This is not not given away for free.
    3.  Most cosmetic chemists spend their time working in the lab. They do not spend their time working on social media, websites, and taking pictures of how great their lab is.  If you want to work with a lab that has enough money and time to do all that stuff, then you probably don’t have enough money to work with them.  Those labs work with companies like P&G and Unilever and get top dollar for projects. They aren’t going to take on ideas from lone inventors with little capital to spend.
    4.  Most of the best chemists have more work than they need. Unless you are a particularly good client who can pay a lot of money and are flexible with time lines, the best formulators won’t want to work with you.  Professional formulators need to make money to survive. That is more important than the nobel goal of helping people realize their dream of creating their new cosmetic product.  That’s not to say that chemists don’t help people realize their dreams, but if the chemist isn’t taking on jobs that pay money, they aren’t able to realize their own dream of being a success formulator.
    If you want to find a chemist to work with who will help you get your project completed here are some things you can try.
    1.  Tell them up front how much money you can spend.  If you have $100 for your project, don’t expect anyone to answer.  If you have $5000 for the project…you’ll get more answers.  If you have $10,000 or more, then most people will respond.
    2.  Get rid of your pre-conceived “restrictions”.  The best formulators are people who have worked in the cosmetic industry for decades. They have spent that time learning how to create formulations. They haven’t spent their time learning about social media and creating professional websites meant to impress people.  Maybe in 10 or 15 years your requirements will be more reasonable but right now, they are not realistic.
    3.  Go to a private labeler and get your product made. Your idea probably can be accomplished using a private labeler. It’s unlikely you’ll need a custom formula.  Launch your product with stock formulas, build your brand, and when you have enough money and feedback from actual customers, then find a chemist who can make custom formulas for you.
    The bottom line is that chemists will not take you serious unless you have a reasonable budget for the product and are willing to spend money.  If you do, tell that to people when you contact them. This will increase your chances that they will want to work with you.
    Hope that helps and good luck
    Perry, 44

  • perspicacious

    April 19, 2016 at 6:00 am

    Excellent post from Perry. I have been a developmental chemist for over 30 years (I’m not available for hire, because I have my own manufacturing and marketing organization), creating many products which were at their time of introduction unique in the marketplace. My lab is well equipped, but it is not some sort of slick operation created for photo ops. After all those years, it’s what you might call “funky and cool.” I never permit visitors, but if you saw my lab operation… the best way to describe it is it looks like the venue of a “mad scientist” from a B grade movie. Only one time in my entire history did I allow my photo to be taken in front of one of my lab benches playing with beakers and flasks (I thought that was corny and I have never done it again). Of course, lots of beautiful labs are fantastic in what they accomplish. So, I wouldn’t dissuade you from that criteria. But, sometimes loner chemists working out of their basement home labs are the ones who produce the formulations for some of the leading products sold all over the world. Inventors like that all over the country (and the world) walk into some of the biggest cosmetic houses and they are treated like royalty based on their record of developments (not on their curriculum vitae or web presence or their appearance).

    However, I do know of a prestige lab located in Dallas, Texas that will exactly meet your criteria. They have a multi-million dollar facility with teams of well educated and experienced chemists. You can visit them and tour their facilities. They have a phenomenal record of producing successful products for many companies, including startups. Their display case of famous products they have formulated will blow your mind. I have been friends with some of their executives going back to the late 70’s. The current iteration of the company was founded 25 years ago in 1991. Look them up and give them a call. http://cosmeticlaboratories.com/ Schedule a visit and jump on a plane to check them out in person. You will not be disappointed.

  • David

    April 19, 2016 at 8:45 am

    Totally agree with perspicacious! A “real” lab in action usually looks terrible on picture! To take one descent pic for a website you will need days of rearranging, tidying up and preparing the light situation + hire a professional photographer. Secondly - nobody “steals” pics from google - we/they purchase pics which best relate to their businesses.

  • MarkBroussard

    April 19, 2016 at 12:42 pm

    To be perfectly honest … Your post screams “I don’t know what I’m doing and I’m going to be a completely miserable, time wasting client to work with and I will be so difficult that you are guaranteed to loose money by taking on my project” … ( I see you removed the all caps and bold text in various colors … that was the reddest of the red flags that would make anyone wary of working with you )

    I am particularly amused with the idea that photos of “lab chemist mixing liquid in a beaker” … “chemist traveling to a meeting with a client” … “lab chemist doing lab chemist stuff in the lab” posted on Facebook is going to give you any valuable, validating information.

