Guest blog: things to consider before creating your own product range

Jemma Cooper, director of Hi Therapies Beauty Salon in Bournemouth, which won Professional Beauty’s Beauty Salon of the Year: South West 2016 Regional Award, on the pros and cons of creating your own product range.

Have you ever considered making a bespoke product range for your salon? I have.

I’ve always wanted to create my own range so that I could give clients a truly personal experience. In January this year I decided to create the JemmaCo Healing Harmony Beeswax massage balm which my therapists use in treatment and sell to clients as a retail product.

The product is made up of 100% good quality and pure essentials oils including lemon, peppermint and rosemary, which leave skin hydrated and aching muscles soothed. I decided to make a balm rather than an oil as it’s easier to use and saves money because you use less of it in treatment.

I make the product by hand at home which isn’t easy – it can take a day to make 30 products. It requires a lot of patience but the end result is worth it, especially when you get great feedback from your clients. 

The massage balm has become the salon’s bestselling product three months in a row, selling on average 47 pots per month. But how did I do it?  

Things to consider
Making your own range can make your business stand out as it offers some different and exclusive to your clients, but there’s seven things you need to know before getting started.

1. Make a “to do” list – jot down all the things you think you might need and work your way through it, starting with everything you already know how to do and what you need to learn. The things I put on my list included:

-   Designing a logo
-   Registering with Companies House
-   Registering a domain name and creating a website where I could sell the product
-   Researching ingredients
-   Creating a marketing budget and working out what I would use that for
-   Setting up social media profiles on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube
-   Researching product testing and finding a good supplier for my packaging
-   Looking for a mentor who could support me during this process.

2. Choose your product wisely – it’s good to specialise in one area, for example a nail or skincare product, so think about what type of product would suit your business and clientele best. Also, don't set your sights too high to begin with, like creating an entire professional range. Just focus on making one product and getting it right.

3. Make your range different – have you considered creating an organic product? There’s been an increase in the global organics industry by 10% every year compared to only 5% in the more traditional beauty industry. It’s worth thinking about.

4. Mix it up – don’t be afraid to mix unusual ingredients together as the worse that can happen is it doesn’t work. You move on and try another. Sometimes you find the best ingredient combinations by experimenting.

5. Go online for inspiration – there are loads of “how to…” videos you can watch on YouTube which will give you an idea of what you need to consider and what the process of making a product looks like. I found the video “Recipe for Beeswax Face Cream: Natural Skincare” by eHow Beauty helpful.

6. Make sure you have the capital – be prepared to invest time and money as it costs around £2,000 to get started. Plus, it took me six months to be able to even have a finished product to show to clients. The process takes time, so be patient.

My costing breakdown to begin with was as follows:

-       Testing the product – £600–£1,500 
-       Branding, such as the graphic design of the labels and boxes – £100 
-       Ingredients to experiment with and starting equipment – £400 
-       Printing odd labels, boxes and jars – £200 (cost depends on the amount) 
-       Branding: Intelligential Property (IP) – £300; barcoding – £250; software to manage ingredients and measurements – £25 per month. 

7. Stay focused – the hardest thing to do is start. Stay determined and you'll learn the rest along the way.

Image: Jemma with her Professional Beauty Beauty Salon of the Year: South West 2016 Regional Award