Creating Beauty Concepts: 5 Key Questions to Answer

In the world of cosmetic and personal care product development, we all need a road map to our destination, especially when it comes to concept development.  It’s easy to come up with a creative idea, but there are questions to ask in the product design journey to create a product with impact.

Before a product is on the shelf for sale, there’s a tremendous amount of work to get from start to finish.  Consider this: concepts need to be envisioned, names generated, textures considered, technologies incorporated, formulas developed, claims discussed, and the consumer experience communicated.  And this is just the beginning.

5 key questions to answer in the creative space of beauty concept development:

1.    What makes the concept unique?

2.    Does it fill a white space in the product collection?

3.    Will it effectively compete with current products on the market?

4.    Can the high-level technology be easily communicated at the consumer level?

5.    What is the experience that the consumer will perceive with the product?

Having a well, thought out plan for concept development, and answering key questions that will make the product stand apart from the competition can deliver valuable impact on the journey of product development.  

If creating unique concepts for your products or brand is in your plan this year, contact me to schedule a consultation to talk through your goals. Email cherie@beautyedgeinc.com  Check out our site www.beautyedgeinc.com

The WOW! Effect

It's said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and in a venue like In-Cosmetics, the attention of beauty is captured by those things that sparkle, twinkle, illuminate, glow, bubble, shimmer, shine and beg to be viewed and appreciated by an experience using multiple senses. Among aisles and aisles of new technologies, innovative advancements, presentations, studies, and flashing signage that saturated the space at In-Cosmetics London, one of the common factors gaining attention were booths with engaging displays and eye catching appeal.  

 

Photo credit;  cherie buziak #in-cosmetics17

In today's Beauty Market, we who are involved in bringing products to market face that same challenge -- catching the consumer's eye, even when the consumer may be quickly walking or surfing by. With more sales completed digitally, how do we connect to the consumer? How do we make that sale? What moves a consumer to the purchase? One piece to consider is the WOW! effect. It's not something new, but it is more important now than ever.

These same things that attract us as product developers, chemists, innovators and game changers are the same things that attract our final customer. The goal is gathering all of the technology available to us to deliver something new, fresh and outstanding.

Yet, the secret sauce isn't always in the perceived visual. While continuing to try to capture the consumer's interests and market share, these eye candy, visually appealing aesthetics as pictured above is the goal. And innovation is key. 

For example, it isn’t really the sparkle that is being presented as the technology in the image; the technology is in the vehicle that suspends the glitter, the clarity of the gel, and the way the suspension of the formula holds the weight of these particles. All of these elements combined are the interrupters of someone walking by to stop, take a look, explore, ask questions and engage with the product.  


Are you interested in adding a WOW! effect to your products? Do you need technology or ideas  that will make your products stand apart and intrigue the consumers enough that they will step in and purchase the product?  If you'd like to learn more about creating aesthetic appeal or a strategy for your brand, contact me to schedule a consultation to talk through your goals. Email Cherie@beautyedgeinc.com  Check out our site www.beautyedgeinc.com

DEVELOPING COSMETIC PRODUCTS: 3 KEY THOUGHTS TO KEEP IN MIND

You’ve decided to create your own private-label beauty brand. Congratulations! Next steps?

If developing a new cosmetic brand is on your wish list, I’d like to share a few key thoughts to keep in mind. 

 

three things to keep in mind concerning cosmetic product development.  

Concept. This is the beginning. What is the story that you would like to tell about your product?  Will it help reduce lines and wrinkles? Will it help moisturize skin? Will it help even skin tone? If it's a color collection, what is the shade line up?  How well will it wear?  Whatever the product story is, take the time to really think about how you can communicate your product in three words. Use your creative power and write out the look, the texture, how it will feel on skin, the color of the bulk, what the experience is that you want the final user to enjoy and benefit from. Write out  the claims of how the product will benefit the end user.

Note: With writing claims, you will need to ensure that the claims are viable through clinical studies.  Make sure that you have a budget set aside for testing. In the beginning, just start with a wish list of claims. This is the list that you’ll be turning over to your chemist so that he/she will know how the product should perform. THE TAKEAWAY: Create a profile for your product.

