In 1972, Arizona Natural Resources (ANR) began operations with a single product—mineral mud masks. Over our nearly 50 years in business, we added numerous other skin, hair, and other personal care products to our repertoire and, in the mid-1990s, shifted our focus to providing contract manufacturing solutions to those seeking to launch their own products or an indie beauty brand.

Contract manufacturing allows companies to hire a third-party company to produce custom goods for them. In the personal care product industry, these partnerships allow the contracting company to focus on other core business operations—such as marketing and distributing their cosmetic and other beauty products—without having to worry about development and production operations. As a result, they can significantly streamline internal operations and reduce overall operational costs. Both of these qualities are essential to the successful launch of an indie beauty brand.

How to Start an Indie Beauty Brand

If you’re planning to start an indie beauty brand, there are many factors that need to be considered to ensure the success of the business. Below we provide some helpful tips to guide you through the pre-launch process.

  1. Familiarize yourself with FDA regulations.In the United States, cosmetics and other personal care products are subject to regulations from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These guidelines apply to both the manufacturing and marketing (i.e., the labeling and packaging) of the products. It is essential to obtain an understanding of the FDA and industry rules and regulations to ensure you conduct business legally.
  2. Create a niche product. The beauty industry is highly saturated. Standing out among the broad selection of products available necessitates choosing a product or narrow line of products that fill a void in the market.
  3. Test the product.Create samples and distribute them among a small group of your target audience to determine whether it meets you and your target market’s expectations.
  4. Figure out how to scale the business.When planning operations, it is important to leave room to grow. For example, hand-painted packaging offers a nice touch early on. However, it can severely limit your ability to accommodate a greater number of orders. Similarly, manufacturing and packaging products at home saves money initially, but forming a partnership with a contract manufacturer allows you to scale your supply to meet changing demand.
  5. Register the business.Before you begin operations, you need to register your business and secure business insurance. Employing the help of an accountant and lawyer earlier on can streamline both of these processes, but it is possible to fulfill these requirements by yourself at a lower cost.
  6. Develop branding and packaging.The aesthetic of your brand and product packaging should match your vision. Professional designers can help you create the vibe you want.
  7. Build a marketing strategy.Once the approved product is manufactured and packaged, you need to get the word out about its release. Your marketing strategy can include attending beauty industry events, posting on social media, forming partnerships with beauty influencers, and other marketing tactics.

Key Factors to Consider

If you’re looking to start a new beauty brand, you must make a critical decision: will you manufacture your products yourself, or will you partner with a contract manufacturer? While both options are viable, there are many reasons to choose the latter, including the following factors:

  • Cost-effectiveness:By outsourcing your manufacturing operations, you avoid the costs associated with purchasing manufacturing equipment and training employees to use it.
  • Production speed:The contract manufacturer you choose likely has experience producing similar products to the one(s) you require, they will typically have the knowledge and tools needed to optimize production operations.
  • Quality control:Contract manufacturers should already have the QC processes in place to guarantee the finished products meet industry standards and your standards.
  • Business focus:Contract manufacturing partnerships free up your time and resources to focus on other aspects of your business—e.g., customer service, quality assurance, and marketing—to ensure they get the attention necessary for your business’s success.

Once you’ve decided to go with contract manufacturing for your indie beauty products, the next step is finding the right manufacturer. Here are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind:

  • Do they have the resources (i.e., the experience, employees, and equipment) to produce your products?
  • Do they do business the way you want to do business? How will you assess performance or make changes?
  • Do they have the ability to grow with you? Can they handle the volume you require and give you the attention you deserve?

ANR: The Ideal Contract Manufacturing Partner

A contract manufacturer can help you get your indie beauty brand off the ground and into the hands (and hearts) of consumers. If you’re looking for an experienced partner, turn to the experts at ANR. To learn more about our contract manufacturing capabilities and how we can facilitate the success of your new business, contact us today.