How to Start Your Own Beauty Business

How To Start Your Own Beauty Business

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How To Start Your Own Beauty Business

Updated August 2020

Are you looking to start your own business?

If you’re wondering how to build a beauty salon with next to no money or how to get started selling cosmetics from home, this quick guide will help you. In the following three sections, we’ll teach you how to set up a mobile beauty business using simple, homemade products.

Why Start Your Own Beauty Business

There are plenty of independent, homegrown beauty businesses thriving right now due to their focus on clean beauty, transparency and direct-to-consumer sales. Their success is no coincidence as their strategy is plucked from a whole host of stats to show just how lucrative this new kind of beauty business can be. 

Luckily, we’ve done much of this research for you.

Key Beauty Business Stats

  • In 2017, the UK saw a cosmetic boom allowing this sector to reach new heights. At this point, the market value stood at a colossal 9.8 billion British pounds. Since then, the valuation has dropped. Yet, the beauty industry, as a whole, still presents a great opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs and established business owners alike. In particular, skincare holds a high share of the market. 
  • When it comes to skincare, non-medicated face care trumps the category with a market value of over £900,000. However, demand for body creams, lotions, hand care and lip salves are also high.   
  • Within this category, organic skincare is especially strong. According to Statista, natural and organic cosmetics are increasingly popular due to: 

“[A] growing awareness of the potential harmful side-effects of the artificial ingredients used in beauty products. This has led many consumers to turn to so-called green cosmetics, in order to find products which pose a lesser risk to the skin, as well as to the environment. As a result, the global market for natural cosmetics has seen consistent growth over the last ten years.”

  • The same report on natural and organic cosmetics shows that since 2016, 46% of online beauty shoppers in the UK buy organic products. The same report shows the most important product claim on beauty products being “cruelty-free.” 
  • According to a report by the Soil Association, the certified organic beauty sector, saw a +23% growth, year on year growth in 2019 –– the third-highest percentage growth since 2010. 

There’s never been a better time to start a beauty business with a special emphasis on organic, natural products.

How to Start Your Own Beauty Business

There are a lot of steps to take when setting up any business. Yet, setting up a beauty business is relatively easy so long as you have a framework to guide you. 

We’ve developed seven steps to help you get your venture off the ground. 

Here’s how to start your own beauty business: 

  1. Decide which products to sell.
  2. Differentiate your brand. 
  3. Create a pricing strategy. 
  4. Familiarise yourself with the law.
  5. Line up suppliers.  
  6. Choose a sales platform.
  7. Develop a winning marketing campaign.

Decide Which Products to Sell

There are many skincare, body care and hair care products on the market. So which one will you specialise in? 

Having a niche will make it easier to fill out your safety assessments and make your marketing crystal clear –– both of which we cover in later sections of this guide. 

The best way to decide which products to sell is to: 

  • Ask yourself which category you’re most passionate about –– passion always produces the best results. You could be a skincare fanatic with specialist knowledge you can use to your advantage. Or, you could be interested in solving a consumer’s problem if you’ve experienced it in the past — be that a flaky scalp, dull hair or dry lips. 
  • Test formulas, ways of working and ingredients with our starter kits –– we sell the basics to help you make skincare creams, shampoos, soaps, lip balms and more. Buying these requires little upfront investment –– usually lower than £100 –– and helps you to make a tried and tested formula with the help of step-by-step instructions.
  • Do some market research –– if you’re planning to sell locally or ship nationally, you’ll want to ask a segment of people which products they’re most likely to buy. There could be a huge demand for a trending product like argan oil in hair care or hyaluronic acid in skincare, for example. Including ingredients like these can help to increase the desirability of your products.

Differentiate Your Brand

To make your product range viable, you’ll need to differentiate it from any other competitor. 

In business, this is termed a USP or unique selling point. It’s the sentence you’ll include in your elevator pitch, the strapline you’ll use in all of your advertising and the reason why you’ll make sales and become successful. 

Ask yourself questions like: 

  • How is my product range superior to other, similar brands? 
  • What story do I have to tell that others don’t? 
  • How can my products give customers more value than other options on the market?

Finding your USP can be as simple as highlighting a common ingredient you use in all of your products. It could also be something more personal, showing how your manufacturing process is gentler, cleaner and more local than any of the alternatives.