Benchmark. It’s best to start with a benchmark formula especially if you have never developed a product before. A benchmark can be a competitive product that you like for the aesthetic application, a product that you like for end benefits, or a starter formula from a chemist’s library. The reason to have a benchmark available is that the chemist or lab will know exactly where you want to land with the finished product, how you want it to look, how it should be dispensed, etc.  A benchmark will streamline the process and will take out a lot of guessing and reworking of the formula along the way, which can turn into hours of lab time and added expenses. The chemist will also be able to look at the ingredient list and will have a better idea if the performance that you have in mind will match up to some of the materials that are in your benchmark formula. You can always make tweaks along the way to customize the formula, but if it’s your first time starting out with a product, it’s easier to stay in close range of your benchmark target. THE TAKEAWAY: Have a formula starting point.

Ingredients or technology. Do you have to have the next best innovation or high-end technology in your formula to see a difference on the skin? Well, actually, yes and no. You can have a compelling story and great product performance by being very clear about what you would like the final formula to do. Let the chemist decide the primary materials to use as your formula base, and then if there is a technology or ingredient that you are particularly interested in, have a conversation with the chemist to see if the material is compatible in the base, and also inquire about the cost of the technology. At the end of development, the full product will be tested for the performance that you are looking for, so don’t be guided only on the active ingredient as the workhorse in the formula. THE TAKEAWAY: Trust your chemist.  

Bonus point: Hire an expert to help you. Can you guide the development of a cosmetic or skin care product on your own? Sure, yes, you can. However, like everything else, is this really the one more thing that you want to add to your plate? If you want to get your product launched in a timely fashion, don’t hesitate to bring on the extra help you’ll need to source vendors, finalize the technology, develop formulas, speak in chemist language, or to use as a second eye for design, copy, and marketing.

If launching your own private-label cosmetic or skin care brand is in your plan for 2017, or if you’d like to learn more, contact me to schedule a consultation to talk through your goals. Email Cherie@beautyedgeinc.com  Check out our site www.beautyedgeinc.com

 

PROTECTING YOUR BEAUTY BRAND AND YOURSELF: 3 KEY THOUGHTS TO KEEP IN MIND

 Imagine this:  You’ve developed your own private-label products, or perhaps you put together a few natural ingredients and are packaging your own custom formula in your facility.  You introduce the product to a long-standing client, and suddenly an allergic reaction occurs with your client or, worse yet, an infection develops after using the product. Now what?  

Having been in the product development beauty industry for years, I’ve been privy to cases where the  end product users will try to gain compensation against products they have tried on their skin, even if the formula is rigorously tested and passes all sensitivity and safety measures.  A reaction can happen. And even if you think a responsible gesture such as paying for your client’s doctor bill will cover you, it won’t. A client can sue you for damages that you never even thought of, even if they misuse the product. And unless you’re ready to back yourself up with a lawyer and court fees, the situation can put you out of business.

Here’s three thoughts to keep in mind to help protect you when developing your own brand.

Safety. It’s best to have your formulas developed with a  reputable lab that specifically prides itself in using quality-controlled ingredients. Controlled ingredients means that the material used from batch to batch will satisfy testing standards and that there will be aesthetic consistency with your formula from batch to batch.  Once the formula is made, some safety testing measures include checking that your product helps prevent a micro environment that’s ready for bacterial growth, testing for known skin sensitivities, and testing for acceptable use around the eye area.  THE TAKEAWAY:  Test products for safety

Stability. It’s easy to add xyz ingredient to a formula, bottle it, and then put a label on it.  However, consider that each adjustment made to a specific formula will affect your overall formula ingredient list (IL) or formula balance. The product must be tested for stability so that it doesn’t separate in the long term and that it can maintain its integrity in different environmental conditions. Additionally, package compatibility helps ensure that the component will not leak any of your formula and that the formula works with the component materials.   THE TAKEAWAY:  Ensure product stability

Product Liability Protection. Search for insurance companies that not only cover you and your business but also cover you and your products. Ask “what if” situational questions. For example: What if a client decides to sue you because a product that you sold them burned their skin or caused further skin complications? According to Sara Bumby  FirstImpactNY, it’s imperative that Product Liability insurance is purchased because “Most contract manufacturer and distributors will require it to work with you. Although it is not required by  law to have product liability insurance, the importance to protect yourself from a potential lawsuit is critical, or loss of your goods. I think of it similar to Homeowners insurance, it is there to protect me for the just in case situation.”  

