Hey! That Was My Cosmetic Product Idea!

*This is the second post in a 3 part series to help you flush out your cosmetic product ideas.*

So you thought you had the best idea in the world for a cosmetic product. An idea that nobody else has ever thought of and thus couldn’t possibly exist. Until you punched a few keywords in Google and found a product strikingly similar to what you had in mind. It’s cool. No sweat. Finding that your brilliant idea already has a step-sister is a good indicator that there are people out the ready and willing to buy the product you create. It also puts you in perfect position to be the best to ever do it. That’s what we really want, right? First is cool, but you only get one reward for that.

*Have you ever seen people post on Instagram “First comment!”? What is that about?* I digress.

Being the best also puts you in line for being the classic. The one that never goes out of style. The legend. The legacy. That’s who you really want to be. So how do you get there?

  • Pick that step-sister apart. What claims are they making about the product? What does the ingredients list look like? Can you find any reviews on the product? How much is it selling for?
  • Decide on how you should brand your product. I’ve had clients come to me with great ideas that I’ve found dupes for in the marketplace. More often than not, the branding on the product is sub-par. When you’re a customer you don’t consciously realize how important packaging colors are. Or how you really feel about the fonts used on the bottle. But as a brand owner you know those details matter to customers even if they can’t articulate that to you. You’d hate to be the brand with a grand idea and sucky packaging. Think about it, that’s probably the reason why you had no idea this product already existed in the first place.
  • Buy the product. How can you know if it works if you don’t try it for yourself? Get up close and personal with your product experience. Be a hater. What would you say about this product if you wanted to convince someone not to buy it? Write that down. You’re going to need it.
  • Do your research. Find out what it’s going to take to make this product successful.  Take note of the details you want to infuse in the product, the visual branding, the marketing story, the packaging.  Find the resources to help you make it happen.
  • Make a plan and hop to it!

Here’s to the Glam Life!

This is a Great Beauty Product, Right?

This is the first post in a 3 part series to help you flush out your new product idea. By the time you finish this series you should have refined your product idea to the point where it is flawless… or you will have determined that you need to go back to the drawing board altogether. But, alas, progress is progress and that’s what I’m all about. Let’s get to it!

It All Starts with an Idea…

So you have this great idea for a beauty product. You’re so excited because you just know it’s never been done before. Are you sure about that? Before you jump head first into product development, branding and marketing for your miracle product you really should do a little digging. Some of you are going to have groundbreaking ideas, others won’t. But don’t let that deter you from moving forward. If you find that a similar product already exists that means there’s a market for it. That’s good news! I mean, you want people to buy it, right? Right. We’ll talk about what to do if the product already exists in the next post. For those that hit the jackpot on a product that doesn’t already exist, let’s get to work! Here’s what you need to do to get the ball rolling.

• First things first…shhhhhhhhhh! Keep your idea to yourself. Don’t tell your best friend, don’t elude to it on Instagram and Facebook and don’t blab about it at your high school reunion to make yourself look successful (but you wouldn’t do that anyway, right?) Give yourself the chance to do all of your research, protect your idea and get the ball rolling before you start telling everyone what you’re working on. Let’s face it, everyone isn’t honest. Many people lack integrity and will steal your idea faster than you can hit Google. So start with zipped lips.

• Find out if there are opportunities to get legal protection for your idea. It’s not everyday that a cosmetic product qualifies for patent protection. But oh when it does! Start seeing green, Glam Girl! Quickly, a cosmetic stands a chance for patent protection if it introduces or requires some new technology (this is usually something to do with the manufacturing process), uses a brand new, novel ingredient (have you been hiking in the rainforest and found a miracle plant?), uses an existing ingredient/process in a completely new, not already patented way, etc. Maybe patent protection is not in your cards, but there’s also trade secret protection which is a bit easier to get. You may not see off hand how you can obtain intellectual property for your idea, but usually when you know it’s possible you start thinking of ideas to make it so.

• Decide what the selling points will be. What is going to make your target customer spend their money with you? I’m willing to bet the idea you have solves some sort of problem. It’s a problem you’ve had personally or one you’ve heard enough people complain about that you had a light bulb moment. Roll with that. Whatever sparked the idea in you will spark your customer to buy…if you sell it to them the way you sold it to yourself.

• Pick a market and set a price point. How much is your idea worth to you? Is this something that the have’s are going to want to have? Can you envision it in a beauty spread in your favorite magazine? When you see your product in your mind what does it look like?

• Do some research to find out how much of this idea you can figure out yourself before you need to call in a professional. The more you know about what it takes to get your idea off the ground, the better position you’ll be in to maintain creative control over it’s development. Some of the best projects I’ve worked on came from clients who did their research before they called me.

• Just do it. This is probably the most important part of this post. Don’t get stuck in your head so much that you talk yourself out of a great idea. Because one day you’ll look up and someone will be making millions off an idea that you had but never put your feet to the ground on. Don’t be that girl. It’s no fun. Ask me how I know.

Here’s to the Glam Life!

