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How to start a homemade cosmetics business

Updated February 21, 2017

Homemade and artisan cosmetics businesses are becoming more and more successful due to growing consumer demand for products that are custom made and contain few harsh chemicals. It is possible to start this type of business no matter what size city you live in because you can retail your creations online. Starting a homemade cosmetics business can be fun, but there is a good deal of planning and research involved.

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  1. Become familiar with FDA regulations regarding cosmetics (see the link below titled "FDA Cosmetics Guidelines" in the "References" section). These regulations will govern how to label your cosmetics, what ingredients cannot be used, and how to go about advertising your cosmetics without making medical or health claims.

  2. Decide what type of cosmetics you want to sell; this will define your target market. For example, you can make and sell cosmetics for women of colour, to hide tattoos or for mature skin, or you could specialise in organic cosmetics.

  3. Pick one or more outlets to sell your cosmetics. This can include an online artisan marketplace, such as 1000 Markets or Etsy; your own e-commerce website; an auction site, such as eBay; a mall kiosk, booth or store; wholesale to local independent cosmetics boutiques; or at local craft fairs and festivals.

  4. Purchase bottles, jars, tops, natural oils and butters, fragrance oils, essential oils and skin-safe colouring to make your cosmetics from a company, such as From Nature With Love or Wholesale Supplies Plus. You do not need any business documentation to purchase from these companies.

  5. Formulate your initial cosmetics line and have it tested by family and friends with varying skin tones and types, if possible. Get their feedback regarding ease of use, staying power of your colour cosmetics and what price they would be willing to pay.

  6. Research current and predicted cosmetic product trends by browsing a resource, such as Cosmetics Design or Beauty Biz. These industry guides contain analysis and predictions regarding cosmetic scents, colours and ingredients and will help you develop more profitable products.

  7. Re-formulate your initial line using the feedback gained from your family and friends and taking into account the current cosmetics trends you researched.

  8. Join an independent cosmetics-makers association, such as the Indie Beauty Network, to help you network with suppliers, keep up with industry trends and gain new clients.

  9. Market your homemade cosmetics line by listing your business in print and online business directories; handmade product directories, such as The Handmade Directory Project; and by sending out small samples with your orders.

  10. Tip

    It is a good idea to obtain business liability insurance, but this is not required. Insurance will protect your business from claims should a customer have an adverse reaction to your cosmetics.

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About the Author

Melinda Gaines has been a freelance writer since 2006, with work appearing online for YellowPages and other websites. Her areas of expertise include business, beauty, fashion and sports. Gaines attended the University of Houston where she earned a Bachelor of Science in sport administration.

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