According to Sara, “There are two main different types of insurance in the cosmetics industry which I would recommend researching, Product Liability and Professional Liability. Product Liability for cosmetics, which includes all personal care, is a specialty insurance that not all insurance carriers cover. When researching the right company for you, let them know the type of products you want to cover with your policy first thing. This insurance is for the physical goods. It not only can help protect you from a lawsuit, but will also protect your goods in case something happens and you are in need to replace them. (Every policy is different. Reading the fine print of what will and will not be covered is critical.)”    

“Additionally, Professional liability is for people who give advice. Are you directing people on the use of the products? Could you, by an error or omission, misdirect someone in the use of a product? If so, then this may be another insurance you need to look into for yourself. Be sure to research whether this will cover you if you have a blog.” THE TAKEAWAY:  Protect yourself and your business  

Bonus point: Hire an expert to help you. Can you launch a brand on your own? Sure, yes, you can. However, like everything else, is this really the one more thing that you want to add to your plate? And how are you going to protect yourself and your brand against any potential mishaps? If you want to get your product or brand launched in a timely fashion and ensure that it is safe and stable, don’t hesitate to bring on the extra help you’ll need to source vendors, finalize the technology and formulas, and to speak in chemists language.

If launching your own private label brand is in your plan for 2017 or if you’d like to learn more, contact me to schedule a consultation to talk through your goals. Email Cherie@beautyedgeinc.com  Check out our site www.beautyedgeinc.com

If you’d like to learn more about quality control and global regulatory requirements, contact Sara Bumby Sara@firstimpactnewyork.com  Or visit her site FirstImpactNY


Stay tuned for the next post in this series on  “product and formula development.

LAUNCHING A PRIVATE LABEL BRAND: 3 KEY THOUGHTS TO KEEP IN MIND

It’s 2017 and perhaps you’ve thought “I want to launch my own skin care/cosmetic collection.” If you are a small business owner, an esthetician, or a cosmetic medical or spa owner, launching a new product brand is a great way to establish yourself in the marketplace and gain additional income for your business.

If a new brand is in your future, here are a few things to consider.

1.  Have a plan. Start out with a  business plan supported by a marketing plan. Your plan is adjustable and you can change it along the way. Consider it almost like a living document. In the plan, consider your mission statement, your goals, the financial commitment needed for your brand for development and sell-through, your target market, pricing strategy and competitors. It doesn’t take a long time to create a plan, but you need to know where you are going and how much this will all cost. And consider the extra help or expertise that you may need to hire on, even if temporarily, to get your brand launched. THE TAKEAWAY: Create a business plan.

2. Marketing. Alongside a business plan is a marketing plan. Sometimes marketing plans are included at the end of the business plan as an addendum. However you treat it, it’s best to have a marketing plan in place. Once you have thought about your products and created your business plan, how are you going to sell the product through? What PR support or other media will you use to promote your collection? How will you plan new product launches or introductions? This, like the business plan, can have room for adjustments along the way. THE TAKEAWAY: Create a marketing plan as you create your business plan.  

3. Start small. Depending on the size of your facility, there is no need to rush into launching a 10 to 20 sku collection. Start with just a few key pieces to give you the opportunity to introduce the products and its special features to your clients. Also, launching with only a few pieces allows room to spare for new product launches in the future. THE TAKEAWAY:  A conservative launch is okay.  

Bonus point: Hire an expert to help you.  Can you launch a brand on your own? Sure, yes, you can. However, like everything else, is this really the one more thing that you want to add to your plate? Adding product development can be a great note for your CV, but if you want to get your product out in a timely fashion, don’t hesitate to bring on the extra help you’ll need to source vendors, finalize the technology, develop formulas, speak in chemist language, or to use as a second eye for design, copy, and marketing.

 

If launching your own private-label brand is in your plans or if you’d like to learn more, contact me to schedule a consultation to talk through your goals.  Email Cherie@beautyedgeinc.com  Check out our site www.beautyedgeinc.com

Stay tuned for the next post in this series: “Protect yourself against possible product liabilities.”





 

CHALLENGE YOURSELF !

 Do you challenge yourself and the level of work that you produce to refine your product development skills?

Let’s talk about concept development writing for a moment.  An integral piece to product development.