Go International- I Dare You ;)

Before you launch your cosmetic brand you need to know where you plan to sell your products. Most US based start-up companies default to selling in the US market. Funny thing is, so many of our product ideas are just as popular, if not more, outside of the US. How cool would it be to launch as an international beauty brand?

The US cosmetic market is pretty crowded, while many international cosmetic markets are emerging. There is ALWAYS opportunity in “emerging”.

So how do you jump into the international market?

First, you’ll need to do some research on the numbers. Google and trade publications will help you match your product to its best chance at international success. Once you know which countries you want to market and export to, you’ll need to find out how they regulate cosmetics. You MUST adhere to all the cosmetic regulations AND the import laws of the countries in question. Don’t mess this up! You’ll surely wish you hadn’t.

Finally, make sure you’ve put in some time discovering HOW your customer likes to be marketed to. You probably won’t be able to use the same marketing material you use for the US in other countries. Take a note from L’Oreal on how and what they market around the world. Also, study the differences in fashion magazines for example Vogue US vs Vogue Italia. Following good examples will help you get started in international business.

Go International- I double dog dare you! lol! If you need help, there’s coaching for that 😉

Here’s to the Glam Life!

Launch Budget: Marketing vs PR

Whether your beauty brand launch budget is small or large, you’ll still have to decide how to spend your money. In a tight race between marketing and PR, where would you focus your launch budget? I think the answer to this question lies in the chief aim of the brand. For the sake of this post, let’s explore the working definition of each.

Simply put, marketing is you telling your audience about you. Public relations is someone else telling your audience about you. Which do you think holds the most credibility from your audience’s perspective?
Today, some of the best, most effective marketing strategies can be implemented for little to no money. Social media has opened the door for your marketing material to be presented globally. The important thing here is to have great visuals and well-thought out campaigns. Working with a great graphic designer will go a long way in your marketing efforts. What brands have you come across that did this well? Two brands that come to mind for me are The Lip Bar and Mischo Nail Lacquer. Take a stroll through their Instagram pages and you’ll get an idea of what I mean.

Public Relations is a little more tricky because it involves properly drafted press releases and solid relationships. If you’ve been proactive about building relationships with beauty bloggers, vloggers and editors then you’re already a little more than halfway there. There’s plenty of info out there about how to write a press release, pitch to the media and how to follow up. You just have to find it, perfect it, and put it to good use. Just keep in mind, PR is a lot of hands on work and it takes time. You may be better served hiring a professional so you can focus on other administrative tasks of building a beauty business.

If you have the budget to pay for marketing AND publicity I highly suggest you hire a professional for both. Otherwise, don’t be afraid to research and try some things for yourself. You need to know a bit of everything to be a good leader for your glam biz anyway.

What beauty brands have you seen utilize low cost marketing the best? Which is more valuable to you marketing or public relations? Do tell.

Here’s to the Glam Life!

Launch Day: It’s all About Perspective

I’m humbled to say I’ve been an integral part of launching new beauty brands since 2009. I’ve learned a lot through observation both good and bad. From my point of view, there is nothing that seems to put out a fire faster than unrealized goals for the launch. If you’re serious about the success of your glam biz (which I know you are) then you’ve taken the time to draft a strategic marketing plan and you’ve set sales goals. So you know what you want and you have a plan to get there. But what if you miss the mark? By now you would have put your heart and soul into building the brand image, putting marketing funnels in place and lining up all your PR spots only to end your first day, week or month with less than impressive sales. That breaks lots of people. But it won’t break you because you know you’re building a tribe of loyal customers who connect with your brand and want to get to know who your brand is.

Your first customers are usually the more adventurous type. They like to be the first to know about something new. And they like to brag about it to their less fortunate friends and social media followers who weren’t on top of the next best thing like they were. Those first customers are going to help you build your million dollar customer base. So treat them well and give them your best even if “them” is only one person. Be diligent, but pack your patience because you can’t build a quality tribe overnight.

How was your launch day? Were you pleased with your results? Or did you find yourself a little down in the dumps because of slow sales? Share your launch story with us.

Here’s to the Glam Life!

My Take on Beauty Brand Competition

Competition is overrated. No, really. Way too much emphasis is placed on beating the competition in a beauty product based business. I can see how it happens. In a crowded marketplace where there aren’t many truly unique ideas, it’s easy to get caught up in trying to “one up” your competitors. Frankly, everybody is fighting for their piece of the pie. I just don’t happen to believe that is the best way for your beauty brand to succeed.

The saying goes— Comparison is the thief of joy. Well, so is competition if you don’t use it in the right way. Let’s try something a little different. What if instead of competing with our fellow beauty business owners we studied them? I mean really study them from a genuine place of understanding, inspiration and motivation. Learn what it is that they do well and figure out what they can do better. Take what you learn and improve, add, edit and remix it to fit your own glam biz. And then… forget they even exist. After all you can’t be your competition and they can’t be you.

Who do you consider to be competition for your glam biz? What have you learned from their brand?

Here’s to the Glam Life!