Hey! You're probably here if you have a question that I want to help you with. I decided to put together this page so I can dive into much deeper detail around some questions I get a lot and get you some links to resources 💗
WHERE DO YOU GET X RAW MATERIAL?
Below are some of our favorite suppliers when it comes to various raw materials. There are so many suppliers out there, whenever any of ours are out we literally just Google to find more. There are also folks that you can go to for custom ingredients or packaging as well, but I can't help here.
- New Directions Aromatics
- Bulk Apothecary
- Making Cosmetics
- Lotion Crafter
- Formulator Sample Shop
- Wholesale Supplies Plus
- Plus a few random others for very specific ingredients!
WHERE DO I FIND A MANUFACTURER?
We don't work with a manufacturer! We produce all of our products in house. But, there are tons of manufacturers out there, your best bet would be Google. Just be sure to check for:
- Minimum Order Quantities
- Do they own the formula? How much is it for you to own it?
- Talk to past and current clients of theirs
- What are their lead times?
- Do they take care of packaging and all raw materials?
Another option is to also hire a cosmetic chemist on UpWork which is a great resource for contractors in general. They'll help you develop a formula which you'll own and be able to produce in house or take to a manufacturer to produce.
HOW DO I LEARN HOW TO CREATE PRODUCTS?
I love when people want to formulate their own products, it allows for sooo much flexibility and creativity in your supply chain down the road!
I really recommend checking out the Facebook groups below to get feedback on formulas, search questions and get answers from people who are very developed formulators. This way, you are able to get free help on your formula and you aren't bothering anyone!
Also, I recommend starting with some basic formulas that you can find some examples of below. These sites have a lot of pre-made formulas that you can follow.
I always compare formulation to baking. We're not out here making the most intricate cake from scratch on the first time and you shouldn't either. Start with a super simple toner or cream formula, get that process down, then try adding in some actives or changing percentages.
HOW DO I GET CUSTOMERS?
The golden question. It's different for everyone, which probably isn't what you want to hear, but it's the truth. If it was as formulatic as we all wished, everyone would be boomin.
For ROSEN, we started with gifted influencers and that's still a strategy I stand by. Start small (you have 100 followers? Work with people who have 1000-2000 and so on) and make it clear what you hope to get out of the relationship.
There's also Facebook and Instagram ads, which if done incorrectly, can be a huge waste of money. I highly recommend Abu Fofanah as I've heard great things about his programs and I know his IG is full of gems. I've seen a lot of early stage founders do super well after learning from him.
But all in all, my advice is find one thing and stick to it. How did you get your first 3 customers? Do that again. And keep doing it again until it can't be done any longer (which is most definitely for a lot longer than you think). Don't do all of the social medias and the SEO and the blogs and the newsletter. You'll spend so much time trying to keep up, you won't really excel anywhere.
HOW DO YOU WORK WITH INFLUENCERS?
Email them and ask if they want to try your products! Be up front about your brand and who your products are for, because you don't want someone trying out your products if they wont be a good fit for their skin anyway.
I always recommend starting out with gifted influencers, which means you send out product in exchange for a review post. Especially if you're just getting started, it's very easy to spend a lot of money on influencers and it not be worthwhile for you and a huge expense. Even after you've been doing it for a while! Trust me, we saw this and had to scale back spend and really re-calibrate what investment looked like in the influencer space after getting to a point where spend was doubled but revenue was unchanged.
Understand that if there is no contract, influencers don't need to post for you. Also make sure you do have a form of agreement if you are paying influencers to post. Just be genuine and upfront of what you're hoping to gain and they'll generally do the same! Keep a clear outline of what the relationship will look like and you'll both be better off for it.
HOW DO YOU GET INTO RETAIL?
I think the golden combo here would be working with a distributor who already has relationships there, fitting a need in their market, and a warm intro to your respective buyer.
Big retail buying decisions are made at corporate. Your local Target manager doesn't get to decide if your products go on the shelves. And buyers are very busy people with tons of emails coming their way about how much better someone else's product is than yours.
I got into Urban Outfitters off of a cold email, but I think if you know someone you'll get in quicker. Share your growth, customers, and products and make sure you're telling them how you will bring customers to their store. Too many people go into retail thinking the retailer will do the heavy lifting for them which just isn't the case at all. You need to have a strategy of how you're going to move the units they're buying whether it's in-store activations, sampling, or digital marketing.
If I didn't answer your question here, or there's something more specific you want help on, please shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or DM me on IG and we can talk! I am always willing to spread the knowledge and resources as much as I can. Peace!