I was fortunate to have one particular employer during my career (a boss), that encouraged me to look more outside the box, than within the box, when developing concepts for products. 

Outside the box, innovation, forward thinking, thought leader - they’re all clichés.  Yet,  they’re also the terms we use to get out of ourselves and our normal approach to doing things in order to better refine and solidify our skill sets.

I’ll never forget the incident that pushed me out of my usual approach to concept development, the moment that made me stop and take a closer, more critical look at my work. After submitting a skin care concept to my boss, it was returned with massive comments all over the ideas I worked so hard to develop! I recall looking at the paper, and saying “wow” out loud !  I was surprised.  I really thought that I had turned over a pretty good concept.  In that moment,  I was immediately transported back to the days of being corrected by my elementary school English teacher.

What did I do?  I said - “I’ll do it again." I pushed past my hurt pride and began an intense revision process. And then, the “aha!” moment I was hoping for...I understood that the product needed to have “life."  I was very good at technical writing, but this needed more...it needed to be told from a deeper or inner place that was relational to the consumer.  It needed a romantic story that captured people’s attention and opened up their senses to want to explore the product more!  I began to dig deeper, carefully selecting words that were emotionally connected, while at the same time incorporating high-end technology in simple terms.

While the push to continuously revise concepts was a challenge for me at first, I continued to listen to my boss’s feedback and to work on my skills. I would rewrite concepts over and over, read them forwards, backwards, share them with coworkers for feedback  and change sentences around   until they clicked and had the magic that gave them life.

This sincere mentoring of my boss — and my reaching out for constructive criticism—paid off a few years later as I took on a new role for a brand that allowed me to proactively develop products for the skin care, color, and fragrance categories.  It’s a rare opportunity in the beauty industry to be given a role to develop cross-category.  Had I not stuck with pushing through the learning curves—risking being wrong, and using  constructive criticism to my benefit —my creative growth would have been stunted.  

What's your biggest challenge during concept development?

a) using romantic language to bring the product to life

b) writing about high-end technology in a consumer-friendly way

c) asking for and using constructive criticism to make your concept stronger

Want to challenge your work?  Ask for feedback from team members that you normally would not approach to critique it.  See what new ideas you can develop from taking a risk and challenging yourself.  

Need assistance or fresh ideas with concept  writing  ?  Contact cherie@beautyedgeinc.com   

 

RAW HARVEST: AN INTRIGUING PRODUCT STORY

 

Creating new ideas and concepts around promotional materials for beauty products can be daunting.


 The challenges? 

•   Creating a story different from competitive products
•   Aligning with trends
•   Telling an appealing ingredient story  
•   Engaging the consumer  
•   Translating high-end technology to an understandable consumer      level

One way to get away from the mundane of creating an intriguing ingredient story is to literally step outside and examine your environment.

It’s October.  Apple picking season is in full swing.  Colorful pumpkins are adorning manicured gardens.  Fragrant smoky notes from backyard fire pits fill the cool, crisp nights with a familiar and cozy aroma that welcomes a chillier season.  If you’re reading closely, there are at least 5 ingredient concept ideas in this last paragraph…did you notice them?  

What better way to create a marketing ingredient story than around fall harvest-inspired ingredients that are familiar, comforting, and healthful? You can count on Fall coming back again next year - seasonal materials will always be on trend – no room for mistakes here!

To help tell the story of promotional materials to incorporate within beauty formulas, I reached out to a few industry raw material experts keen on trends and healthy ingredients.   


Janice Hart of Bell Flavors and Fragrances, which sources botanicals from all over the world, states, “As we are now in the Fall Season the following botanicals come to mind - Cranberry, Pomegranate, Yam and Pear. Mostly these extracts are known for their high anti-oxidant  or moisturizing properties. Each of these extracts have been launched in unique skin and body care products in the last year. So this season, you don’t have to source the globe for exotic materials in order to keep up with skincare trends. Instead, simply step outside and find fresh ideas in the familiar ingredients of your local harvest!” 


While focusing on the ingredients of the fall season, also consider today’s lifestyle. Health and wellness are prominent lifestyles that have moved from trends to ways of living. Products that protect the skin from the aggressors of urban living, pollution, and the environment continue to be desirable performance attributes for the consumer. 


