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  • Writer's pictureFiona Glen

5 things to consider when starting a beauty brand

Updated: Apr 23

The beauty industry is a competitive space and there are many things to consider before launching a new beauty brand. This month, Fiona Glen, Director of Projects at The Red Tree, the UK's leading international beauty brand consultancy, shares 5 important things to consider before launching your beauty brand. 

Is there a USP?

The stark reality is that the beauty industry is saturated, with multiple new brands launching every week. I’m inundated by brand stories that have arisen from founders having ‘suffered from a skin condition and tried every product on the market’ – it’s untrue and unsustainable. Firstly, it’s important to honestly decide whether your offering is different enough to justify launching. Asking around thoroughly will really help with this. Secondly, using competitor benchmarking to consider how your brand positioning could be strengthened to distance yourself from your competitors is important. USPs don't have to be purely product-driven: the best beauty brands we're seeing today combine product differentiation with a whole suite of factors, from CSR initiatives to unique ways of marketing. Technology is increasingly acting as an enabler of differentiation and I urge all founders to consider this, whether that is an app or back-end integrations to your website.  


Is your brand scalable? 

This goes hand in hand with understanding your USP. There is a balance between having a clearly different offering with one that can grow to be successful and sustainable. There should be a path to growth within your business plan which can be clearly justified.


Are you clear on your budget? 

Launching a beauty brand has always been expensive and this is true as ever today. In comparison to other consumer categories like fashion, food or homewear the development and testing times are lengthy and costly. That's just to get your brand to market and you need to consider minimum order quantities on both packaging and production. If you've made it to this stage you then need to consider how you're going to reach your customers and generate revenue. You're now talking about PR and marketing, including performance marketing, to drive sales to your website and content creation. Within beauty, we're seeing some fantastic success from brands on platforms such as TikTok across all target customer demographics. However, this channel is highly reliant on constant video content so time and resource factors need to be considered and allocated within your budget. Raising investment externally is a challenge and that's a whole separate discussion but having a clear idea of your end-to-end budget is imperative irrespective of your plans to fund the business.


How will you nurture your community? 

Community is a buzzword that isn't going away and is becoming increasingly important in all brands today, particularly in beauty. This is important to garner feedback on your venture as early as possible, to encourage an effective feedback loop from consumers and to encourage and incentivise positive community behaviours such as referrals. The importance of community never goes away. Community-centric brands constantly benefit from cross-pollination and publication of the brand. The founder community is also fantastic and there's a huge amount of collaboration and help that can be generated from this. 


What are your routes to market? 

Almost all beauty brands I meet want to achieve brick-and-mortar distribution. Having an omnichannel strategy is important and as mentioned TikTok can be really successful for many brands.  I have seen brands be caught out when they’ve not been fully aware of the margins that they need to allow for when trading with retailers. This includes base margins but also joint marketing activity such as employing sales teams or promotions. You need to be clear of these expectations to avoid having to increase your prices or take a huge hit to your margin when moving through different sales outlets.

Fiona Glen, Director of Projects, The Red Tree

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