Green Chemistry, Green Cosmetics

Green Chemistry, Green Cosmetics : Top Ten Tips

1. Brand story – Do not underestimate the importance of building a hook for your brand to generate buzz through word-of-mouth. Create a mission statement with brand tenants or core values informing potential customers of what you stand for. What sets you apart? What is your reason for being?

  • Is it science?
  • Is it value?
  • Is it clean ingredients?
  • Is it a commitment to supporting social justice causes?
  • Are you looking to disrupt the social narrative about beauty standards?
  • Is it fair-trade and responsibly sourced materials?
  • Explain what makes you authentic.

2. Research your vendors – Make sure to take the time to research suppliers and invest in verified, socially responsible supply chain sources. This goes for all aspects—from raw materials to packaging. 

  • Many raw material suppliers engage in unfair or exploitative labor practices (for example, 70% of Mica is harvested by child labor). Invest in responsible sourcing and consider using your platform to raise awareness.                               
  • Choose the right partners. Whether this includes an R & D lab, a manufacturer, or an assembly house, work with partners that practice cGMP (Current Good Manufacturing Processes), meaning that they sanitize, test air quality, and swab machines to ensure product quality is continuously verified. ISO certification is a bonus.

3. Be sensitive to your audience – Remember that diversity and inclusion are important to today’s consumers. Think about it from your customers’ point of view – who is your audience? They want to be able to see themselves reflected in your brand. Carefully consider pronoun use and choice of advertisements.

4. Build your community by establishing a digital following on social media – This is a must. Start building a social media presence early.

  • Keep in mind that brick & mortar and even online retailers typically will not open their doors to unknown brands.
  • Build your community ahead of launch. Create your Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter handles and establish a strong following so that when you launch, your community becomes your potential customer base.
  • You have to do this hard work yourself, and this means creating interesting, authentic content that will engage followers and make them want to learn more about your brand story.

5. Create social media content constantly – Frequently post anything that’s interesting, and show off your packaging, pictures of your formulas, colors, and images that you want connected with brand. This helps people make subconscious mental and emotional connections and associations with your brand.

  • Highlight innovation – tell potential customers what makes your product unique from a formula and/or functionality point of view.

6. Contracts – Think about protecting your brand through NDAs, and if you’re working exclusively with a lab, think about master supply agreements to protect yourself and your IP.

  • Are you producing a formula for someone else? If so, make sure you have a contract in place that clearly defines both parties’ commitments.
  • Whether you’re a brand or whether you’re a service provider, get yourself a contract that protects your side and is fair to both parties, and seriously consider payment consider terms that allow you to make sure to get a portion of the funds in advance. Many start-ups struggle with chasing clients for payment. Payment in advance will mitigate this risk.

7. Protect your customer – Your product must be safe, stable, and fit for use. This includes stability, compatibility, functionality, RIPT, and PET testing and any efficacy testing that you want to carry out.

8. Regulatory – Your regulatory team needs to review both formula and packaging for whichever regional markets you’re entering.

  •  Where are you selling?
    o If you’re only selling domestically, you only need English on your packaging.
    o If you’re selling to North America, you will also need to include French on the packaging.
    o Selling internationally? Language requirements depend on the region.
  • Be aware that there may be certain ingredients on the INCI which certain regions won’t accept because of international regulations. Your artwork should be reviewed by someone who is familiar with the regional requirements to ensure that all of your packaging meets compliance.
    o Need help? Here’s a starting point for your research:

9. Logistics – Logistics is divided into roughly into two parts: freight forwarders who move component pieces and deliver to your manufacturer and your third-party logistics (3PL) who ship to your end customer.

  • Freight-forwarders can be subdivided into international and domestic categories. If bringing parts in from China for example, you will need an international freight forwarder to help you receive components in the U.S.
  • If your business is domestic, you need a local service to deliver to your manufacturer or to deliver to your 3PL.

10. Inventory Management – When your brand takes off, you will need to be prepared to place re-orders with your suppliers. You will also have to be able to track your inventory levels. An easy way to do this is to assign a unique item code to all components and finished goods.

  •  Note on UPCs – if you’re going into certain retailers, they expect you to own your own UPC pre-fix which can only be obtained through GS1. If you don’t need to own your own prefix, you can buy UPCs from any online seller.