In 2018, the cosmetics sector represented 24 billion Euros in France of which 26.7% represented beauty and care products. It is quite a booming field! However, launching and developing your cosmetics brand requires you to follow a few best practices that range from market research to selling your products and building your brand identity.
France: a rapidly evolving cosmetics market
In France, the cosmetics market declined significantly due to the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown. This mainly pertains to makeup products. At the same time, consumers, especially female consumers, have their hearts set on more natural formulations that focus on skin care. The future looks bright for this type of cosmetics, with special attention being paid to their composition. The certified organic label, the Cosmebio label or the absence of sulphates are very strong selling points. The nature of the packaging is becoming increasingly important as well. Recyclable materials like sugar cane-based plastic are all the rage.
Before the pandemic, France ranked 2nd in the organic cosmetics market in Europe with a turnover of 450 million Euros in 2018 (from a global market of 8.8 billion Euros). This type of skincare products, containing natural active ingredients, can thus be a great money-spinner, provided you target the right customers and prove your originality. Do not hesitate to seek expert advice in setting up your cosmetics business.
10 steps to creating your cosmetics brand
Study the market
Your success will be based on your market research. Study your competition, their strategies and their positioning on the key cosmetics product(s) that you plan to sell. This will give you a good idea about the viability of your project and how to adjust it to occupy an under-exploited niche.
Always remember that market research has to be as accurate as possible and must include as many figures as possible. After all, that is what will help you create your business plan and look appealing to banks and potential investors.
Create a business plan
Creating your business plan implies knowing the various types of expenses required to set up your company. You cannot overlook anything: the price of raw materials, the rent for your premises, the cost of your website, the cost of pre-marketing tests, etc. Be as thorough as possible !
Look for financing !
You can get financing from several channels, be it a traditional bank loan, public subsidies, crowdfunding or fundraising. Understand the repayment terms and conditions carefully and include these amounts in your business plan.
Define your brand’s values to target the right consumers
What are the values you want to put across through your cosmetics brand? Which are the socio-demographic profile(s) you want to target? What is your brand name going to be? You need to find the right answer to each of these questions. Your marketing, your sales channels and your pricing strategy have to be in sync with your values and your target, and must convey your brand identity.
Select your suppliers and distribution channels
The choice of suppliers for your raw materials is a crucial one, and all the more so if you are venturing in organic and certified organic cosmetics. You have to be sure about the traceability of the active ingredients used, their quality, their method of harvesting and packaging and even how regularly they are available. This would be especially important if you use seasonal or exotic plants.
You also need to set up your main distribution channels. To begin with, you can opt for an e-commerce business and only sell online. Or you can simultaneously sell through a brick and mortar store, a specialised store and even a supermarket. It all depends on your positioning and your target. Selling online will be a must if your target(s) are young and connected. If they are older and less urban, a mix of e-commerce and brick and mortar stores seems to be a more realistic approach.
Develop and test your products
The development of cosmetics products is key. You need to handpick experts and enlist the services of a laboratory. The testing phase is just as important. It is your job to create the perfect panel. Marketing authorisation is governed by very strict rules in Europe. This includes the product information package (PIP) and various information about the packaging such as precautions for use, claims, list of ingredients, capacity, product function, etc.
Choose your marketing strategy
Your marketing strategy must be meticulously crafted based on your market research and your brand’s style. Which levers should you use? What are your targets’ habits? If they are connected, a good natural and paid referencing on your website as well as communication on social networks seem vital. Do not neglect your consumers’ new habits like using smartphones, impulse buys, attention to brand values, etc.
Implement the marketing strategy
Implementing your marketing strategy involves the support of experts unless, of course, you have these skills in-house. But creating a fresh new brand means using multiple marketing levers to make your mark in the already crowded cosmetics space. Outsource what you cannot handle.
Be mindful of the legal side of things
Do not overlook the legal aspects. Register your brand name with the National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI). Obtain marketing authorisations for your products, and even an Ecocert and/or Cosmebio label if you have decided to launch an organic cosmetics brand.
Need a sworn translation?
Predict the future!
Even if you plan to launch only in the French market, do consider the internationalisation of your cosmetics brand now. Get your website, brochures and packaging translated at least into English. Entrust the entire process to expert translators to maximise your chances of success.
82% of cosmetics brands in France are family-owned. 67% are based outside the Paris region.
When launching your cosmetics brand, you may be confused by the sheer scale of the task. However, by having a methodical approach, having absolute faith in the quality of your products and with the support of marketing experts, your success is just around the corner!