• Who to hire, how to hire

    Posted by Anonymous on October 31, 2016 at 2:05 am

    I am a hairstylist looking to start my own product line that consists of children’s shampoos and conditioners and shower gels (and eventually expand to body lotions, nail polishes, and lip sticks ((all targeted toward kids )) ).

    To accomplish this, a formulator needs to be hired as I am a hairstylist not a chemist. I have researched about all of this for a few months now so I know the basics and have a few guidelines that I’d like them to follow but for the most part need to hire someone (or a company) to formulate these products for me.


    Who are some good contacts for this job? And am I looking for a one man job kind of person or do I contact a company and how do I go about contacting them?

    I just don’t know where to look and is a little overwhelming. Once the communication is in place, I can have things more finalized and other needs met.

    What is the average price of this? Does it go by up front $x,000 for each product, or go by hourly charge?

    Thank you guys for your guidance and patience in advance.

    microformulation replied 7 years, 3 months ago 8 Members · 21 Replies
  • 21 Replies
  • johnb

    October 31, 2016 at 8:28 am

    It’s probably the ambition of every hair stylist to have their own named range of products. It is extremely rare that this comes to anything.

    Consider the number of hairstylists there are and the number of signature hairstylist products. You will quickly see that it is next to impossible to get anything on to the market under your own banner.

    The way most hairstylists come up with signature products is in partnership with an established manufacturer - who, in turn, uses the stylists good name and reputation. Normally the initial approach comes from the product manufacturer wishing to broaden their marketplace but it could be worthwhile, if you have a wide enough reputation, to approach a manufacturer offering your good name in return for royalties. Wherther or not you have any input on the formulation of the prduct range depends on the terms of your contract.

    If you do want to go on your own, be prepared for a lot of disappointment, very large costs associated with setting up (a formulation expert’s costs will be negligible compared with this), legal compliance and so on and so on.

    I have worked with several “named hairstylists” in producing their own product ranges which were reasonably successful but these people were very often on TV which had a huge influence on the success of the product range. An even bigger influence of the success was when the prducts were taken over by a multinational manufacturer/marketer.

  • johnb

    October 31, 2016 at 8:53 am

    Perhaps I should have mentioned that after the multinational takeover of the products the formulations fairly quickly altered to match those of the main line products of the multinational - all novelty of the stylist and my efforts lost and gone. It did save a huge amount in costs, though as the only difference between the stylist’s and the mainline product became a difference in the labelling/packaging - which equated to a 100% price premiun.

  • microformulation

    October 31, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    @johnb Great points. I have worked with several Hair stylists who have attempted to develop their own lines. Even with a “perfect” Formulation which met all the performance and marketing benchmarks, other Market forces usually torpedoed the product. I suppose if you are going to be successful and crack this nut, you would find that your success is only secondary to the effectiveness of the Formulation and it’s success would rest primarilly on some sort of savvy Marketing that would give it visibility in the Market.

  • bobzchemist

    October 31, 2016 at 8:50 pm

    Conversely, I’ve seen a number of product lines that have succeeded on a small scale very nicely.

    The first step is that you have to either be a salon owner or be in partnership with one. Next, find a private label company with low minimums, buy some stock, and start selling in your own salon. This should be close to a break-even proposition. If you price things correctly, you may then be able to sell the products to other local salons, which should start making you a little bit of money. The success of this sort of project comes because this is deliberately a side project, and the hairdressers/salon owners never expect to make much money at it. It actually becomes advertising for the salon that you don’t have to pay for, so there’s no need to expect much, if any, money back from the project.

    Private label manufacturers can be met most easily at large trade shows.

  • belassi

    October 31, 2016 at 9:16 pm

    If you price things correctly, you may then be able to sell the products to other local salons
    Unfortunately I have to advise caution. Here in Mexico we tried to get hair salons to sell our products. What happens is:
    1. They are unwilling to buy even at a large (50%) discount and want to take the products “on consignment”
    2. The staff working in the salon don’t get paid any extra to sell your product so they ignore it.
    3. Eventually you will have to pick up all your unsold product and either give it away as free samples or destroy it because it will not look brand new.

