Let’s tackle the beginning logistical steps of setting up a handmade beauty product business. Here, you’ll learn about what supplies you need to start, maintain, and market your business PLUS where to find them. We’ll also start the process of organizing a workspace.
Here’s the breakdown:
- List the ingredients you need to create your products. The recipes you are using will dictate this.. Things like:
- carrier oils, essential oils
- colorings, etc.
- List product packaging materials you’ll need. Things like:
- Bottles, Tins, Tubs, Lip balm containers, deodorant containers, etc.
- If you’ll be shipping your products, list what you’ll need for that process. Things like:
- Envelopes and Boxes
- Shipping paper or packing peanuts
- Shipping scale
- Tissue paper for wrapping your products
- Consider other branding and packaging materials to add more uniqueness to your products. Things like:
- Colored tissue paper
- Ribbon, string
You’ll want to order more than you need for your first run of products, especially if you are still developing your recipes and/or unique spin on formulas. I recommend ordering twice as much as you think you need for shelf-stable supplies and ingredients, and 50% more than you think you need of ingredients that need to stay very fresh. It is better to have more than you need than not enough. If you end up with more product than you can sell or use up in a timely manner, you can always run a sale or use them for promotional contests (which I’ll explain how to do as we get into marketing!). Fortunately, you can usually save money with bulk discounts when you order larger quantities.
As you list and shop for what you need, create a spreadsheet to track prices. You can use this to make sure you’re always getting the best deal on what you need and use it to figure out prices by weight so you have the info you need all in one place to accurately price your finished products.
I have a few favorite sources for all of my supplies and ingredients. You’ll want to dig in and see how you can get the best deal based on what you need after accounting for shipping and total discounts. Here are a few places to start your search:
- Start here! Herbs, oils, some packaging, waxes, and more: Mountain Rose Herbs
- Soap supplies, oils, fragrances, cosmetic ingredients: Bramble Berry
- Specialty waxes and cosmetic ingredients: Essential Wholesale
- Packaging (bottles + containers): Specialty Bottle
- Packaging (paper): Papermart
- Packaging (mainly for aromatherapy products): Rivertree Life
- Everything else (many ingredients + shipping materials): Amazon
Let’s talk about Amazon for a minute, though. I really love ordering from Amazon, because I save a lot in shipping with my Amazon Prime account. Once you reach a certain volume of supplies, that Prime membership can easily pay for itself (it’s $99 a year or so). Certain things, like shipping and packaging supplies, are a no-brainer if you can find what you need on Amazon! The prices are generally very competitive.
Ingredients can be tricky, though. I have heard horror stories about contaminated oils from sketchy sellers on Amazon. I have gotten some pretty questionable shea butter, there, too. SO, if you’re going to be ordering any ingredients there, please follow these tips:
- Read the reviews on the product in question! Especially the most recent ones, since sometimes companies will change their sources. A product might have 4.5 stars over a several year period but many 1 star reviews in the past few months if there was a sourcing issue.
- Find brands that you already trust that are selling their products on Amazon. I love Plant Therapy, Aura Cacia, and NOW Foods, for example.
- When you find sources you like, reorder them as needed from your order history to maintain consistency with your own products.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m not discouraging Amazon ingredients at all. It can be the most economical way to go – you just have to be careful!
- Develop your budget for the supplies you’ll need for your first product run by listing what you’ll need and shopping around at some of the suggested suppliers in this lesson
- Order what you can. Consider signing up for Amazon Prime to save on shipping for many products.