Monday, July 13, 2015

Developing a Line of Skin Care - Designing Your Products

If you missed our previous post, Developing a Line of Skin Care - Skin Types and Beauty Routines, click the link.

When you first decide to design a new line of products, you must do your research.  Not only do you want to create products that are profitable, but you also want to be sure you are following all of the requirements set by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) in the US or your governing body outside of the US.  Make sure you know the difference between a cosmetic or a drug according to the FDA.  If your product is touted as curing acne, it is a drug.  If your product is recommended for oily skin, it is a cosmetic.

Before you go any further, consider taking a course on the subject or investing in some books that will give you the full picture on all that is involved in developing skin care products.  After you have put in some time researching, you are ready for the design process.

The best approach when first developing a product line is to start small and grow from there.  By starting small, you will have a smaller investment and can work on getting sales that will then help the business grow.  You may want to consider creating a cleanser, toner, and moisturizer for the three main skin types - normal, oily, and dry.  Another option is to focus on a niche like selling only products for mature skin. 

Let’s say you choose to develop the daily facial regimen for the three main skin types.  Will you be creating an all-natural line of products or not?  Will you use cleansers in bar form or in liquid form?  Will your moisturizers be lotions or creams?  There are a lot of decisions to make, so think of the direction you want to go and design your products for your ideal customer. 

Once you have an idea of what you would like to offer, you are ready to start formulating.  If you can choose some ingredients that can be used in multiple products, you can keep your initial investment low, so keep this in mind when deciding what you would like to use.  For example, if you are making moisturizers and oil is needed for them all, consider using an oil that is good for all skin types as a base ingredient. 

The next step is trial and error.  You need to create your cleansers, toners, and moisturizers for each skin type and tweak the recipe until it is good for the majority of customers of each skin type.  This means testing – testing on yourself, your family, your friends, and eventually volunteers (potential customers) willing to try samples and give feedback. 

After you have developed products that you feel are a good fit, you can decide on packaging and then begin to sell.  Again be sure you are following FDA guidelines for packaging your products.  Besides the name of the company and product, you must include the size of the product and list all ingredients.  You also want to be sure that products are properly preserved and that good manufacturing practices are followed, such as working in a clean and sterile environment.

There is quite a bit of work to begin your new skin care products.  Start researching and testing formulas, and sometime soon customers can begin enjoying your new products.

Master the art of soap, cosmetics and candle making and build the business of your dreams.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Developing a Line of Skin Care - Skin Types and Beauty Routines

From Cleopatra’s luxurious milk baths to the 21st century’s anti-aging craze, people desire beauty.  There are many types of products that people believe will give them what they are looking for from soaps to color cosmetics.  For this article, the focus will be on developing a skin care line, whether to add to an existing business or to create as a focus to a new company. 

A skin care line is a series of products to be used to care for the face.  Products include cleansers, toners, moisturizers, masks, eye creams, and sun blocks, to name a few.   There is quite a lot to be learned, so consider this just a crash course to get you started explained in a generalized manner.  Let’s start with understanding a facial care routine and skin types.

Facial Beauty Routine
The skin is responsible for protecting the body and for ridding it of unwanted toxins through sweat.  Along with a healthy skin care regimen, it is recommended that you eat a healthy, well balanced diet.  A set beauty routine is necessary for everyone, regardless of skin type.  The daily process is the same for everyone.  You must cleanse, tone, and moisturize your skin daily.  On a weekly basis, you may also want to use a mask, steam, or gentle scrub, but nothing compares to daily care of your body’s largest organ. 

Each skin type below gives a brief description of skin type and general recommendations. 

Normal Skin
Surprisingly, normal skin is relatively uncommon.  Most people have a combination of oily and dry skin, with many people falling into just one category or the other.  Some people suffer from acne, while others are combating wrinkles.  It is a good idea to have a line of products geared toward normal skin, but expect most people to purchase from other skin type categories.

Oily Skin
Oily skin is characterized by its shiny surface and large pores, causing it to be susceptible to acne.  While some oil is necessary for the skin, slowing this overproduction of oil is often desirable.  Scrubbing the skin promotes oil production, so keep this in mind when developing your products.  The skin still needs hydrating and a good moisturizer is recommended.  Oily skin can also benefit from masks containing clays and muds.  Masks draw out oil and toxins, helping to prevent acne breakouts often associated with oily skin. 

Dry Skin
Dry skin is dehydrated due to the underactive oil glands, which can be caused by hormones, heredity and age.  It is best to seek out ingredients that promote oil production and improve circulation, helping the skin retain moisture. 

Sensitive Skin
Sensitive skin is easily susceptible to problems, such as allergies, rashes, sunburn, and hypersensitivities to a variety of ingredients in products.  Since sensitivities vary greatly, it is difficult to find ingredients that are good for everyone in this category.  The rule of thumb is to use ingredients that are soothing and gentle or that ease the discomfort of rashes and irritations of the skin.

