The numbers talk. The skincare business is one of the most lucrative on the planet.
If you love to DIY skincare and your friends and family love it, you may want to take it to the next level.
Starting a skincare line doesn’t have to be complicated. And it doesn’t have to break your bank either. But there are steps to follow in order to build a strong foundation that will help you elevate and grow your brand.
Today, I’m sharing with you a detailed list of how to start a skincare line at home. Discover helpful tips and a ton of resources to help you get started!
From one skincare entrepreneur to another, I’ve compiled an extensive list of everything you need to think about before starting a skincare line.
Whether you’re trying to do it with no money or you already have a budget that you’ve set aside just for this purpose, below you’ll find an extensive list of 14 steps that you need to consider if you want to start a skincare line.
How to start a skincare line in 2023
1. Research and brainstorm your niche
The first step of your skincare line business is to research the market. Make a spreadsheet and write down everything that you find interesting. Add links to brands and items you like, and begin to determine your competition. Detailed browsing will help you determine your niche faster. Think about what you know and like to make, and what products worked best for you and your family/friends. If you’ve never made a single skincare product in your life, brainstorm what would work for you best.
Market analysis is super important because skincare is one of the markets that are very tough, saturated, and loaded with competition. Check out what’s trending, see what’s popular at the moment, and pay attention to influencers, and beauty magazines.
While not many will tell you, it’s extremely important for you to pick a niche within skincare. Getting more specific about your products and target audience will help you build the products and your brand much more effectively and easily.
You’re not one of the huge cosmetic brands, you’re just starting out. Make realistic goals, and appeal to real people who will potentially become your customers. Indie beauty is on the rise so there’s a lot of room for innovation as well as for discovering new audiences.
2. Define your target market
Here’s a simple but honest truth: without a target audience, you’re not going to sell your products to anyone.
If you sell to everyone, you’re going to sell to no one.
You’re not a Nutella. You can’t make everyone happy. Even if your products are the bestest of the bestest, the harsh reality is, you’re the only one who thinks that way until you convince others.
That’s why it’s crucial that you define your ideal customers. People you’ll talk to in your posts, people you’ll target with your ads. Those people will believe that your products are the best.
And only then you’ll be able to actually sell.
That’s why it’s crucial to determine your target audience from the very start. According to experts, many people still completely ignore the importance of this step. Setting your ideal customer can put you ahead of your competition.
3. Decide on a name, branding, and logo
You decided on a niche. Ideally, you already have ideas about what products you’d like to make and sell.
You determined your target audience.
The next step is to focus on your branding: a name, a story, and a logo.
This step may be the most difficult but equally important.
So whatever you do, don’t decide on it lightly. Come up with a name, sleep on it, and imagine it on labels, on a website, and say it out loud. See how it rolls off your tongue and how it fits with your brand story.
Give it a few days, test it, and use it. It’ll stick in your head if it’s the right one ;).
The same goes for the logo and branding. You can make a logo yourself with Canva or hire someone to do it for you. Print it out, combine it with brand colors, and make a mock product label.
Observe and get a second opinion from family/friends. You can do a large part of this process yourself with Canva. Canva is my go-to tool to create pretty much any brand material – online and printed. In fact, it’s one of my top tools to grow my business. It’s straightforward to use and the best part about it you don’t have to be a graphic designer to use it.
Come up with the brand story. Think about what sets your brand apart from others. What makes it unique? Why should people buy your brand instead of someone else’s?
4. Decide on your products
For consistent branding, your products should reflect your brand story and resonate with your target audience.
Selling body butters for pregnant ladies won’t have the same branding, image, and story as selling advanced facial serums to busy entrepreneurs.
That is why I recommend you decide on the target audience, then the story and branding, and then built your products around it. In that specific order. You can start the other way around, but it’s much more challenging.
Again, think hard about what products you’d like to make and sell. Determine the ingredients you want to use, build them around your story, and stick to that.
You’ll be tempted to use the same ingredients and make the same products everyone else is already making. Just because they made their body butter a bestseller, it doesn’t mean the same will work for you. In fact, it could be just the opposite – not selling that body butter at all.
I’m not saying you should get inspired by what your competition is making. On the contrary – I challenge you to do just that. But don’t copy their ideas and products. Instead, look at them and brainstorm to come up with products unique to your story and story.
5. Develop products or find a skincare manufacturer
When it comes to product manufacturing, you have two options:
Develop and make them yourself.
Outsource your skincare line to a reputable manufacturer. Which one is the best option for you, depends on you.
Personally, I decided to make everything from scratch – from ingredient research to selling the products because I’m a bit of a control freak and I prefer to keep complete control over what goes into my products.
Somewhere along the line I also contacted a few manufacturers, but none of when wanted to accept my own formulations. I would be forced to go with theirs and I didn’t want that.
What’s more, many of them have MOQ, but these can be pretty expensive, to begin with especially if you don’t have a large budget, to begin with. In other words, it could be cheaper to make products yourself if you have the equipment and home lab already set up.
6. Find suppliers – ingredients, packaging, containers
Whether you’re making your own skincare or not, you’ll have to find suppliers for packaging and other materials, such as skincare making tools.