  • Anonymous

    November 2, 2016 at 3:39 am

    If we have a large amount of finances ready to invest in this, (Trust me, I have a sufficient amount) I do not want this to be a side job. I do not want to still be a stylist who is working on the side to make a little extra money. 

    I I mean I am going to invest in this day in and day out. To be similar to a company kind of like the Lip Smackers. Cosmetic company for kids that is mu
    main source of income. 

    I was not aware that I have to actually be a salon owner to start my own product line. 
    Forgice me if I’m wrong, but I felt the feedback was
    more of how it is a very hard business to get into. every field is going to say the same thing. Every kind of business is difficult, almost impossible. I will rely on the marketing, advertising, communication, etc. 

    the start up for the product itself is expensive, and I understand that the promotion of your product is also a heavy and necessary investment. 

    My question, to sum it up, is who do I contact to help formulate the products for me? I’d like to talk to a few cosmetic formulators and get some quotes.
     But where do I find these companies? Or are you saying just call a manufacturing company who does private labeling? Because I wouldn’t just want a pre-formulated shampoo. It’s important that it’s formulated correctly since children’s heads are more tender than adults and I don’t want too much if any sls, sles, etc. 

    what kind of company am I trying to contact for this? How do I find this person or company to formulate these products so that we can move
    forward to the planning/producing/manufacturing phase? 

  • Anonymous

    November 2, 2016 at 3:44 am

    Clarification: to begin, I didn’t have any funds for this. As of a few days ago, the funds have been confirmed (not going to lie, basically through luck). 
    Not because I had an amazing business plan and landed a foot in the door with investors.

    not even at that point yet and need some serious guidance. Not someone to tell me
    its hard, it’s almost impossible, it’s expensive. thiugh all of these are true and I’m sure you get tired of hearing every data out stylists who want to develop their own product and then itgoes nowhere so I completely understand where all of you are coming from.

    ps. It’s late and I’m using my phone half asleep, so I apologize for any grammar mistake etc! 

  • belassi

    November 2, 2016 at 4:30 am

    The marketing is the problem, the formulation is trivial by comparison. For instance, one well-known “no tears” children’s shampoo has nothing more than CAPB in it.
    The first question is what is going to be your sales model? 

  • ozgirl

    November 2, 2016 at 4:53 am

    Have you checked out the “Need formulating services?” thread at the top of this forum. There are lots of formulators in that thread that you may be able to contact.

    You could also try contacting the Society of Cosmetic Chemists for more options.

  • bobzchemist

    November 2, 2016 at 2:20 pm

    I think we were all operating under the assumption that you had limited resources, and wanted/needed to start slowly. A number of us have worked with hair stylists, etc. and were trying to moderate your expectations. Overnight success doesn’t happen in this business, it takes a huge amount of planning.

    Now that you have funding, there are a few different ways to go. You have to solve a set of problems:

    1) Where to sell your product, who to sell your product to, and how to get people to buy your product (Sales/Marketing)
    2) How to come up with a formula, produce (make/contract/buy) and test your formula and packaging
    3) How to get your packaged formula to your customers (distribution)

    Why is the first problem where/how to sell? Because the potential retail and wholesale prices of your products, and the sales outlets for your products, determine how much to make of your products at a time, how much the packaging needs to cost, and how much the formula needs to cost. And you absolutely need to have those numbers in place before you talk to private label/contract manufacturers.

    This is all very complicated, and needs to be addressed not just by a consulting chemist, but also by a business consultant.

    You might find that it would be more cost-effective to buy a small company that already does this and needs an infusion of cash, than it is to start your own company from scratch.

  • bobzchemist

    November 2, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    I don’t mean to say that you shouldn’t talk to chemists also. People like Mark Fuller and others of the consultants here, or one or more of the consultants on the SCC website, and/or posting on the SCC LinkedIn group, would be good to talk to about what is and isn’t possible, and relative costs for the formulating/manufacturing parts of this. Definitely get second and third opinions about this process.

  • microformulation

    November 2, 2016 at 2:53 pm

    As @Bobzchemist properly states talk to several Consultants. Not every consultant is a best fit.

