Starting a cosmetics company is a dream that many people share, and today’s technology makes it easier than ever! Anyone can learn how to develop a loyal following and build an effective marketing strategy. And with the plethora of available options for private label cosmetics companies, you don’t need to manage the manufacturing process. In this guide, we explore how to get started, what to look for in a private label cosmetics company, where to look, and a few of the popular cosmetic manufacturers that you may want to consider.
Where to Start
1. Do Your Research
Make sure you know what you’re getting into before starting a cosmetics business. Establish a starting budget and make decisions on your business from there. Generally speaking, you can start a cosmetics business for around $1000, which includes the product, packaging, shipping, website setup, etc. However, if you want to create a high-end, luxury cosmetics brand, you may need to invest more at the start.
You’ll also need to research any labeling requirements as mandated by the FDA. If you’re looking to create a CBD-infused skincare line, you’ll also have to look into state and federal regulations for your specific product. Many private label cosmetics companies take care of those details for you, but it never hurts to know your stuff.
2. Determine Your Niche
Determining your target audience will also assist you when it comes to finding a private label cosmetics partner. Do you want to provide natural or organic cosmetics? Look for companies that only use ingredients that fit that description. If you are a proud women-owned business and desire to make products specifically for women, consider partnering with likeminded companies.
3. Develop Your Brand
Choosing your target audience and developing your brand often go hand-in-hand. Some private label cosmetics companies dedicate a portion of their business to helping you develop your brand, so choosing a company that does just that may be the best choice. Finding a private label manufacturer that matches your brand is key.
4. Pick a Platform
Choosing between an e-commerce platform and a brick-and-mortar store is all about weighing pros and cons. If you already have a brick-and-mortar business or have the ability to get your products into boutiques, more people have the chance to see and interact with your product before buying. However, you might have to deal with consignment fees. By contrast, you could instead sell your product on an e-commerce platform like Squarespace, Shopify, etc., but you deal with challenges like setting up and maintaining your site.
5. Market Your Brand
Social media is a powerful tool when it comes to marketing a cosmetic company. Take to Facebook and Instagram and tell the world about your products! Partner with influencers and customers, sending out gifts and samples. Once customers start posting about your products, you can reshare their posts and testimonials; user-generated content (think unboxing videos and makeup tutorials) does wonders for attracting potential customers to your page.
What to Look for in a Private Label Cosmetics Company
To avoid getting into a partnership with a private label makeup and beauty products company that just isn’t a great fit, it’s important to do your homework. Research different companies to find out which are reputable and have a history of customer satisfaction. We’ve identified several features and characteristics to look for in a white label cosmetics company.
For cosmetics manufactured in the United States, the FDA is tasked with regulating production and has very specific guidelines for labeling cosmetic products. The FDA does not approve any cosmetics or inspect them for safety prior to sale, including those produced by private label cosmetics companies. They do however regularly inspect facilities to ensure they’re in compliance with manufacturing standards.
Additionally, the FDA sponsors a Voluntary Cosmetics Registration Program that provides a platform for producers to list ingredients, frequency of use, and other information important to consumers. Although voluntary, participating in this program will likely boost customer confidence in the cosmetic products you’re producing. If you’ll be marketing cosmetics abroad, check to make sure your private label cosmetics manufacturer has met the standards of the governmental agencies charged with regulating the production of makeup in the countries you’ll be targeting.
Government Regulations and Safety Standards
Not all private label beauty products are produced domestically. In fact, the overseas production market is robust and often significantly cheaper than offerings available in the United States or other North American, Scandinavian, Oceanic, or European countries. Although it may be tempting to increase your profit margins by contracting with an overseas private label cosmetics company famous for low prices, their products may not adhere to the same standards for purity and other legal requirements that domestic private label producers are held to. Importing lower-quality products with questionable safety can leave you vulnerable to issues ranging from increased customer complaints to legal issues involving product safety.
Quality Sources and Raw Materials
Private label makeup and beauty products can only be as good as the ingredients that went into making them. Research the process that private label cosmetic manufacturers use to source their ingredients. Do they create their cosmetics using materials produced domestically or sourced overseas? Are they produced from only all-natural, organic, vegan, cruelty-free, or Fair Trade-certified sources? If your target audience favors any specific characteristics like these, be sure to choose ingredients that are sourced to the same standards.
If your makeup line has a specific emphasis such as Fair Trade, make sure the private label company you select is able to comply with the certification requirements needed to make your brand stand out. If you’re interested in launching an organic, vegan, Fair Trade, or cruelty-free line, you’ll want to ensure your products are produced in accordance with your chosen certifications.
Levels of Service
Private label cosmetics companies typically offer several tiers of service depending on your budget. The most basic involves selecting products and packaging from stock options where formulations, product packaging, and even the product name are already predetermined by the manufacturer. In this case, they’ll put your company name and logo on their stock formulations to customize it. On the other end of the cost spectrum, everything is customizable, from the product formulation, to the packaging, to the branding. How bespoke your product will become is largely determined by how much you’re willing to spend.