Create a Pricing Strategy 

Now you have a clear direction about which products you want to sell and how you’ll need to decide what price you’re going to charge customers. 

Think about things like: 

  • Are you going to build a luxury or an affordable brand? 
  • How much are your competitors charging for similar products? 
  • How many products would you need to sell to cover the money spent on production?
  • What financial income are you hoping to generate from your business?  

As well as pinning a logical price on your products, you’ll also want to think about short-term strategies. These could include bundling your products to encourage a higher order value, running short-term promotions to increase sales and creating a loyalty scheme to build retention. 

At this point, you might choose to revisit step one to add supporting products to your range. For example, if you have a beard oil on your product list, you might think about developing a men’s skincare range or a beard shampoo to sell in tandem with this product. In doing this, you’re more likely to increase sales and justify your pricing.


Familiarise Yourself with the Law 

It’s essential to know and understand the law relating to your business before you start trading. This includes the law of the country you operate in — and the law of any country you ship products to. 

In the UK, cosmetics are currently governed by EU law. You’ll need to be aware of the EU Cosmetics Regulation and the legislation this sector needs to abide by. The legislation set by this body acts as: 

“The main regulatory framework for finished cosmetic products when placed on the EU market. It strengthens the safety of cosmetic products and streamlines the framework for all operators in the sector.” 

As a business owner, you are liable for the lawful production of your products and will need to take out the necessary research to understand the law in your industry. Although this guide does not cover the legislation in detail –– or act as professional, legal advice –– here are a few key concepts:

  • Responsible Person ––Only cosmetic products for which a legal or natural person is designated within the EU as a 'responsible person' can be placed on the market. The new cosmetics regulation allows the precise identification of the responsible person and clearly outlines their obligations.”
  • Cosmetic Product Notification Portal (CPNP) –– The new regulation introduced the CPNP. This Europe-wide portal stores information on every cosmetic product in the European market. 
  • Safety Assessment –– Every cosmetic product must undergo a safety assessment before being made available for sale. Safety assessments look at toxicological profiles, chemical structures, ingredient exposure, characteristics of exposure, the manufacturing process, and the safe use of the product’s ingredients. 
  • Product Information File –– Manufacturers are required to keep a detailed and up-to-date product information file (PIF) on every product.
  • Labelling –– Article 19 of the legislation covers labelling requirements. There are nine different requirements relating to containers and packaging.

You may also want to refer to the Cosmetic Toiletry and Perfumery Association (CTPA) as well as the GOV legislation website for further legal information.


Line up Suppliers

To make the mass production of natural products possible, you’ll need to work with suppliers. This includes: 

  • Companies that can provide the raw ingredients for production. 
  • Manufacturers that can work with you to build a line of products.
  • Packaging companies to help brand, wrap and protect your products.
  • Shipping companies that can help to track, deliver and handle product returns.

Building good relationships with suppliers is crucial to the success of your business. 

Ideally, you’ll want to buy materials in bulk at a discounted, wholesale price. So, you should contact multiple suppliers to get the best price. In some cases, established suppliers might have business contacts you can benefit from, helping you to set up your operations quickly. As well as protecting your production costs, suppliers can also help to gather paperwork for safety assessments. 

For these reasons, choosing the right suppliers is crucial. You’ll need suppliers offering high-quality products, exceptional customer service and great deals. 

To test the waters, you might request initial samples of products or work with a supplier on a flexible, monthly basis. When you begin to build trust and see that a supplier meets your expectations, it’s often more cost-effective to sign contracts with suppliers and solidify yourself as a long-term customer.


Choose a Sales Platform 

The next hurdle is to decide whether to sell your products online or offline. Both avenues are feasible, depending on your business plan. 

  • Offline businesses can choose to set up a shop and sell from their own retail space or work as a concession in a department store. Customers can find it beneficial to experience a demo of cosmetics, smell the product, feel its texture and learn about it from a professional. 
  • Online businesses most commonly sell a product via their website. Products can be driven through platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Google Shopping. Customers can easily find products in a niche by searching on Google and can purchase at any time of the day. 