Over 20% of adults suffer from a form of acne, a skin condition of clogged hair follicles characterized by inflammation – in other words, pimples.  While much of acne is related to hormones and other internal components, there are some ingredients that can aid in the relief of this uncomfortable and embarrassing ailment.  People with acne will fall into one of the skin types above as well as choose acne relief products. 

Signs of Aging
Mature skin is often dryer and shows various signs of aging.  To prevent or diminish the signs of aging, including wrinkles, you’ll want ingredients known for their rejuvenating properties.  Ingredients that aid in skin elasticity and toning the skin are also very desirable.  Ones with antioxidants are very beneficial for maturing skin.

Watch for part two of this article next week:  Developing a Line of Skin Care - Designing Your Products

Master the art of soap, cosmetics and candle making and build the business of your dreams.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Jumpstart Your Career with Our 14 Week Summer Soapmaking Academy

It's that time of year - SUMMER!  You've probably set up summer camps and vacations with the kids, coordinated your July 4th cookout, and planned to relax and work on a tan.  Maybe you plan to take some summer courses and learn something new.

But, have you given thought to starting a soap business?  Maybe you have dreamed of a little shop by the beach where you can sell your coastal inspired soaps (and body products), but didn't know where to start or even how to make soap at all.  Maybe you can make simple soaps and want to learn fancy swirling or get a soapmaking certification.

Now you can learn everything you need to know about making soap, including advanced artisan designs, and how to start your dream business.

Enrollment is now open for our much anticipated, very limited 14 Week Soapmaking Academy, which begins June 1st.

14 classes are delivered on a weekly basis through our collegiate style online course.  Get all of the same course materials as our individual classes with added resources, practice opportunities, support and more. 
  • New course each week with lessons grouped within modules.
  • Short lessons within each module help you learn without overwhelm.
  • Videos go with you—watch & learn anywhere.
  • Videos, audios, PDFs, and more deliver content for any learning style.
  • Get hands-on practice at home and feedback from us.
  • Answer vault, discussion prompts, and extra resources included.
  • Work at your own pace - no set times
  • Global community allows you to connect with students worldwide.

Weekly courses include:

Payment plans are available for convenience.  Feel free to ask us questions.

Soapmaking, Bath & Body and Candle Making Classes
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Monday, April 27, 2015

FREE Start-up Costs Worksheet for New Businesses

Freebie Alert!

Enjoy this handy worksheet for estimating costs for starting a new business. This could be used for any business, not just soap and cosmetics.  Click on the image above to reach the PDF.

Free for personal or commercial use. However, you may not sell this worksheet or claim it is your own. You may share links to this document at the Bath Alchemy Lab website, but you may not post this document on your own website, blog, etc. as this infringes on our copyrights.

We regularly update our website with free resources, from links for good content to freebies made by Bath Alchemy Lab. Join our monthly newsletter to get updates when new resources have been added.

Soapmaking, Bath & Body and Candle Making Classes
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Monday, April 13, 2015

Top Handcrafted Soap and Cosmetic Trade Associations And Why You Should Join

Are you wondering if you should join an industry trade association?  

I joined the Handcrafted Soap and Cosmetic Guild in 2009 and have remained a member.  I have used a lot of their member benefits and have been to multiple conferences.  In fact, I teach at the conferences these days.  I have certifications through the guild and appreciate their work to lobby for its members.  I would certainly recommend them, but feel you should learn a little bit about your options, which are kind of slim in the handcrafted industry.

Let's take a look at the benefits of the major ones.

A trade association is an organization founded and funded by businesses that operate in a specific industry. An industry trade association participates in public relations activities such as advertising, education, political lobbying and publishing, but its main focus is networking.
Associations may offer other services, such as producing conferences, networking or charitable events or offering classes or educational materials. Many associations are non-profit organizations governed by laws and directed by officers who are also members.
  • Handcrafted Soap and Cosmetic Guild (HSCG)
  • Indie Business Network (IBN -formerly Indie Beauty Network)
  • Guild of Craft Soap & Toiletry Makers (GCSTM)

Handcrafted Soap and Cosmetic Guild (HSCG)

Taken from their website:
The Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetic Guild is the only international non-profit trade association serving the handcrafted soap and cosmetic industry. The object and purpose of The Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetic Guild is:
  • to promote and educate the public about the handcrafted soap and cosmetic industry;
  • to act as a center of communication among, and to circulate information beneficial to, members of the handcrafted soap and cosmetic industry;
  • to foster the handcrafted soap and cosmetic industry through education and training; and
  • to represent the handcrafted soap and cosmetic industry in matters concerning legislation and regulations affecting the industry.
Membership is open to all soap and cosmetic handcrafters anywhere in the world who make any type of handcrafted soap and/or cosmetics, as well as to the vendors who provide products and/or services to the handcrafted soap industry.
Benefits include:
  • $1M Product Liability Insurance
  • Free webstore and business listings
  • Numerous discounts with vendors
  • Soapmaker Certification Program
  • Annual Conference

Costs (annually):
  • $100 Professional membership
  • $480 with insurance in US
  • $500 with insurance in CA

Taken from website:
The Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetic Guild's Soapmaker Certification Program was undertaken in order to encourage and promote the highest professional standards among HSCG members. The Program also presents criteria by which members can measure their soap making knowledge and skill as well as creates a centralized repository for industry-standard information and resources. 
The Certification Program benefits the handcrafted soap making industry as a whole by establishing an industry-wide standard of excellence in soap making. Achieving these certifications will benefit the member as it demonstrates dedication to professional standards and builds credibility with customers.
There is NO certification program that is recognized by the governing bodies of most countries.  This is not the same as being permitted to sell (or certified to sell) these products within the EC guidelines.

