Compliance is key
Simon Duffy, the founder of Bulldog Skincare For Men, says that there’s one key thing that all cosmetics companies must get right.
“Creating safe products that comply with market regulations should
be every firm’s priority,” states Mr. Duffy, who hired two full-time employees to work on the issue. “That means constant attention to the demands of regulatory compliance and manufacturing quality.”
It’s more than a box-ticking exercise because it can win you new customers and increase loyalty, he explains, adding that people care more than ever about ingredient provenance.
“We use [recyclable and reusable] sugarcane as packaging material and have never used microbeads.”
Sarah Hancock, the founder of Skin and Tonic, agrees that regulatory compliance is vital – especially so if you’re manufacturing your own products.
“This means months of rigorous stability testing and safety assessments before you can even consider taking them to market,” she says.
She urges new businesses to also consider the basics of good manufacturing practice (protective lab coats, shoe covers, hairnets
and so on) as well as daily cleaning schedules and sterilizing equipment for each new production run.
“Document these procedures for any inspections,” she adds.
“This is a legal requirement in the event that a person has a severe reaction to a product.”
When it comes to marketing, young cosmetics companies will not be able to afford the route that most of the big brands take: hiring Hollywood celebs as brand ambassadors.
Ms. Hancock says that working with influential people on social media can be a cheaper option that’s just as effective.
Skin and Tonic has worked with a healthy eating guru, Deliciously
Ella, and the vlogger, Niomi Smart, to increase brand awareness while keeping things casual and personal.
She says: “This industry is less focused on a conventional magazine and TV advertising, and more on [online] community engagement.”
While paid-for partnerships with so-called “influencers” have contractual and advertising standards requirements, Skin and Tonic instead uses a PR approach by emailing influencers whom it thinks are a good fit for the brand to ask if they would like to try its products.
“Most of them do, so we then send out our products as a gift,” she explains. “If they blog about them, that’s great, but it’s always their choice and we totally
Word-of-mouth recommendation is vital for any sector, but in this particular, a good review from a trusted source can go a long way given how many products there are on the market.
“Influencers are perfect [for this] because they’re real people giving honest reviews,” she says.
Susie Ma, the founder of Tropic Skincare, says that cosmetics companies must get in front of shoppers to demo products and talk with them face-to-face.
“It’s important to connect on a personal level,” she says.
Ms. Ma suggests a mix of physical product launches, regular roadshow events and, if you’re able to, a consultant programme where people can sell your products for a cut and report back on what people like or don’t.
- “Use the expertise of the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association (CTPA) or the Department for International Trade (DIT), which can advise about regulation, formulation, exporting and more.”
Mr. Duffy, Bulldog Skincare for Men
- “Expanding cosmetics isn’t predictable; it might not involve opening another shop, but building a better online sales website.”
Ms. Ma, Tropic
- “Protect your margins when negotiating with the big retailers; have conviction in the worth of your products and don’t compromise on that. Ask for proforma payments,
which can help with cash flow.”
Ms. Hancock, Skin and Tonic