Selecting a manufacturer for your self care products is one of the most important long-term business decisions that you will ever make.
The wrong choice can result in poor product quality as well as costly delays in the launch — not to mention poor reputation in the market if they end up in your customers’ hands. So, here is everything you need to know about finding the right manufacturer for your self care retail business.
If you have self care products to sell and are ready to grow your business, Aventive Studio can help you create an unforgettable brand that captivates your customers.
The Difference Between a Manufacturer and a Supplier
When you are starting a business that sells products, you will need to find a way to get those products into your hands. There are two key ways you can go about doing this: You can buy your products directly from manufacturers or source them from suppliers.
If you are just getting started in retail, you may be confused about the difference between manufacturers and suppliers. While the terms are often used interchangeably, there is a key distinction between them.
A manufacturer is a company that makes products from raw materials — or component parts of a larger product — that it also produces. They may also have their own suppliers for components and raw materials used in the manufacturing process.
A supplier, on the other hand, is a company that purchases finished goods for resale to its clients or customers, without changing the product in any way. They don’t make goods from scratch; they get them from the manufacturers and then resell them to retailers.
In addition, manufacturers need to have the in-house expertise to make their products; they must own the entire production process, from raw material procurement to distribution.
But a supplier doesn’t have any manufacturing capabilities. They buy products from manufacturers at wholesale prices, add a mark-up, and sell them to their customers.
What to Do Before Selecting a Manufacturer
Conducting market research can help you see if there is room for your product in the market. Look at what products are popular and selling well. Are there any holes in the market? If so, this might be the perfect opportunity for you!
Once you have found a niche that needs filling, create a list of potential customers and reach out to them. Find out if they would buy your product and how much they would pay for it. The results will help you determine whether people are actually interested in purchasing what you are offering, which is essential to having a successful business.
Aventive Studio offers brand strategy services for your self care business that include competitor research, target profiles, customer journey, content strategy, and more.
Patent registration is a valuable investment. It ensures that your product is entirely unique and that no one can copy or recreate it without your permission. This is particularly important if you are selling self care products as companies are known to steal formulas and rebrand them as their own.
Having a patent will show how unique and original the formula of your product is. You can use this documentation while looking for potential manufacturers to prove that your product has legal backing and requires to be treated in unique conditions.
Brainstorm The Packaging
Brainstorming can actually help you flesh out your product concept, packaging, and other details that will be useful to convey to your manufacturer.
You don’t have to have the final design picked out quite yet, but you should have an idea of what kind of packaging you want to use for your product. Do you want a simple plastic bottle with a label? Or do you want something more sophisticated and eco-friendly like a frosted glass jar?
The type of packaging you choose will determine which type of manufacturer will be best. This includes determining:
- Product descriptions
- Aesthetics (What are the right self care colors?)
- List of materials/components
- Shipping requirements
You can view case studies of our self care branding & packaging design work here.
Prototypes are one way for you to test out your self care business ideas and make sure they have a reasonable chance of succeeding. They are also a good way for potential customers to get an idea of what your products will look like before they decide whether to buy.
Once you have your prototype, there are several tests you should perform:
- Market testing: The most important test of all is getting your product into the hands of consumers. It is critical to know if your target market likes your product and if they would recommend it to others.
- Durability test: This determines how well the product stands up to normal use.
- Claims substantiation: Does the product perform as claimed? You want to make sure that not only does the product work well, but that it also works as intended.
- Challenge testing: These tests determine how long the product remains effective when exposed to various conditions, such as in different temperatures, with exposure to light and air, and after being opened over time.
What to Look For in Your Self Care Product Manufacturer
Size of the Facility
A manufacturer that has a facility with enough space to accommodate your initial and potential future production needs will be an asset to your business.
For example, if you anticipate that your demand will double in the next five years, it would make sense to do business with a manufacturer that can handle the volume. This will prevent you from having to move operations later, which could cost extra time and money.
Besides, the size of your facility can also determine how much of your product they can manufacture and in what time frame. In addition, you need to know what kind of facility you are dealing with, which will make it easier for you to coordinate with their team.
A manufacturer that is a perfect match will contribute to the sustainability, growth, and profitability of your business. Make sure your chosen manufacturer has certifications from regulatory bodies that help protect consumers from harmful ingredients and bad manufacturing practices.
For example, manufacturers that are certified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or the National Science Foundation have demonstrated the ability to adhere to strict standards in terms of hygiene, production, and quality.
You might also want to look for certifications from Fair Trade regulatory bodies if you are creating a sustainable brand. These certifications will ensure that your products are manufactured via a fair supply chain.
Don’t take their word for it. Ask for copies of all the certifications: FDA registration, cGMP compliance, ISO certification, etc. If the company isn’t willing to share these documents, keep looking for other manufacturers.
As mentioned earlier, not all manufacturers are created equal. Some have expertise in specific areas, while others have experience across multiple industries.
If you are looking for a manufacturer that specializes in self care products, ask these questions: How long has the manufacturer been producing self care products? Are they able to produce the type of products you are looking for?
Is it a specialty they focus on or do they also manufacture other types of products? What makes them stand out from other manufacturers?
The idea is to partner with somebody who has expertise in your product category. If you are making bath bombs, for example, choose a company that specializes in making bath and body products. They will have insight into how to create the best products as well as be able to do it at an affordable price.
Research and Development Capacity
As a brand, you need to work with a facility that’s actively investing in new technology and equipment to stay ahead of the game.
With so many brands out there, you will need to stay ahead of the competition if you want to thrive and your manufacturer should be able to help you with product development and formulation to ensure your products stand out from the crowd.
Location of the Facility
Working with a local manufacturer has its benefits. You can visit the facility and see how your products will be made, which helps build confidence in your manufacturer. Local manufacturers also will have better insight into local laws and regulations and you will end up saving on logistics.
That said, don’t discount working with manufacturers overseas. In many cases, they may be able to produce your product at a lower cost than a U.S.-based manufacturer can, which will leave more room for profits. That’s particularly valuable if self care products are just one part of your business.
So, You’ve Got the Manufacturer. What Next?
Once you choose a manufacturer, the next step is to think about how you are going to put your products out there. That’s when you need to think about self-care marketing and branding. Because sure, your products must be great, but if people don’t know about them, they won’t buy them.
Quite simply, branding is a way of telling the world who you are and what you do. This includes everything from creating a logo to designing your launch event. And you need somebody who has done it as a process multiple times before to make sure everything goes smoothly.
That’s where Aventive Studio comes in! Contact our Creative Director to start your self-care branding or rebranding project today and can uplevel your business.