At the end of last year our team came together in Zurich to celebrate the festive season and to spend some quality time with each other. We are a hybrid team based all over Europe and it was such a treat to get together and enjoy a lovely dinner in each others actual real live presence.

As we sat together we also reflected on the year and naturally it got us talking about successes as well as mistakes. We try to create a culture in which we celebrate the first and learn from the latter. And in the spirit of Eleanor Roosevelt’s quote “Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.” – we thought it might be helpful to share some mistakes we have seen and been involved with over the last few years.

Most relevant to you are the mistakes that happen when starting a new private beauty brand/product line. So let’s have a look at the 6 biggest mistakes to avoid when doing so:

No. 1: Walking on thin ice – Underestimating the importance of credibility

One of the most significant mistakes, we have noticed, when launching a new brand or product line is that of founders underestimating the importance of credibility.

Merely being a skincare enthusiast or having a passion for beauty may not suffice. To have a considerable following on SoMe with beauty content is a great start but also not the guaranteed route to a successful brand/product.

Consumers nowadays more often than not seek authenticity and trustworthiness in the brands they support. Especially with products they apply to their bodies. And customers are increasingly more informed. It’s crucial to have a compelling story and a robust background that lends credibility to your brand. You have to become an expert in your field.

Establishing credibility through qualifications, research and partnerships

Without a solid foundation built on expertise, research and relevant experience, gaining consumer trust is challenging.

Investing in establishing credibility through qualifications, research and partnerships can significantly enhance your brand’s perceived value and authenticity in the competitive beauty market.

We believe credibility is not just a bonus; it’s a cornerstone for success in this industry.

No. 2: Fragile foundations – Poor research

“Kill your darlings” is a concept we have borrowed from the world of creative writing. It advises writers to be willing to delete or revise their favorite passages or ideas if they don’t serve the overall quality or coherence of the work. It emphasizes the importance of prioritizing the integrity and effectiveness of the writing over personal attachment to specific elements.

We think the same goes for building a brand or creating a product line. Your first big idea might be fantastic but it is very likely that it’s not going to be the one you are ending up with and you need to be prepared to let go.

We have met founders assuming their big idea (for which they may have worked hard to create) is unique, when in truth it already exists in the market and therefore may not be as new or innovative as they had hoped.

Of course just because something already exists doesn’t mean it can’t be done again and maybe in an even better fashion, but that’s not the point. The key is to always do thorough research and to keep over attachment to our ideas at bay.

It’s essential to understand consumer needs, trends, and competitor offerings

Failing to do so in the beginning can lead to overlooking existing competitors and struggling to understand market dynamics.

It’s essential for founders to delve deeply into market research, understanding consumer needs, trends, and competitor offerings. Flexibility is key; founders must be willing to adapt and pivot their ideas based on research findings and market requirements. 

Sometimes, the most successful ventures arise from being responsive to market demands rather than clinging to the original concept. By prioritizing comprehensive research and remaining open to refining their ideas, founders can increase their chances of creating a truly innovative and successful beauty brand or product line.

No. 3: Lost in the financial fog – Not understanding your Budget

Ok, so let’s talk money. Underestimating the expenses associated with building a brand/product is not uncommon. The bottom line is: The cost of developing a product is never cheap.

Creating a quality product entails costs that extend beyond its initial formulation. Budgeting should encompass expenses for marketing, packaging, public relations, warehousing, sales, shipping, and more.

Proper budgeting covers every aspect of the brand’s growth

Failure to anticipate these costs accurately can lead to financial strain and compromises in product quality or brand visibility. Nothing worse than a halt in the middle of production because money ran out. This might sound dramatic to you but it’s happening more often than you would think.

Understanding that the investment in product development is substantial helps in realistic financial planning and resource allocation. Proper budgeting ensures that every aspect of the brand’s growth receives adequate funding, fostering sustainable development and market success.

No. 4: Racing against reality – Unrealistic timeline expectations

Having unrealistic timeline expectations is another one of these mistakes that has the potential to drive you crazy.

We have been to meetings where potential clients demanded a new product line within 3 months. And while we are priding ourselves on being one of the fastest and most efficient organizations out there – three months (and this was during a global pandemic too) is not a realistic timeline for a product line with 6 new launches. 

Creating a product from concept to finished form is a complex process, often subject to unpredictable delays, especially within the intricate supply chain. Think raw material shortages, transportation strikes, delays during the customs clearance process or due to regulatory compliance issues.

Quality control measures and thorough testing take additional time and cannot be rushed without risking product integrity.

When planning your timeline be generous and prepared for setbacks

Rushing to bring products to market without accounting for these complexities can simply lead to chaos and frustration.

So when planning your timeline be generous and prepared for setbacks. Get in contact with us if you need help here. This too is what we do on a daily basis.

No. 5: DIY disasters – Not getting expert consultation

The fifth mistake when launching a new brand or product line in the beauty industry is the failure to acknowledge the necessity of seeking outside consultation. You might not need it for all the aspects of your venture but you need to understand when it is inevitable and then get the right people on board. 

When creating a product there are several crucial steps to follow. Regulatory matters alone for example, which vary between countries, demand expertise to navigate effectively. Have you ever heard of the „Council of Europe Resolution ResAP(2006)1 on a vigilance system for undesirable effects of cosmetic products (“cosmetovigilance”) in Europe in order to protect public health“ or the „Resolution ResAP(2005)4 on sun protection products to optimise consumer protection“? No? You get our point. 

Other aspects along the line like design, packaging, and formulation require insights from specialists entrenched in the industry too. Attempting to manage every facet of the brand independently can lead to oversights, compliance issues, and inefficiencies.

Embracing the need for outside consultation demonstrates wisdom and a commitment to excellence. Collaborating with experts not only streamlines processes but also can ultimately save money by avoiding costly mistakes and ensuring efficient resource allocation in the competitive beauty market.

Trust us, this is our business and so far we have helped quite a few ships to navigate some treacherous waters, so to speak.

No.6: Champagne taste but beer money – Unrealistic design expectations

Last but not least – this revolves around unrealistic design expectations. All of us want an attractive and sexy looking product packaging design, but some clients harbor overly strong aesthetic preferences – often without an understanding of design principles or industry requirements.

Additionally, budget constraints then often collide with aspirational ideas leading to misconceptions about the affordability of luxury packaging.

Adding another layer of complexity to design considerations: Certain beauty products necessitate specialized containers or materials, It’s essential to remain flexible and open to alternatives, embracing designs that balance creativity with practicality and affordability. And that is absolutely possible. Over the last 3 years we have found some incredible suppliers with whom we collaborated on amazing designs. 

So yes, collaborating with experienced design and packaging specialists can help navigate these challenges, ensuring that the final design reflects both the brand’s vision and the practical demands (regulatory and logistical requirements) of the beauty market.

In summary, launching a new private beauty brand or product line presents exciting opportunities alongside significant challenges. Talking about those openly is key to avoiding them in future and instead paving the way for a smoother and more successful journey. If you are interested in reading more on how to start your private beauty brand journey you might find our blog post A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO LAUNCHING YOUR OWN BEAUTY PRODUCT LINE interesting.