HOW DO I: Start a Product Line?
Why do it—for the extra dollars or as part of a marketing plan, like building your brand? Will the line be just for your salon or sold elsewhere?
Are you passionate enough to spend the time, energy and effort required for the long haul? “Products are much like someone who wants to be an actor: the competition is so strong, you need to be a little crazy to do it,” says Marco Pelusi, who created a line for his West Hollywood salon.
What is your line’s point of difference? Maybe, it will just be your name on formulas that others have. Or, perhaps you want your own formulas because you see a need in the market.
Consider The Options
The more exclusive you want your line to be, the more you’ll have to test and work with chemists, and the more you'll pay. In some cases, you send bottles to a filler; in others, a contract manufacturer sends filled bottles to you, so you can just add your label. Others offer a variety of packaging or will create silk-screened bottles just for you.
Aura Mae, owner of Azarra, Tacoma, Washington, used signatureformulations.com, which offers an existing formula and helps you create your own logo, or design a label for your existing logo. She says key steps were to get samples of products and involve others in testing them. All she did was design the label; everything else was turnkey.
If you want to tweak an existing formula or create your own, Pelusi says the steps are:
1. Find a chemist/manufacturer who can deliver your vision. You can begin by searching online for private label cosmetics or contract manufacturers and packagers.
2. Determine what cost will be involved in formulating your produce. Remember that natural and organic ingredients are expensive, and minimum orders can vary, too.
3. Work with the manufacturer through the formulation of the product. Use your industry friends, clients and yourself to test the products.
4. When it comes time to develop packaging, consider working with experienced marketers to help develop the look and feel of your bottles, labels and logo.