Need ideas for healthy fall materials? Consider walnuts! Yes, Grenoble walnuts - green walnuts, sourced from the French Alps.  The walnut tree, is able to live up to 400 years, and is an example of a real challenge to aging. Over the centuries, it has protected the secret of its long life.  According to Lauren DelDotto, Marketing Manager at Gattefosse,  “Gatuline® Age Defense 2 is an active extract of Grenoble walnuts.”

And, how can we forget pumpkin this time of year?  The powerful orange fruit is, above all, rich in nutrients and is one of the fruits with the highest anti-oxidizing carotene content to which it owes its fine orange color. 

Using fresh pumpkin cells, not extracts, can be a unique way to talk about this powerful active.  “Fresh Cells™ are cellular suspensions of whole, fresh plant cells resulting from a mild and selective extraction process.”    According to DelDotto, “when Fresh Cells™ come in contact with the skin, they will degrade due to enzymes in the epidermis and physical application, and will sparingly pour out their precious content – protected, until that point, in a sort of natural microcapsule.”

Creating new concepts can be fun and challenging at the same time. But a simple walk around the block can help open your creative eyes to what’s possible.  

Need help creating product concepts using high-level technologies or familiar ingredients?  Contact info@beautyedgeinc.com   We can schedule a conference call to discuss some starting point ideas for your next beauty product launch.

Missed the last update? Check out what we’re up to at www.beautyedgeinc.com - click on the InnerEdge tab.

PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT - FIRST TO MARKET

Product Development – How a Setback Became a First to Market Product

first to market concealer
first to market concealer

Speed to market, first to market … to market, to market, to market … how fast can we get there, and can we get there first?! 

A number of years ago, I was working with a third party lab on an under eye concealer project - one texture and five shades. While this type of out-of house development was unusual for my employing company at that time, the brand I worked on opened doors to collaboration with outside manufacturers. 

Mid-development, a financial issue arose between the vendor and the corporate company. Long story short, I was blocked from doing any further development work with the vendor.  My dilemma: I still needed to deliver a product to meet the calendar dates for Marketing - five skus for 4th quarter.  The products were scheduled in the calendar, they were in the budget, and development started—there was no time to rework the product calendar at this point. What to do?

And then—that aha! moment.  I thought outside of the normal color cosmetic development process and re-evaluated an anti-aging skin care formula that I helped develop a few years earlier.  It contained an encapsulated retinol release technology.  

My questions were:

 1.)  Can I use the skin care bulk as a concealer base? 
2.)  The bulk was white.  Will it hold enough pigment/color without drastically changing the texture?  
3.) Would the retinol technology in the skin care bulk still perform if pigment was added to the bulk? 
 4.) Could the product maintain anti-aging skin care claims and deliver color performance? 
 5.) Could this be first to market???  

With time tight and preliminary stability testing on its way, the R&D team bought into the idea immediately and started testing the product with pigment. And voilà!  We had a remarkable product to deliver that was better than the first concealer concept originally slated on the calendar! 

The final product was innovative, with skin care performance claims and color payoff.  The legal team confirmed that there was no other product on the market at that time with this type of performance.  You could say it was a CC under eye concealer way before its time!  

Are you looking for innovation?  Think about ways you can turn your current product development projects around to make them something even greater than your original concepts!

If you liked this post, keep an eye out for future posts on first to market product development. 

Missed the last update?  Check out what we’re up to at www.beautyedgeinc.com - click on the InnerEdge tab.   

PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT - THE FIRST WIN!

Product Development – The First Win!

Winning a CEW (Cosmetic Executive Women) product award is like winning an Oscar in the beauty industry.  It’s a big deal!  One thing to understand about product development is that the win is the result of a team effort.  When the product wins, all teams win.

First Win Cream
First Win Cream

How to get a winning product? Easy question—not so easy to answer.

My best recommendation is that when starting with the concept, think of ways that might give the product an edge, that makes the product first to the market in its performance, something that no other product has addressed: a new technology, a new texture, a new way to fit into today’s lifestyle, a unique color, a new way of dispensing, a nuance that might be a slight change, prompting someone to say “Why didn’t I think of that?”

Luminosity (Avon) was one of those award winning products. I joined the marketing team at the mid-development point.  My contribution included working with teams to complete the aesthetic development and texture, product performance, claims development, training and copy development. 

The story doesn’t end here.  In an upcoming post, I’ll share my experience about attending a first production run on this product.