How to Start a Beauty Brand
Indie beauty brands are so hot right now!
It’s a great time to jump in the market with a gorgeous and well-designed line of inclusive beauty products. From skincare to haircare to makeup, there are so many possibilities!
But the beauty product market is a heavily regulated one so you’ll need to follow the law closely. Here’s what you need to know…
1. Start your company
If you’re operating a business without registering as an LLC or Corporation, you’re taking a big risk. Your personal assets can be taken to pay your business debts. That means you can lose your car, house, and bank account on a product injury, a bad business deal, or a freak accident. Is it likely? Probably not. Is it worth all that risk to save a few hundred bucks on registering? Definitely not. Register your company with the state and follow certain formalities, so only your company assets are at risk.
This is so important for beauty brands because you never know how your product will react to so many different kinds of customer skin, nails, and hair. If someone develops a reaction to your product, you can be sued for damages.
Youʼll start by completing the state paperwork to register your entity. First, you'll need to decide what kind of entity is the best fit for you. If you haven't decided yet, check out The Small Business Checklist for a full breakdown of your options.
2. Lock down your brand
A trademark allows you to own your brand. It means you're the only company who can use your company name, logo, slogan, domain name, personal name, product name, or hashtags. Here's why it's key: without it, you can be sued, forced to rebrand, or have your customers stolen by copycats.
Trademarks give you the exclusive rights to use the name nationally. So if someone else registers your trademark, they’ll own the rights to your name nationally. You'll only be able to use it in your geographic region (typically your city). That's not ideal!
Think about how many brand pieces feature your company name: your website, social media, business cards, products, marketing materials, press links, inventory, etc. If you want to operate nationally, you'll need to change all of that + pull back all inventory with the brand on it, or possibly pay monetary damages. You'll lose customers, money, and valuable momentum.
Bottom line: if you’re building a brand, you need to trademark it asap!
3. Find your products
Have a plan for what you’ll sell. Once you decide on your products, you’ll want to create formulas to help you outsource your products to a contract manufacturer. You’ll want to have a contract in place with your manufacturer that spells out the items produced, specifications, production + payment timelines, and inspection rights.
It’s also important that you and your manufacturer adhere to federal regulations about beauty brand production, labeling, and testing. The law is very strict about beauty products and there are many requirements you need to follow. Otherwise, you can be liable to your customers and face regulatory fines. The law dictates that your products need to be manufactured in a space that complies with federal regulations called GMP: Good Manufacturing Practices. The law also specifies what your labels need to say: like what ingredients you need to include, in what order, and any allergens; and what kind of quality control testing you need.
4. Promote your brand
There are so many ways you can market your brand. You can use instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, YouTube, email newsletters, and influencers to promote your brand online. Find out where your customers are online and join them!
You can also check out tradeshows and trade organizations for beauty like BeautyCon or Cosmoprof.
Learn How to Start Your Company
Are you ready to start your company legally? You came to the right place! Download The Small Business Checklist. We’ve worked with hundreds of women to setup their business legally and we’re teaching you how to do it in 10 simple steps.