Start by collecting contacts, links, and ideas to suppliers for your business in a spreadsheet (like the one in my formulator spreadsheet) to keep everything in one place. This is what you’ll need:
- Reliable ingredient suppliers that will easily provide the necessary paperwork for ingredients
- Reliable container supplier that will provide paperwork for containers
- Packaging supplier: boxes and packaging material, packaging tape, bubbles, etc.
- Print shop to print your labels and other brand materials (if you’re not doing it yourself)
- Paper and printer for shipping labels
You can have more than one supplier for everything listed above. Just make sure that ordering from them is easy, and straightforward, and that they’re responsive. If you’re having a hard time getting them to answer your phone call or email before you begin with manufacturing, imagine how much more difficult it will be when you need information/ingredients ASAP and they’re not responsive at all.
7. Test your products for stability, safety, and user reviews
When you make your products, it’s essential, and I cannot stress that enough, terribly essential that you
Test your products
On other people.
Test it, use it for a few weeks (or longer if you can), and see how the product works for you, and how it changes with time.
Make notes, and adjust the product if needed.
Remember, once it’s out of your hands, someone else will use it. Will the product perform in the long run? Is it stable enough? What’s its shelf-life?
Make notes, test, adjust, and improve. When your products tick all the boxes regarding performance, stability, and safety, that’s when they’re ready to be sold.
Remember that testing will require time. Take at least 6 months per product. If you’re in a hurry to desperately get started, you can always buy white-label products and then replace them with your own when they’re passed the tests.
8. Consider legal regulations
Depending on where you are in the world, you have to check with cosmetics regulations in your country. There are some countries where selling homemade skincare isn’t allowed.
For EU regulations, this is what you’ll need to legally sell skincare;
- Cosmetic product safety assessment
- Product information file
- Notification on the EU CPNP portal
- Potential microbiological tests (for water-based products)
For more information visit here.
For USA regulations, go here.
9. Choose your pricing
When you have your target audience, your suppliers, and finished products all done, decide on the price range of your brand.
This is a very important step to consider. On one hand, you don’t want to scare away your future customers by setting prices too high. At the same time, you obviously want to get paid for your hard work. Your business isn’t a hobby anymore and you have to start acting like it.
I also suggest you study your competition. That can help you set a more realistic pricing point especially if you think you’re overcharging for your products.
10. Consider sales channels and distribution goals
You may not think it now, but getting sales will be the most part of your business.
Yes, you enjoy making products.
And also, enjoy sharing photos of just-made products on Facebook.
Plus, you enjoy beginning creative and testing different fragrances.
But none of that will bring you money.
Your customers will bring you money.
But you need to get the customers. the funny thing is that many people think customers will come when they appear. But the harsh truth is, they don’t. Just like with a freshly set up website. You post one blog article and expect traffic to start rolling it. But it doesn’t. It takes hard work, dedication, and consistency.
So, think hard and long about where your sales will come from. Make a list – that same spreadsheet from above will work great.
List all potential sales channels. Set clear goals for each channel, ideally with a timeframe, and stick to that.
11. Create labels and start a photoshoot
When you have your brand image nailed down along with your brand colors and a logo, It’s time you create the materials you’ll need for your skincare line:
- Marketing material
- Thank you cards
- Package inserts
- Business cards
You can hire someone to do that for you. You can buy templates online – find them on Etsy and other creative markets. Or you can make them yourself.
When you have the labels and finished products, begin with photoshoot sessions and test them out to see if all works the way you wanted. In any way, don’t overcomplicate things.
12. Get active on social media
Get active on social media today.
Start posting, even if you don’t have the finished products just yet. Even if you don’t have a website. Just start posting, get active, and make people notice you.
How to get started? Pick your channel, the one that would work best for your business. When it reaches a certain following, pick another one. I advise you to start with one and build your way up. When you get comfortable with posting, get a posting tool for that channel and switch to another one.
Trust me, handling all social media at once is difficult and time-consuming.
But this is your business and you want to make it as exciting to build and grow as possible.
13. Build an online shop
You’ve come this far.
And if you’ve come this far, it’s time for you to get a website for your business.
Your online shop will be the reflection of your brand. Here, you’ll post amazing photos, collect emails, showcase your products which will make sales, and post blog content to get ranked on Google and other search engines.
There are plenty of options when it comes to e-commerce websites. In 2023 having an online shop is non-negotiable. If you’re skilled, you can build it yourself. Otherwise, it’s one of those things I recommend outsourcing. There are plenty of freelancers out there that will build a clean, elegant website on your budget.
14. Launch your brand
When all is ready, you’re ready to launch.
But that can take time.
Instead of waiting for the launch day to happen, set it and stick to it.
Calculate when you think all will be more or less ready. Write a date on your calendar and build everything around it.
How to start a skincare line in a nutshell?
- decide on a niche
- develop your branding
- decide on products and suppliers
- make it safe and legal
- take it online
- launch it
And that’s it! Congrats! You’ve made it to the end of this detailed list of how to start a skincare line. Let me know in the comments below how far along are you with your skincare business!
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