Low Minimum Order Requirements
At first, you may not want to produce a large amount of each product in your beauty line. Especially during the piloting phase of your marketing efforts, you may not be in a position to place a large order. Some producers are more willing than others to run small batches, so look for a low-minimum or no-minimum private label cosmetics company.
How to Find a Good Private Label Cosmetics Company
Once you know what to look for in a company, it’s time to start searching for specific private label cosmetic wholesalers and manufacturers that meet your requirements. You can find quality companies in a myriad of ways, but we’ve compiled a few recommendations here to help get you started.
It goes without saying that a Google search is the best way to begin your research. There’s a wealth of information online about the private label cosmetics market. Chances are, you’ll find answers to your most important questions here. In addition to learning more about industry leaders, you’ll find a number of smaller, lesser-known private label cosmetic producers that may not have been on your radar previously. If you’re interested in producing a specific type of product (like vegan or organic), an online search allows you to easily filter out cosmetic manufacturers that don’t specialize in your area of interest.
Attending an industry trade show can be a fun and ideal way to locate a private label cosmetics company to manufacture your product. Going to one of these events allows you the opportunity to get a better feel for the company culture, make connections, and sample a large number of products in a relatively short amount of time. By far, the largest and most popular is Cosmoprof North America, held annually in Las Vegas. Other large cosmetics trade shows include Premier Orlando, BeautyCon in Los Angeles, and the Face and Body Spa Conference in Atlanta.
Always look at reviews and customer feedback. Additionally, if possible, schedule a short call with a few of the company’s customers to find out what they like and don’t like about doing business with the private label cosmetic manufacturers on your shortlist. Reviews let you glean valuable lessons from others’ mistakes or successes.
Requesting Product Samples
Private label cosmetic manufacturers are usually quite willing to send out samples to potential customers. Once you’ve narrowed down your search to a handful of private label makeup producers, reach out to each one and request samples of the products you’re most interested in. There really is no substitute for trying out actual samples yourself. Receiving samples of lipstick, concealer, and other cosmetics to test out is the best way to become familiar with manufacturers’ product quality. Creating a new brand can be very personal, so taking the time to select products that meet your standards and represent your name well is truly invaluable.
10 Best Private Label Cosmetics Companies
Based on our research, and judging from the number of positive reviews these manufacturers have received, we’ve compiled a list of the most popular private label cosmetics manufacturers.
Onoxa has a simple and efficient process for folks looking to start their own skincare line: choose your formula, pick your packaging, and brand your business. The Onoxa team handles everything from conception to the creation of your product. They also offer free label design services with product orders. Their customer reviews rave not only about the products themselves but also how easy it is to get started.
2. Nardo’s Naturals
One of the only organic private label makeup manufacturers, Nardo’s Naturals offers a wide range of skincare and CBD-based products. They have the added benefit of offering a free label and box design with each order.
3. Mineral Mine
Mineral Mine is a full-range private label makeup manufacturer that specializes in mineral makeups using all-natural mineral pigments blended in their proprietary formulations.
4. Lady Burd
Boasting an extensive library of formulas and thousands of color choices, Lady Burd makes finding the perfect blend easy. Lady Burd also offers custom blends developed in consultation with their in-house chemists.
5. Radical Cosmetics
Radical Cosmetics is a family-owned-and-operated private label cosmetics producer specializing in color cosmetics and skincare products. Every one of the products is produced domestically.
6. Audrey Morris
One of America’s longest-running private label cosmetics manufacturers, Audrey Morris offers both traditional formulas and mineral-based makeup lines. An extensive range of product packaging and in-store product displays makes it easy to get a new cosmetics line up and running quickly.
A high-quality domestic producer of color, skin, and hair care private label products, Mana is a Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) compliant cosmetics manufacturer.
8. Pinnacle Cosmetics
Based largely in Canada, Pinnacle Cosmetics provides high-quality makeup and skincare products for many brands. Pinnacle has quick turnaround times and even has a pre-set collection of bestsellers, meaning you can launch your private label business within a matter of weeks.
9. Indigo Private Label Cosmetics
Indigo Private Label Cosmetics was founded on several generations worth of experience in the makeup industry and their service proves it. With no minimums, Indigo is a great choice for those just starting out.
10. Dynamic Blending
A full-line private label manufacturer, Dynamic Blending offers a range of turnkey cosmetics and skincare options, along with more specialized offerings like eyelash growth serums and custom essential oil blends. Dynamic Blending offers a very low minimum order, making them a solid choice for those interested in small-scale market testing.
Choosing a private label manufacturer is one of the most important decisions you’ll make when starting your cosmetics company. Take your time conducting your research and deciding who you are as a brand, and you’ll be able to confidently choose the perfect business partner!
We’ve worked with cosmetic brands of all sizes, helping them to create packaging labels that stand out. Our team is happy to answer any questions you have about cosmetic labeling and help you choose the best type of label for your cosmetic products.
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This post was originally published in May 2020 and has since been updated with new information.