    It is not surprising that you are having a difficult time finding someone “legitimate” to consider your project.

    Excellent cosmetic chemists can develop products with the simplest of equipment, so a big lab is just not necessary in most instances. It’s the experience and track record of the chemist that you should be focusing your attention on, not the website, photos, & social media.

    Oh … and, trying to appear to be a reasonable potential client would be a vast improvement towards achieving your objective.

  • Anonymous

    April 19, 2016 at 1:22 pm

    I came off as obnoxious and entitled. I was just very frustrated and realize that I was wrong.

    I do apologize.

    Is there any way to edit the discussion post I created?

  • Bobzchemist

    April 19, 2016 at 3:03 pm

    Editing cannot be done solely by you at this point, but you can ask @Perry if he can help.

    I understand your frustration, but you have to understand what you’re asking for. A lab like you describe, that has not just a single formulator, but a team of chemists, etc. is a facility that has cost at least a couple of million dollars to set up, and has an operating budget of at least $400,000 per year. That means that they have to earn more than $1,000 per day. Every single day of the year. Based on this, how much do you think they’ll charge for your project?

    I work in a nicely equipped lab, but it belongs to my employer, and the only projects that get done there are for his benefit. I (very rarely) do some consulting on the weekends. My home lab fits in a closet - I’d never take pictures of it. My draw as a consultant comes from the fact that I’ve been a professional cosmetic chemist for over 20 years, not because I have a pretty lab. How much do you think I’d charge for your project?

    If you can only afford my help, and not the help of the consultants with staff and extensive labs, you’ve got an unresolvable problem, because there is much more business available for cosmetic chemist consultants than there are consultants to take it.

    If you have more than shoestring funding, I think your best bet is probably an outfit like Kolmar: http://www.kolmar.com/index.html They have dozens of chemists on staff, and well-equipped labs, and a world-class manufacturing capability.

    If you have minimal funding, your best bet is to get a patent first.

  • Microformulation

    April 19, 2016 at 3:30 pm

    I don’t know as I would edit or delete the post. It is obvious that you have taken some of the advice to heart and I think the information which you receive will be beneficial. Don’t take any of it as an attack. The reason so many chimed in was that we get these “I have an idea that nobody ever thought of” sales contacts frequently. Your initial message which may be interpreted as heavy handed is fairly representative of someone with a strong Business acumen but new to the Cosmetic Industry. The Industry is a unique beast and you will need to learn it’s quirks. The tone is solely a red flag since many of us have had clients who have never evolved to dovetail with the Industry and this has killed a project, made them look bad and also caused stress they would not take on voluntarily. We have all had “that” client. He/she calls daily and expects to discuss the progress daily. We have all come in on Monday to 15 emails which arrived after the close of business and typically the last one (received at 10PM Sunday) is “why don’t you answer my emails?!!”

    It is the clients which evolve that will be successful. I will be honest and say that I frequently will tell a client “I would love to work with you but not yet.” I advise them to look into a Business Plan, do a complete Product Development and check other sources. Several of these “red flag” clients have circled around 12 to 18 months later and been successful.

    Keep in mind as many have said, ultimately we do this as a Business and with the increased activity in start-ups there really is more work than consultants. Also, honestly a success internally for us is an approved prototype. I go further and really only work with lines I feel will make it to the market. If your product fails, it is not likely to be the Formulators fault. I could make the greatest product in history and (sarcastically) win the Nobel prize in Chemistry, but without solid and competent marketing the product would flop. Conversely I have made very straight forward solid products which met their marketing claim through common raw materials which have succeeded through great marketing.

    Good luck with the project. If done with the right state of mind, it will be a challenging yet educational experience. Simply remember that you need to get insight into how the market works and learn how to communicate in the unique environment. With good research, a strong work ethic and the ability to “know what you don’t know”, you can be successful.

  • MarkBroussard

    April 19, 2016 at 10:35 pm

    Note to self: Don’t ever post anything on the Internet when you’re angry & frustrated, or drunk, or both. You actually should create a new handle and start fresh all over again with a new identity and a proper attitude.

  • DavidW

    April 26, 2016 at 11:18 pm

    @classicone Where are you located?

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