Upping the Ante
Mastering the Game of Consumer Demand through Private Label Products
By Michelle D'Cruz
In today's global marketplace, manufacturer-branded cosmetics have taken a back seat to progressive private labels. These days, customized skincare offerings are capturing market share and attracting notice with unprecedented vigor. In 2005, an ACNielson global study conducted across 38 markets found that cosmetics represent the fastest growing private label sector. The private label cosmetics market is growing at an astonishing rate, nearly doubling the rate of manufacturer-branded products and establishing rank in the game of consumer demand.
The benefits of developing private label products are endless. Not only do they allow salon owners to make their services tangible, placing their names and reputations directly in the homes of their clients, but they also enable beauty professionals to create a product that adheres precisely to their needs. Joyce Cayli of Reflections of You Salon & Spa in Fairfax , Virginia notes, "With private label cosmetics and skincare, I no longer have to settle for products that don't measure up. I have an active hand determining the ingredients and composition, resulting in the customized products that match my clients' needs. Best of all, there's never any worry that a product will be discontinued or altered. I have complete control."
The beauty of customized skincare and cosmetics is that you can start simply and gradually develop your product line. Visit trade shows to personally speak with private label manufacturers, asking questions and viewing samples to ensure quality of workmanship and service offerings. For private labelers such as salon and spa professionals, the key to consistently drawing consumer interest is attainment of a meaningful brand experience and value-driven product.
When developing your own private label cosmetic line, there are several key factors to consider.
Ask yourself if your salon has a distinctive image-a defining characteristic or monumental philosophy that sets you apart from all competition. Branding is about more than a design aesthetic or packaging trend. It is the packaged perception and individual experience delivered to your client. Branding should be reflected in every aspect of your salon, inclusive of everything from employee attitudes to your product line.
Look to the Principle P's
When ready to begin your private label planning process, consider the pillars of any successful product development campaign: the four P's, otherwise known as Product, Price, Promotion and Positioning. Your Product entails more than a delicate shade of eye shadow encased in a pretty little package. It speaks of your service, your salon and your client's experience. Strive to create a quality-driven line that thrills and excites, satisfying needs while keeping clients coming back for more.
Product development is made easy these days with readily available resources of private label manufacturers. Companies such as California-based Skin Blends and Texas-based CBI-Creative Beauty Innovations, Inc., provide a multitude of options in regard to hue, scent, packaging and chemical development. Whether you desire to refine an existing line or start from scratch with your very own product, such companies will work closely with you to match your every want and need.
Having developed such a line, Cayli recommends, "It's important that you find a company that will supply you with a strong base product that you can gradually build off. I've found that every client is unique in his or her needs. Private label products allow me to individualize my skincare services to provide the solutions that best suit my clients."
Be cautious when determining your pricing strategy. Take care not to underestimate the potentially devastating power of under or over pricing. Set your pricing at a value driven level reflective of quality and customized delivery. Positioning, while more intangible than Product or Price, is perhaps the most defining attribute to consider. How do you wish the product line to be known? Does your salon speak of savvy chic, urban brash or upscale elegance? Develop your line and packing in consistence with your branded salon image and intended effect on client perception and experience.
After successfully planning for and creating your private label product line, be proactive in promoting your services to clients. Remember, knowledge truly is power. Educate them about the ingredients and benefits of your products so that they may make informed choices and play an active role in the decision making process. Cayli advises: "Make sure that you understand the purpose of each ingredient in the chemical composition so that you can answer clients' questions knowledgably and confidently. I've found that once my clients understand the need for and benefit of customized skincare, their decisions become obvious. They want a product that works directly for their specific skin type."
Promote your products through salon and spa services, remembering that your reputation as a beauty professional will be affected by the quality and use of your signature products. Work with employees until they master the line so that they too can promote retail sales among salon and spa clientele.
As a beauty service provider, it is important to constantly question your methods and motives, asking yourself how business can be improved and clients made happy. In an industry of ever evolving technology and trends, such a task may at times seem daunting. However, the simple truth is that solutions are attainable. Endeavors such as the development of your private label product line will give you a leg up needed to delight clients and propel yourself ahead of the competition.