As you can see, there are benefits to both online and offline selling. For this reason, some brands choose to engage in both. If you’re starting your own beauty business with a limited sum of cash, you might decide to build an online presence through social media yet sell your products offline at exhibitions and craft fairs where you’ll have little to no overheads. 

Deciding which sales platform to use will heavily dictate your marketing strategy –– a process we’ll focus on in the next section.


Develop a Winning Marketing Campaign 

Effective marketing can make all the difference in getting your beauty business off the ground. 

Just like deciding whether to sell online or offline, advertising can be done traditionally and digitally. 

Here are some examples of advertising activities: 

  • Running online search campaigns.
  • Building social campaigns.
  • Working with influencers. 
  • Creating search engine ads.
  • Writing and publishing online content.
  • Recording and editing a podcast.
  • Appearing on live TV or radio. 
  • Featuring in local newspapers, magazines and fliers.
  • Hosting industry events and launch parties.
  • Exhibiting at a trade show. 

Creating a campaign and deciding which of the above activities to carry out largely depends on your target audience. To find this out, revise your unique selling point (USP) and figure out which type of people will be attracted to this. 

Does your brand use an exclusive ingredient known for anti-ageing? This USP might appeal to an older demographic with high disposable income. 

Is your brand differentiated by you and how you create products from home with your family? New mothers, young couples and family-oriented people may identify themselves with you. 

Knowing who your target customer is will help you to pinpoint the right marketing strategy. For example, luxury customers might be put off by glaring sales promotions, yet savvy families might not. Perhaps luxury customers are more interested in bespoke packaging — yet more environmental customers may find elaborate packaging wasteful. 

To make this exercise even easier, create a buyer persona –– a pretend profile that represents your ideal customer –– and use it against all of the potential activities you’re planning to carry out. This document will tell you information such as the age, location, income bracket and the main concerns of your target customer. It might even go so far as to tell you which device they use most often. 

From here, you can map out a marketing strategy using a yearly calendar. Don’t forget, when creating this document you should account for seasonal changes and holidays, so you’re always sending out the right message.


What Can You Do Today to Start Your Own Beauty Business? 

If you’re intrigued about starting a beauty business but don’t have enough time to take the first step –– deciding which products to sell –– there are some quick-fire activities you can do that take less than ten minutes each. 

  • Find a mentor –– Visit forums and blogs to find an experienced beauty business owner. Reaching out to them in a quick email could help you to find a guide who will support you during the process and provide you with real-life examples. An introductory message doesn’t have to be too long, just write a short enquiry. We promise you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how giving the organic beauty community is.  
  • Do the paperwork –– Registering a legal business in the UK is surprisingly simple. It requires you to fill out an online application with basic information such as your address, name and the name of your proposed business. If you’re finding it difficult to commit time to your goal of starting your own beauty business, legitimising it and receiving your certificate of incorporation could be a great way to kick things off. 
Take a course –– If you’re at the very beginning of your natural beauty and organic skincare journey, you might need to gain some basic knowledge before going any further. Taking an online natural cosmetics course will arm you with the basic information you need to get started.

Ready to take step one? Browse our selection of kit and packs to help you begin formulating your winning product range. Each kit comes with enough ingredients for the related recipe, ensuring you don’t waste any materials or fall short. Once you receive your kit, you’ll follow step-by-step instructions that help first-time cosmetic makers make foolproof products.

10 Responses

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Lally
Lally

July 20, 2020

Very informative. Thinking of a start up business

Lesley Armour
Lesley Armour

May 27, 2020

Just experimenting with making creations at present but has given me insight for the future if I decide to go down this avenue.
Thank you and best wishes

Alicia
Alicia

April 27, 2020

Thank you very much for this post. It is REALLY helpful.

Belinda Roberts
Belinda Roberts

April 07, 2020

This is a great article, really helpful for start up businesses. We develop beauty brands and this answers a lot of the questions we get, thank you. www.snowbell.co.uk

Liza
Liza

February 26, 2020

Thank you for providing Us with such an informative article.

Dee
Dee

February 07, 2020

Thank you taking the time to write up this article. It is very insightful and has given me the push to get my own business started. Wish me luck! :)

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February 10, 2020

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Tomiyin
Tomiyin

January 21, 2020

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