I bet you have them on your bathroom shelf right now. A row of gorgeous little dropper bottles, or maybe just one precious one that you can’t get enough of.
An oil with all your favourite ingredients that makes your skin feel just PERFECT, or pretty damn close.
Maybe that bottle even contains an oil that you have made yourself, perfectly tailored to your own unique needs.
I’m talking, of course, about facial oils.
Which brand is your favourite? The Ordinary? Rå? De Mamiel?
The other really alluring thing about facial oils is how tantalisingly easy they are to create yourself. So – have you ever thought about how to start your own facial oil business?
Like starting any business, there are some really straightforward steps to follow. Your success hinges on your TENACITY here, and the quality of your oil, not on investors, contacts, a network, 20 years experience in the business.
It’s all down to YOU and your PRODUCT.
Step 1 – Purpose
What is the purpose of your oil? Are you targeting a specific skin problem? That’s how Rå started – a mother and daughter team with a particular skin concern. It’s a more authentic brand story than a big name brand expanding their range into the latest “it” product, right?
So first, define your PURPOSE.
Step 2 – Recipe
What are your ingredients? Whether you are crafting your oil at home yourself or working with a manufacturer (more on this in a moment) you need to have a clear idea of what goes into your oil. Maybe you instantly know yourself, or maybe you need to work with a skincare professional to identify the special ingredients that will make your product stand out, or tweak it to perfection.
I don’t mean a facialist or someone who works for a brand already – I mean a medical professional, a herbalist or a skincare scientist (yes – that’s really a job!). If you need some professional help with your formulation, you can hire what you need – take a look on LinkedIn and start researching people in the industry who might be interested in a day’s consulting.
Step 3 – Manufacturing
Identify your manufacturing process. Are you going to create your product at home for the first while or are you going to start working with a manufacturer straight off? Skincare manufacturers are possibly easier to find on LinkedIn – you can even use your LinkedIn sleuthing skills to find out who is working with some of your favourite brands already, which is a great way to make sure that you are working with someone who is on your wavelength from the very start.
If you are manufacturing at home, make sure you have the means to ensure 100% consistency in every batch, and also that you adhere to any regulations around skincare production in your country. When it comes to exporting your product, working with a professional manufacturer can help you ensure compliance overseas too, so that’s something worth thinking about!
Step 4 – Packaging
Now that you know what’s IN the bottle, time to get to the bottle itself. How will your product be presented? Chances are that you’re going to be looking at a glass dropper bottle. Make sure that all of your packaging is fully recyclable and sustainably made, and think about where you can source the most cost-effective as well as sustainable materials. Amber glass bottles are very cheap, but you could think a bit more creatively – my favourite oil comes in a fully opaque black glass bottle, but the classic Bristol Blue Glass is a gorgeous choice if you have access to that colour too.
The purpose of the box is then threefold – protection for your product, a branding opportunity and somewhere to print your required ingredients list, instructions for use and any other information you want your customers to have (or that they are required to have by law).
Your manufacturer should be able to advise you on this, or if you are going to be producing your product at home you can look for packaging manufacturers who meet your needs – they might even be able to provide the designs for you.
Step 5 – Marketing
You don’t have to invest tens of thousands in your marketing campaign if your goal is to get your product into retailers, rather than selling it directly yourself.
But even ecommerce is your goal, a strong brand identity, a straightforward website with great photography and a vibrant Instagram strategy should be at the top of your priorities.
If you haven’t got a budget to market your product you can definitely bootstrap it by putting the work in on Instagram, and building up relationships with journalists and beauty bloggers who will champion your creation.
If you feel tempted by a paid campaign on FB or Instagram to drive sales or audience growth, DON’T GO IT ALONE. Either take some training or hire a pro. Just diving in is the quickest way to drain money from your bank account and achieve absolutely nothing.
Step 6 – Wholesale
The best way to grow your new facial oil business is to get your oil carried by other retailers.
There is a lot of competition, and you will have to be tenacious, but reach out to every conceivable skincare retailer and beauty salon with a well-written email of introduction and follow up at least five times. Don’t take any sale or return options and don’t waste your time with drop-shipping offers.
What should your first whole sale order be? Minimum order of 6 bottles, ALWAYS paid in advance for the first 3 orders, unless they’re a “known” retailer who can be trusted not to ghost you once they have your product (or instantly go out of business!). THEY pay shipping for orders under $500.
Wholesale price is between 30% and 40% of the final final price.
So – those are the six main steps to starting a skincare business with a luxury facial oil.
To start your own luxury facial oil business can seem like a huge undertaking, but as you’re starting with ONE product, and one that can be largely explored and created at home, it’s actually a relatively easy product to start with.
If you are a blogger or a have a skincare or even a slightly related audience already (wellness, pregnancy, motherhood, fitness) starting a facial oil business is actually a pretty low-cost and low risk product to pitch to your audience. You can even do mock-ups of your bottles and brand, with ingredients lists and benefits BEFORE you start, to do some market research.