Indie Business Network (IBN)

Taken from website:
Launched in 2000 by award winning home-based business advocate Donna Maria Coles Johnson, Esq., Indie Business Network is the first trade organization serving manufacturers of handmade soaps, cosmetics, candles, artisan perfumes, aromatherapy products, jewelry, baked goods, confections and other artisinal consumer products. 
Benefits include:
  • Educational materials
  • Liability insurance
  • Supplier discounts
  • Business promotions
  • Indie Cruise

Costs (annually):
  • $150 Membership
  • $398 Additional for insurance in US

IBN is run by an individual for profit.

Guild of Craft Soap & Toiletry Makers (GCSTM)

Taken from website:
The Guild of Craft Soap and Toiletry Makers (GCSTM) is a non-commercial organisation which provides information and guidelines about handmade soap crafting and the EU legislation that regulates the cosmetics and toiletries industry. 
GCSTM is run by volunteers who give their time freely for the benefit of both our members and the profession as a whole. The Guild operates an open admissions policy and membership is FREE to any soap or toiletry maker who holds safety assessments for their product range. 
The Guild has two very specific aims:
  • To raise awareness of the legislative standards that are in place that apply to craft soap and toiletry products
  • To register as members of the Guild crafters who work in compliance with this legislation and who hold relevant public liability insurance
There are a handful of smaller soap and cosmetics groups, which offer the following:
  • Networking
  • Conferences or Events
  • Supplier Discounts
  • Industry Education

There are also numerous associations for larger businesses in cosmetics and fragrance.

You may want to consider joining local organizations such as a Chamber of Commerce, as these often offer networking opportunities outside of the industry.

Are you a member of a trade association?  How do you feel about your membership?  Share comments below.  Just click on the number of comments to open the text box.

Soapmaking, Bath & Body and Candle Making Classes
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Monday, April 6, 2015

Starting a Soap or Cosmetic Business Is Like Being On a Roller Coaster

Starting your own business of any kind is a lot like being on a roller coaster.  Some days you may be excited, while other days you are downright terrified.  Okay, so maybe you are terrified the entire time.  While the feelings for the ride fluctuate, the laws of physics still exist.

If you don't take the time to buckle your seat belt, you could end up flying off the ride.  

Now you are probably thinking that the first part of that analogy made some sense, while the seat belt comment lost you.  The seat belt is a just metaphor for educating yourself on how to run a business to keep it safer.  While that roller coaster ride may end up being your greatest adventure, it could still be a catastrophe, regardless of the seat belt.  But without a seat belt (or education) you could very well be doomed.  It makes you feel more confident on the ride, too.

There are different methods of educating yourself, including plenty of good business books you can read about starting your own company.  Simply check out your favorite book store and be sure to read the reviews.  There are also lots of great free courses by SCORE, which I highly recommend.  The only problems with these books and courses is that they apply to any business of any size and do not address the special needs of the soap or cosmetic maker.

There is only one course specific to soap and cosmetic businesses, and that's the one created by us at Bath Alchemy Lab.

In our class, you'll gain the know how to start a business, making you feel more confident and keeping you on the path to success.

This course teaches you...

Before you start

  • How to know if owning a business is right for you
  • Determine if you have a business or a hobby
  • The importance of choosing the right name
  • How and why to find a niche

Getting started

  • Business start-up checklist for success
  • How and why to write a basic business plan
  • Start up costs to consider and funding options you might not have thought about 
  • Choosing your business structure for tax purposes
  • Finding the correct registrations, licenses, and permits in your area
  • The differences between trademarks, patents, and copyrights in layman's terms

Money matters

  • Pricing your products for profit
  • Bookkeeping 101 - the basics

Soap and cosmetic considerations

  • Trade association memberships and their benefits
  • Why you need product liability insurance and where to find it
  • A primer on labeling and good manufacturing practices
  • Soapmaker Software to track your business

Selling your products

  • Everything you need to know to start selling at craft and trade shows
  • Getting started in an online web store
  • Important considerations for wholesale and consignment

Marketing 101

  • Branding your business for success
  • Basic marketing principles
  • Crash course in social media marketing 

It's a little of everything to start a successful soap and cosmetic business.  There's over 8 hours of slideshow videos plus a manual with added examples and resources.

If you are nervous about starting your own business and want to set yourself up for prosperity, sign up for the online business class.  You can work at your own pace, anywhere in the world at any time.  You have lifetime access to the content and can ask questions throughout the course.

Start the business of your dreams today!

Soapmaking, Bath & Body and Candle Making Classes
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