Bringing A Product to Market
Photo Credit: pexels.com - Andrezej Gdula
Have you ever wondered what is involved in bringing an all-natural, handmade personal care product to market? It may surprise you! I share below the step-by-step process I use to get a product (or product variant) ready for sale—from the birth of the idea to launch.
- Research Product Formulas / Recipes
The first thing I do after having conceived of the idea for a product is to research possible product formulas and recipes. I may refer to books or the internet. I may gain my inspiration from products I have used or seen on the shelf. Family and friends may also provide input and ideas.
- Mix Test Product
When I have found a formula / recipe that I think would work well for my online store, I mix some test product and try it out for myself. From this very earlier stage of testing, I may make adjustments to the formula / recipe.
- Distribute Test Product to Testers
Now…what will actual customers think of the product? To find out, I distribute the test product to ‘testers’ who are willing to try out the product. I usually turn to friends, family, or current customers for this testing. Trying out new, potential products is always free. In exchange, I ask for feedback on what the tester thought of the product and if they would make any changes to the product.
- Cost Product
As the first three steps are unfolding, I cost the product. Knowing the ingredients, and the proportions of the ingredients that goes into making the product, I figure out how much the product will cost to make.
- Confirm Product Pricing
Once I know what the product will cost to make, I can then confirm how much I will charge for the product. This usually includes determining wholesale and retail pricing.
- Create Website Copy
When I know what the product recipe I will use for the product, I am ready to write my website copy. I need to: write the product description; state the format; itemize the ingredients (following regularly guidelines); suggest the product use and storage; and note any safety information for the product.
- Create Product Label Copy
Now it’s time to think about what I will put on the product label. Basically, the product label replicates what is on the website. Careful attention needs to be paid to any regulatory guidelines related to product labelling.
- Create Product Videos
Writing my website copy product description (see Step 6 above) has ushered me into the realm of marketing and promotion. I now take this to the next level and prepare some videos I will use on my website and in social media campaigns.
- Create and Order Product Labels
Once I know what is to go on my product labels, I can create my product labels. Some people have their own label-making software and print the labels themselves. I use a company called SheetLabels (sheetlabels.com) to create my labels. Once the labels are created with the software available online, I order my labels.
- Order Ingredients
At this point I need to make sure I have all the ingredients in stock to put this product into production. If I do not have the all the ingredients I need to make this product, then I will order my supplies.
- Order Containers and Packaging
I also need to make sure I have any and all containers, bottles, tins, boxes, and any other materials to package the product and mail it to the customer. This may also include packing materials (e.g. bubble wrap, packing foam, packing tape, fragile stickers, etc.) and shipping boxes.
- Create Product Launch Campaign
Launching a new product is a big undertaking, and an exciting one! When I actually launch the product, I need to let my current customers and potential customers know about it. So at this stage, I need to create some blog posts and social media posts for promotion on my social media channels (Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram). I also need to prepare my emails I intend to send to my emailing list to let current customers know about the new product.
- Mix, Weight, and Take Product Photos
When all product labels, ingredients, containers and packing material has arrived, I need to mix an example of the product, weigh the product (for shipping purposes), and take product photos for the website and for advertising and promotion.
- Create SKU
To prepare for the official launch of the product in the online store, I need to create a stock-keeping unit (SKU). Not all online stores create SKUs, but I do. When creating the SKU, I need to create some unique identifier in order to input the product into the online store.
- Create Harmonized System Code
In order to ship any product from the online store, Canada Post (my primary carrier) requires I create a Harmonized System (HS) Code. Canada Post has an online application I can use to create my HS. The HS is established by inputting into the Canada Post system the type of product that will be made available for sale.
- Upload Product to Online Store
This is the moment of truth! At this point I can input the product description (including the ingredients, product use and storage, and safety information), upload product photos and videos, assign the product weight, SKU, and HS.
- Launch Product Marketing and Promotion
Once the product is live in the online store, I can begin to promote the product. This includes posts through my social media channels and emails to my emailing list.
- Complete CNF with Health Canada
Health Canada required all products that are applied to the skin to be registered. Registration is made possible through Cosmetic Notification Forms (CNFs) that are made available through Health Canada’s website. Filling out the CNF can take 5 – 15 minutes. There is no cost to register a product with Health Canada.
There! All done! Piece of cake, right? There are a lot of steps that go into launching an all-natural, handmade personal care product. This article intended to show you what is included in that process.