I do my same spiel at the first meeting with a client, so I decided to write it down. And, if I had to sum it all up in one article, this would be it.
1. Start out simple. While some of us think up a concept and are instantly flooded with combinations and colours and proprietary blend ideas, I highly recommend starting out with ONE product, ONE variant, ONE idea, in general. Once that is perfected, begin to slowly expand.
2. If you do decide to go full creation crazy and begin with a range in mind, remember that it’s going to be in your best interests to buy ingredients in bulk. So, rather than having a range where every variant has a different combination of oils, stick with a standard recipe for all and just alter one thing. It keeps your costs down and keeps the product consistent, both of which your customers will appreciate.
3. Don’t forget, it’s not about the number of ingredients in your product, it’s about how they work together and what their combined powers can create. It may take you a lot of trial work to find that magic recipe for your needs. My favourite product recipe contains four main ingredients.
4. Future-proof your product. Rather than printing a label range with specific scents and colours, consider terms like ‘fragrance’ and ‘soap colourant’. That way should your main fragrance be discontinued, and you need to change the scent; or you decide to move from a lake colour to a pigment, you don’t need to spend money reprinting your labels.
5. Don’t get caught on the new ingredient bandwagon. So, Aloicious Oil is the new ‘big thing’ on the market (I made that name up, don’t Google it for hours), there is no need to be adamant in your desire to use it. Just because every magazine is talking about it, it’s not necessarily the best option for your product. Because I can guarantee you, after 20 years in developing products, the next ‘big thing’ will be along any time now.
6. Check your proposed company name, product name, product range names, product type name etc. aren’t already in use by someone else and trademarked. Sit down and google every combination you can think of. And then try another search engine, just in case.
7. Be particularly cautious of potential patents. Companies like that big beautiful four-lettered one from the UK (big fan, here) WILL prosecute if they find you are using the term ‘bubble bar’ for example. It’s only a matter of time. They don’t care how big your business is, they paid for that patent. Join online groups which discuss legal matters in the product development world, stay on top of these things.
8. Never make medical claims on your labels, unless you’ve had them proven. Don’t even say ‘may help with’ or ‘contains lavender which is known to…’ as these are not acceptable phrases in NZ.
9. NEVER make and sell products like sunscreens unless you’ve had them lab tested. If you’re not sure why, Google homemade sunscreen and clumping, for a start. The potential for harm is not worth taking a risk when it comes to certain product types.
10. When it comes to labelling, do your homework and then do it again. And then get it checked. If you don’t get an A+ then start over, it’s that important. In NZ, we must comply with EPA requirements. And don’t forget, if you plan to put it on a shop shelf, it will need a barcode.
Consider using a Product Development Consultant:
We have made all the mistakes, learned everything the hard way, we know a lot about what goes with what and what definitely doesn’t.
We’ve trained specifically for this industry and stay current with ingredient and recipe developments, the science side, the legal side, labelling, quality assurance and health and safety, so we can create the best product possible with you.
We can point you towards the best places to purchase ingredients, packaging, labelling, barcodes etc.
We can train you in how to make them or direct you to a suitable sized manufacturer.
And we bring a lot of passion to the process, because we love what we do, and we want a happy client with beautiful products.
Karen Malone, Product Development Consultant and Trainer
BSc. Zoo., Dip. OHS., Dip. Herb., Dip. Aroma., Mstr. Cert. Cann., Nat. Cert. Massage
Regional Representative for NZROHA
Astra Studio, INTL
Bay of Plenty, NZ
027 388 3260