Sep 5, 2019
How to Get Started Working with a Skin Care Manufacturer
Whether you already have a skin care product that you are making in your home, or whether your product is still in its concept phase, deciding to outsource your production to a manufacturing partner is an important step in the life of your company. This article covers tips for taking the first steps in outsourcing your production.
A good strategy is to focus on one type of product, known as the “hero product”, and base your private label skin care brand around it. As your company grows and matures, you can slowly add new products to it, if you want. This strategy usually works better than trying to launch many different categories of products at once. As an example, the brand Wink is based entirely on an eyelash repair formula. Its founder not only analyzed the unmet market demand, but also did research on effective ingredients that were not yet used by the competition. By the time she met with manufacturers, she had a clear direction for her brand.
Do your research, and be prepared to consult with a lawyer. What legal requirements are involved with selling your product? Will your manufacturing partner take on that responsibility? Will you own the formulation the manufacturer creates for your brand? Can you recognize good manufacturing practices? Who will bear liability for errors in production that lead to returns or recalls? This research will help you as you decide among different partners.
Cost is important, but it shouldn’t be your only consideration. A cheaper option may end up costing you more later if they are unresponsive to your concerns, hard to contact, or prone to production errors. Consider these factors when choosing a manufacturing partner:
The best results will come from a long-term relationship built on mutual respect. If you jump from one manufacturer to another to save a small amount of money, you will lose ground as each new partner tries to learn your requirements all over again. Make the most of your contact with your manufacturer with these steps:
Decide on a regular schedule for meetings. Some partnerships will be best served with formal meetings planned in advance, and others will do best with as-needed contact. Work out the combination that is best for you and your partner, with at least one formal review per year.
Share your long-term business goals with them. The better they understand the direction you want for your brand, the faster they will create the formula you are looking for.
Listen to their feedback. Your manufacturing team will have deep industry knowledge that will be useful for you. They may know about new ingredients, industry trends, and projected shortages that could make an impact on your plans.
While the aesthetics of your packaging may be decided on at a later stage, it is important for your manufacturer to know what sort of container your product will be stored in and how it will be used. If your product will be dispensed through a pump, it can’t be too thick or too watery, or if it is slippery, it shouldn’t be packaged in a breakable, hard-to-grip container. Try your formula out in its packaging to see what other issues might come up.
Blending a new formula that is shelf-stable, effective and visually appealing takes time. If different ingredients are coming together in new ways, the trial and error involved in finding the right way to combine them cannot be skipped over. Timetables will vary according to what skin care product you are trying to create, but there are some general estimates you can plan around. Be prepared for a custom formula to require 4-24 weeks of development, with design and production of packaging taking up to 12 weeks on its own.
You may develop a product that meets all of your expectations but does not win over your customer base. Save yourself the expense of making an error in demand by providing samples of your product to your customers or target market and getting their feedback.
With careful planning and ongoing communication, the development and expertise the right skin care manufacturer can bring will help your private label skin care brand reach new levels of success.