How to Sell Skincare Products - in this part of the course we will be looking at how and where you can sell your homemade cosmetic and skincare products
Welcome to Part 8 of the online Skincare Business Course!
Hopefully you have now read through the first seven parts of the course:
Part 1 - Creating your own skincare brand
Part 2 - How to decide which products to sell
Part 3 - Who are you going to sell to?
Part 4 - Additional certifications and accreditations
Part 5 - Natural skincare product development
There are lots of ways to sell your homemade skincare, cosmetic and beauty products and you can work your way through the options below. They are listed in no particular order. Start with whichever option(s) you want. Some people just want to sell in one particular way, for instance online only from home, and that's fine. Just start with what you feel comfortable with, get confident and nail all the issues with that sales channel, and then move on to the next opportunity. This way you can scale up your business slowly whilst staying in control.
Whichever way you decide to sell your homemade skincare products, every product needs a CPSR (cosmetic product safety report) before it can be sold legally in the UK. Read all about getting your CPSR's in the UK.
So let's have a look at the different ways in which you can sell your homemade skincare products:
Selling skincare products from your own physical shop
This option will certainly not be for everyone. It usually means you will need to make a substantial investment in renting (or buying) a bricks and mortar shop and kitting it out, You will have a whole load of issues to deal with if you take this route, but it's all entirely doable with the right help. Things like getting a good location for your shop in an area with plenty of footfall, leasing or buying the property, shop fitting and staffing. This option certainly isn't for the faint hearted and on the property front you will definitely need expert legal advice whether renting or buying.
However, for some people this is what they want to do and it's exactly how Romy Fraser started Neal's Yard in 1981!
The benefits of this model of selling are that you can make a name for yourself locally. You can become the 'go to place' for natural skincare products. If you have enough space you could rent rooms out to other small businesses such as beauticians, hairdressers or massage therapists. The customers that these people bring in to their business will also be potential clients for your products as they walk through the door. This is potentially a great way to ensure you get an income from a property whilst you are building your own business up.
You can also link this model with selling online via your own website too.
Selling in small business units or craft centres
If you are lucky you may have some small business units near you. These are where someone has converted a warehouse or a building into many small units, just right for small start-up businesses. I'm not talking about office blocks (although if you are looking to rent some space outside your home to expand this would be ideal), but shop units, a bit like a craft centre or indoor market type of set-up.
These types of units can be fantastic for a small business start-up. They give you a bricks and mortar presence in a building where there are other small businesses so you all get to benefit from the customers who come as people tend to wander around and have a look. Some of these centres are themed and can often be based in tourist areas. There is one near me which is filled with craft shops such as silversmiths, potters, sewers, leather workers and ceramic artists and would be an ideal site for a small handmade skincare business and it eve has a tiny cafe! The rents are usually very reasonable so if you want a proper shop but don't want to take the leap into a large building, this form of selling may be suitable.
Selling skincare products online from your own website
If you want to work from home and fit your business around other commitments, such as a growing family, then you could sell your homemade skincare products online from your own e-commerce website.
The easiest way to do this is to set up your own website with an on-line shop. You don't have to have loads of pages. Just a Home page (make this super attractive and with a clear and simple layout that's easy to read), an About page (giving your story), your Shop (with all the products you sell in), a Blog page (see page for Online Marketing), a Contact page (for messages and queries) and a Legal page (with your various legal policies detailed. Find out more about making your website legally compliant. Make sure you have some lovely photos of yourself on your About page as this is where people usually go to first learn about your business and your products.
There are lots of options for creating websites, Wix, Squarespace and Wordpress to name but a few. If you feel a bit out of your depth creating your own website you can hire someone else to design it for you. Fiverr.com is a good place to source someone to build your website, you can even select what platform you want it developed on.
You also need a domain name for your website. This would be something like www.mynewshop.com. You can buy domain names (if they are not already taken) and even if the one you want, for instance mynewshop.com is taken, you can try other versions such as mynewshop.co.uk or .net, .online or .uk.