    Also, as a Consultant, I have NEVER had a client spend too much time on their pre-Formulating Marketing. Ask yourself; who is my ideal client, who is my competition, don’t obsess about the Chemistry but when looking at the competition ask yourself “why does this particular ingredient keep popping up?”

    If you even begin to mumble the catch-all phrase “natural”, stop yourself and refine this term. Explore the natural standards and ask if you can get a product credibly certified as this is looking to be becoming more important. If not craft a “Raw Material Philosophy.” “XYZ Cosmetics avoids the use of parabens, formaldehyde donors……..and uses plant based materials to produce safe and effective products.” The list of avoided materials in many cases do not have a strong Scientific reason to avoid, but in the market where we have to deal with perception, you must consider these.

    Get a realistic budget. In my experience, two factors will affect you. One is being underfunded. Two is not having an effective Sales and Marketing strategy.

  • belassi

    November 2, 2016 at 3:36 pm

    I totally agree with what Bob said. But I will give you this: If you multiply your cost per unit by 6 times, that will be a good retail starting point.
    1. Cost of packaging, and labelling.
    2. Cost of ingredients.
    3. Labour cost for purchasing/making/filling.
    Add 1,2,and 3 then multiply by 6. Then compare your proposed retail price with the competition. Are you competitive? You will discover that you can’t be competitive in low cost products such as body washes, cheap shampoos, etc. simply because the huge companies access materials at prices a lot lower than you can. So unless you have a USP, you can’t compete at that level.

  • markbroussard

    November 3, 2016 at 9:24 pm


    Here’s a simple answer to your question … there are a number of consulting chemists that can help you with your product development.


  • Wolf

    November 6, 2016 at 12:37 pm

    We are a small company who is now staring to do contract packaging services. I have also recently started working with a very knowledgeable formulator.
    We would be very interested to discuss this project with you.
    Please call or email: 973 641-9159

  • bill_toge

    November 6, 2016 at 9:54 pm

    also, if you do choose to hire a consultant, ask them for references, and check them

    we’ve had numerous customers who have paid consultants to develop products, then when the consultant failed to deliver satisfactory results (in some cases the products were impossible to manufacture) the consultant shirked all responsibility and the customer had to pay someone else, i.e. us, to fix it, meaning they effectively paid twice for one service

  • Anonymous

    November 7, 2016 at 9:42 pm

    @Bobzchemist buying a small company that does this is actually a great idea. I have been looking up companies. I can’t really seem to find any but I really do like the company Glop and Glam. Hair care products for kids. Have any of you heard of this? 

    You are full of great information! 

    @Microformulation I looked up the xyz cosmetics. They formulate and are not just a private label? Lookalike they formulate for companies such as Mac, revlon, Loreal, etc right? So that seems like a good company to talk to. 

    @Belassi thank you for the pricing strategy! I did not know it was a 6 multiplier mark up! I
    will definitely look into that once the pricing for the first three are estimated. 

    @MarkBroussard thank you. I will check out that forum topic! @Bobzchemist I appreciate the set of (three) problems you listed and explained them. That actually helps me a lot for my rough draft of a business plan before I take it to a business consultant. 

    This is good information and my first step will be the set of problems and communicating with a business consultant and to contact a few of the formulators from the forum that Mark mentioned. 

    Thank you everyone. 

    If anyone knows knows some good small businesses in the same field that I am looking into, for buying purposes, I’d love to check them out! 

  • Anonymous

    November 7, 2016 at 9:45 pm

    As far as selling brushes and combs under my brand, what are some good companies that offer private labeling for this or how should I go about that? 

  • microformulation

    November 7, 2016 at 10:21 pm

    @mandyslaymanxo XYZ is a made-up name that I use when trying to make a point. I didn’t even know one existed! Cool.

  • belassi

    November 8, 2016 at 1:32 am

    Brushes and combs, I would go to China. If you’re careful, you can source what you need in good quality. We brought in some ingenious colour makeup boxes after first testing the quality. You can also find items such as pump brushes that can be filled with mineral makeup, very cute.

  • microformulation

    November 8, 2016 at 2:52 am

    Wow, I see that XYZ is a Cosmetic company. Now I need a new generic name for a non-existent Cosmetic company!

Log in to reply.