*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 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!
I promised to start adding a splash of business development posts to the blog, so here’s the first.
One of the most important things to consider when you’re looking to launch a product is the retail price. Often, potential clients ask me… “How much will the product cost?” Unfortunately, that’s not a question I can readily answer. There are a number of factors to consider when thinking about the final cost/price of a product including the ingredients, volume (how much is in the bottle), packaging, target market and profit margin. I encourage clients to determine what price will suit their target market and also how much profit they would like to make per unit BEFORE we begin the project. Everything else can be adjusted along the way. Often, a contract manufacturer can deliver the results you seek within your budget. The key is to know up front.
While catching up on my reading, I stumbled upon an article on Entrepreneur.com about landing major retail placement. Among the tips was planning ahead for profit. Read that article here
I added it to my bookmarks for future reference, I recommend you do the same.
Here’s to the Glam Life!
I get inquiries for all kinds of product development ideas. Usually, the products I’m asked to develop have differentiable features, but one thing I hear probably 85% of the time is *drumroll*
“I want to patent my product.”
Is that even possible?
Yes, it is possible to patent a cosmetic product, but it’s not likely. Most of the time my prospects believe they can patent the formula to keep it safe from being reverse engineered or reproduced. Unfortunately, that is just not the case. You cannot get a patent on a recipe and a patent certainly won’t keep the formula safe. Securing a patent on a cosmetic requires scientific innovation. The patent is not so much on the end product as it is on the process or key ingredient that makes the product unique. The process or key ingredient must be completely new or have a completely new use.
Even if you can, I don’t advise it…
When you file for a patent, you must give full disclosure of the product. I’m talking detailed descriptions of the ingredients, the equipment used, the exact formula etc. This kind of transparency means any and everybody has access to the product that was to be the ticket to your million dollar dream. Contrary to popular belief, patented cosmetics can and will be knocked off…legally. Think about it, lip plumpers and eyelash growth products have both been patented. But there are so many of them, who knows which was the original? and what’s more, who cares?
My best advice is to develop an amazing product and file for trade secret protection. This way, the most important ingredient that makes your product a cut above the rest can remain a secret. With trade secret protection that ingredient never has to be exposed… Think Colonel Sanders(KFC)and Pepsi. Nobody has done chicken or Cola the way they have.
So while I know it sounds really cool and important to hold a patent on your fabulous product, it’s likely more trouble than it’s worth. I don’t say this to crush dreams.. That’s just not what I’m about. I say it only to make you aware before the dream gets too big and is crushed by reality. Think about what’s really important– having a patent, or having a results driven product that makes millions for you in the long run Do you homework and take it to the bank!
Here’s to the Glam Life!