Don't use the free versions of any website development platform as you won't be able to get your own domain name, just a sub-domain of the platform
With a bit of care you can take some of your website photos yourself (although you will probably need a commercial photographer to do your product shots for you). You need to decide what text you are going to have on each page as well.
For more information on SEO (search engine optimisation to help your website pages get ranked on Google searches) and using blogs on your website as a sales tool, read the Online Marketing page. It's really useful to get some idea of SEO before you start writing the text for your website so I would recommend doing the Mastering On-Page SEO course by Stephen Hockman of SEO Chatter if you can.
Selling homemade skincare products on Etsy
If the thought of setting up your own website totally overwhelms you, then you could start your own shop on a platform like Etsy, which is a great marketplace for handmade skincare products.
Remember though, even if you set up your own shop on Etsy you still need to ensure that you are selling your products legally. Each product that you sell has to have a CPSR (cosmetic product safety report). Find out all about getting CPSR's in the UK.
With Etsy you can personalise your shop with your brand colours, photos and logo then just add your product details to your shop and off you go!
Starting on Etsy is an easy start-up solution because Etsy are doing the marketing for you to get customers to your shop. Just remember that you will be paying Etsy a commission on every sale as well as to any payment provider that you use. You need to work your costs out first to make sure that you are selling your products at a price that, after all the costs you incur via making them, selling on Etsy and posting to buyers, you still have a profit.
Selling homemade skincare products on social media
You could set up a Facebook shop or have a clickthrough shop from Instagram. If you use social media a lot and are comfortable creating social media content then this may be your easiest way to start. You can drive your sales through your social media posts but you need to think about where your target customer is going to be hanging out. Research your social media platform to see what the average age of use is (tips on how to research social media platforms) and try to use whichever platform your target market is most likely to visit. This could be more than one platform, but the only problem with this method is keeping up with your stock levels. If you sell a lot on one platform you may be out of stock when someone orders from another platform if you have different stock holdings. tart on one platform first until you get into the swing of things and then think about expanding.
Selling homemade skincare products on sale or return
This method of selling can work in some instances. I tried it in two different sorts of outlets. The first was a shop that promoted local handmade goods of any description. It basically provided the shop area and different producers of goods put their handmade items into the shop for sale. If the products sold then the shop took a commission of the sale and paid you at the end of the month. It works a bit like an art gallery. The shop that I used had a really good selection of crafts that attracted people including ceramics, art, wood furniture and fabric crafts so brought in quite a good footfall.
The only downside to this method of selling is that you need to keep an eye on your BBE dates on your products that are in the shop. You will also be responsible for popping in and checking that supplies of your leaflets, tester products and stock levels are adequate, but often a phone call to the shop can suffice.
Make sure any handmade skincare products are not displayed under hot lights as they get too hot and can be ruined
You can also try selling sale or return through beauty shops. For instance, if you were making a nourishing nail balm to improve the condition and speed at which nails grow
then you could try visiting nail bars or beauty salons to see if they would be interested. Start by explaining what your product is and how it works and offer to leave a sample with them to try. You could offer to set up a small display of your products in their shop by the till and then give them a commission on every sale with the balance owed to you to be paid at the end of every month.
There has to be a good deal of trust for this method to work but if you only start with 5 - 10 products it's not too much of risk and once they have signed for those products going in to their shop (always get a signed receipt of delivery) then it's easy to see how many have been used.
The benefits of this method works both ways. The shop gets to sell a product for a commission at no initial outlay or risk and you get your product displayed in a retail shop, hopefully near the till! When someone buys your product they may buy again direct from you via your website or social media channel - just made sure your product labels are designed correctly and have this information on them. (See more information on branding and design).
Depending on what products you make you will need to try different outlets. For instance, nail balm in nail bars and beauty salons, body oils in beauty salons or gift shops, intensive hand balm in country stores and if you make very eco-orientated products, try some of the health food shops or shops that sell food for you to weight out yourself. Think about where you ideal customer will be visiting and target those shops.
