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Everything Gets Made Twice: the Secret to Cosmetic Product Creation

Arianna Andrews, Chief Commercial Officer

May 2, 2021 · 7 min read

If you have not heard Mary Morrissey’s Ted Talk on transforming dreams into reality, then you are in for a treat.

And if you are thinking about building a beauty brand, or you are about to start creating a cosmetic product, then consider this YouTube video a “must”.

Though Mary does not address beauty entrepreneurs, or cosmetic product creators specifically, she offers tips, or a “code”, for transforming a dream into a reality:

For many product creators at the start of their journey, the path to creating a cosmetic product is largely unknown, often winding, and sometimes too challenging to complete.

The hurdles, whether they are financial, personal, practical, or circumstantial teach us one thing: cosmetic product creation is not easy. But here is a secret—one that Mary mentions in her talk:

  • CLARITY

  • CONVICTION

  • DISCOMFORT

  • (AND GETTING OVER IT)

Cosmetic and beauty products, like every object around us—our phone, the park bench, our running shoes—all started as an idea before becoming a product.

This statement is simple and powerful.

And yet, countless beauty founders forget it or underestimate its importance.

Developing a solid idea around your cosmetic product concept requires (at least) three things:

1) Get Clear on Your Idea

Before a cosmetic product can be created, you will need to think about all the physical and non-physical aspects of your product: how will it feel, look, smell, perform? Who is it for, where and why will they buy it, what will it cost and how is it different from the competition (ref. red ocean vs. “blue ocean”)?

Though a good start, Instagram or Pinterest pictures alone are not enough!

You might be familiar with the Four Ps of Marketing (Product, Price, Promotion, and Place), but if not, and the jargon is new, the exercise still applies:

Your cosmetic product requires that you think about more than the product itself.

As a beauty entrepreneur, you will have a product and business. Your “Idea” should lay out both—specifically—so you are informed and prepared when you create and bring your product to market.

2) Be Convinced and Act with Purpose

Only after developing your idea (tip 1), should you turn your attention to suppliers, and to production and manufacturing. Ideally, you have a product brief before contacting suppliers. Your cosmetic product brief contains all the information on your product that you defined in step one—look, feel, function, price, customer, market, etc.

Whether you contact formulators, manufacturers, packaging vendors, or marketing professionals, suppliers will need your brief so they can provide you with information. They can assess the feasibility of creating your product, give you a time estimation and a quote.

You can use this information to refine your idea and decide if, how, and when to start creating your product. Specifically, you can work out your budget and plan the work ahead.

Based on your brief and the quotes, decide which work you will do yourself vs. delegate to a team or outsource to suppliers.

When you are clear on what to do and how to do it (before starting), the process of product creation will be less daunting and easier to manage.

3) Adopt a Resilience Mentality

There will be surprises; there will be obstacles.

Having a robust idea and being purposeful does not make your project immune to challenges. Even the best planning and tenacity cannot prevail over all hurdles along the path of product creation.

Trends shift, laws change, and nature, as we know, can be an ally—or not.

Even experienced beauty founders hailing from the cosmetic and personal care industries from brands like Herb+Flora, Priori Skincare, and Vera Lab (all founded by ex-industry executives and professionals), can still face challenges when bringing a new product to market.

Regis Haberkorn, a co-founder of Priori Skincare and a seasoned beauty industry executive, warns new creators against a potentially crippling problem: packaging shortages.

He shares what he learned with Daniela Ciocan (former Marketing Director of Cosmoprof North America) about monitoring packaging supply to keep production going in the face of critical global challenges in logistics.

Moral of the story: Planning is essential, as is being adaptive to unforeseen change and being resilient. A plan that is flexible and (a few) backup strategies will help beauty entrepreneurs and cosmetic creators especially in times of unforeseen setbacks.

Thomas Edison famously replied to a reporter who asked, "How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?" Edison:

“I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”

Think it, Plan it (Revisit it), Build It

“Everything gets made twice”, does not literally mean that final products are made multiple times, though it is common in formulation industries (ie/ cosmetics, personal care, food & nutrition, etc.) that several prototypes are developed before the final product is chosen.

The expression means that there is power in planning.

It means that there is a step (a few, actually) between dreams and reality and that you can transform your idea into a product with a greater probability for success if your starting point is clear.

A product idea is a business idea, which needs to be articulated in a brief, which should lead to a clear and purposeful project plan.

It does not mean that to be successful as a beauty entrepreneur, a product idea or a project plan, no matter how well-structured, are enough on their own to be successful. But without developing an idea first and completely in our minds, without dreaming of innovation and sketching the path to new achievements, your product will never be created.

And, if products aren’t created, then innovation slows, and dreams go unrealized.

Getting to “happily-ever-after” for cosmetic creators and dream builders means putting on our thinking cap, following in Edison’s 1000 footsteps, and embracing Mary’s belief that everything gets made twice.

Arianna Andrews, Chief Commercial Officer

Written by

Arianna Andrews, Chief Commercial Officer

Chief Commercial Officer at Goldn

Connect with Arianna Andrews, Chief Commercial Officer on LinkedIn.

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