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So, you want your own brand do you?

November 30, 2009

Question: How many times have you spend up big time only to think to yourself  “I could  have done a MUCH better job myself?”  Whether your pain comes from getting a product that is “organic” enough, has just the right texture,  gives perfect, even coverage or a long-lasting glow, the answer may be closer than you think.

So, you want to make a skin care range (for example), what happens next?

1) Who will buy?

You need to sit down and think carefully about WHO would buy your product.  Your friends and family will probably say all of the right things but unless you have a VERY large family, their sales will not keep your beauty boat afloat!   A good tip is to create a “virtual” customer that you can keep in mind throughout the development process.

2) What do they want?

Get  into the head of your virtual customer and try to imagine what it is that would draw their eye to your  product.    Think about what your “ideal” customer would be buying now,  what benefits this product brings and how much money they would have to spend. Think also about your ideal customers life situation: Do they work? Are they married?  What are their political / ethical motivations?  Are they healthy?  Also think about where your ideal customer currently shops.

3) How will you provide for your ideal customer?

Based on what they are already doing (and this may differ from what you WISH they are doing) you should now think about how your product is going to give better results / be more cost efficient / be “greener” or  be more accessible.  This is the time to start thinking about your brand “story”. What types of ingredients will you use? What will your packs look like (roughly is fine)? Where will your brand be sold?

4) Secure any brand ID that is essential to your success.

If your whole business plan revolves around your  brand being  called “Truth Cosmetic” then make sure you secure that domain name and start looking into getting the name trademarked.  There is nothing worse than finding out your dream name is already being used.  This goes for logo’s,  colour schemes and YOU. If you are part of the brand strategy make sure that your public image matches that of the brand – take down those drunken Facebook pictures quick!

5) Review your finances and business expectations.

Draw up a business plan identifying how much money, time and energy you have to invest in the project.  Are you going to rely on this income? Do you want to sell in one country or internationally?  Will you sell directly or will you approach an agent? What contingency exists if the project runs over or it doesn’t sell so well? How much can you afford to spend on marketing, PR and advertising?  How much you actually need will vary hugely depending on the products you propose to make.

6) Seek professional Advice.

You have an idea, you have identified your market and you have some cash and time to invest.  It is possible to do everything yourself – I have met many people who have BUT be aware of the fact that you are already in love with your product and will therefore love everything that you do. Getting some perspective will help – even if it is only for a couple of hours just to pull your ideas together!

Depending on when you hire someone they should be able to take your seed of an idea and turn it into a legal, effective and safe “shelf ready” product.

For those of you in Australia, I help people to create their own brands through my work with the Institute of Personal Care Science.

7) Pace Yourself.

Be realistic about what you can achieve, especially if you are flying solo. Large companies can take up to three years to work on truly innovative technology and even smaller copy-cat companies take at least three months to fully test and manufacture simple products for one market.

8) Listen and Learn.

While your wheels are in motion the world keeps turning.  Stay close to your target audience to ensure that your product stays on track. It can only take something like a big film or a piece of legislation to change public opinion.

9) Second Opinion.

Once your product is ready don’t be scared to send it around to beauty professionals and ask for a second opinion.  Beauty editors, cosmetic chemists and members from your target audience (a focus group) are a valuable source of info in your run up to launch. Remember, you only get one chance to make a first impression.

10) Have fun.

Yes, this is a business venture but it’s a fabulous one.   Once you have ticked the realistic, financially viable,  legal and safe boxes let your creative side have some fun.

So, if you want to own your own brand take a deep breath, get the thinking cap on and start believing that anything is possible.

Good Luck.

Amanda.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Nicki permalink
    August 15, 2011 1:43 pm

    Hi Amanda,
    Great advice. I having been making natural skincare products for the past 9 years and am now ready to launch a range to the public. I am traveling solo on all aspects, formualting, branding etc and cant believe how diffiulct it is to get access to information when on a limited budget.
    I have spent the past 2 years trying to perfect my face cream range with regard to feel, texture etc using several different emulisfers that pass as organic. If you have any advise or can referr me to someone that can help make my dream become a reality with regards to finalising formulas it would be much appreciated. I am based in NZ.Many thanks Essence

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