Selling homemade skincare products wholesale
This method means making products and selling them to other businesses to sell in their outlets. To do this you usually have to be able to produce larger amounts of products and sell them at a much cheaper price (the shop will need to put their mark-up on them).
The bonus of this method is that when you are making greater quantities then you can usually buy your raw materials for less (check ingredient suppliers page). You then make a smaller mark-up on a product than if you were selling direct to a customer yourself, but you don't have to market and sell them all.
If you are selling the product yourself as well, you don't want anyone selling the product for less than you do
One of the places where you can easily list your homemade skincare products for sale wholesale is on Faire.com. This is a wholesale marketplace website where you can set up all your products just to sell wholesale. When selling wholesale you set a minimum order level and this could be either a quantity, for instance 25 bars of soap if you just sell one product, or a minimum order amount, for instance £100, if you sell more than one product.
Selling homemade skincare at markets, fairs and festivals
You can have a great time selling at markets! Look for local craft markets, farmers markets, Christmas and Summer fairs and festivals. You can also sell at the big events, such as the Bath Christmas market or the various Country Fairs that take place over the summer around the country. Be prepared to pay a lot for a stall and you will also have your travel and overnight costs to cover as well if away from home, but the footfall at these types of events is huge.
If you have a product such as an outdoors hand balm
then going to country fairs would be your ideal market as there would be a lot of prospective customers. You can just make one single fabulous product and sell it really well.
Fairs and markets can be hard work but so much fun as you get to meet lots of people and it's usually quite busy. If you want to sell via markets here are some tips that may make life easier for you!
Get yourself a sweatshirt or polo shirt in your brand colours with your company name printed on to wear at all events.
Pack up the night before so you are ready to go.
Use large plastic storage boxes with lids that fit well to transport your stock.
You'll need a card machine linked to your phone or tablet to take card orders, look at Zettle and SumUp.
You will still need a small float of cash as some people still prefer to use it.
You will need a decent sized table(s) to display your goods on. You can buy these from Amazon and e-bay. Make sure you get one that folds down for transport but is heavy enough and stable enough to put your products on. You don't want a cheap, wobbly table.
Make a covering for your table that is large enough to go down to the floor on all sides. This is because it looks superbly professional and neat and also means you can store all your boxes with extra stock, packaging and your bags underneath the table without looking messy. I used a plain black cover but you could do one in whatever your brand, product or website shop colours are.
You can buy or make a sign with your company name on to display on your stand.
If you are doing outside events you will usually be provided with a covered roof structure as part of your pitch price to protect you from the rain. Buy some tablecloth weights from e-bay or Amazon and make sure you have enough to pin right around your table cover. This will stop the wind from blowing your cloth up and knocking your products over.
Make your stall look attractive. You may need some wood or perspex shelving to display your products on, some leaflets for people to take away with them (they may still buy from your website or social media shop later). You could also have some plants or flowers. Be creative and make your stall as attractive as possible.
Always have some testers of your products available. If you are using any type of balm or cream product where you would need a finger to get it out of the tin, then you need to buy some cheap disposable wooden mini spatulas or coffee stirrers so that customers can use these to get the product out of the container.
Make sure you have some tissues or wet wipes available for people to wipe products off their hands or mop up spills.
Make sure you have a price list on your stall in a lovely frame and that the print is large enough for people to read without their glasses.
Take a calculator, pad and pen with you.
Write down the items of stock you sell so you can keep track of your stoc levels and this also helps you calculate how much money you have taken during the day.
Be prepared to talk about your products! They should be your passion and joy!
Home parties, baby club, toddler groups and school events
If you are starting your business whilst trying to fit it around your family you could possibly try selling to family and friends via home parties and asking friends to host parties for you.
Alternatively, why not see if your local mother and baby club or toddler group would let you set up a stall once a month?
There are all sort of opportunities for you to sell, think about school Christmas and summer fairs or other events locally that may be suitable.
Always keep your eyes open for an opportunity to showcase your homemade skincare products. Family and friends will get to know about what you do and word will spread. You'll be surprised at how often someone will think about you when a suitable opportunity occurs!
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