THE START UP STRUGGLE
First of all I'd like to give you all a massive welcome to my new website. I'll make sure to keep you guys entertained whilst you visit, it was just a no brainer to get my site up and running ASAP. In all honesty Instagram being as interactive as it is including its superior outreach to the world it just lacked that wow factor I needed for people to jump in to my posts. This doesn't mean I'll quit making posts after all I am advertising on there looking for a stronger following of like minded bearded brothers or pogonophiles. As well as beard products I will be doing many other reviews such as Energy drink companies, games, clothing and even places I visit.
LETS DIVE IN.
With the first post of my new site I give you my first ever blog ( go easy on me ) this idea came to me the other day whilst cooking. No not beard oil cooking actual cooking with food the easier version of cooking haha. I've been wanting to start my own beard products for a while now and it occurred to me that information on how to do it, what it takes to do it and how much it is to do it probably isn't well known. How did these companies we love and know get to where they are today ? I asked that very question to the owners of the companies we have in the UK small batch beard care industry and I'm here to tell you what they told me. My initial reaction to their experiences was shock 'how the hell did they manage to save the money to do this'. Then my thought went to 'we should all be so grateful that we have people willing to go the distance, to sacrifice savings and time with their families to give us fantastic products and an amazing community of bearded consumers'.
HERE COMES THE MONEY.
Lets start with the cost, when I was pricing up my own idea of what I wanted my product to be like I was surprised at how little it would cost me, I thought to myself 'this is easy why doesn't everyone do this'? This low cost didn't include bottles, pipettes, graphic design, labelling, CPSR and shipping. When I spoke to the owners their start up cost was in the thousands and this honestly blew my mind I couldn't believe it was so high. There was so much wastage trying to perfect their own personal formulas. Every owner has their own vision just like every product takes to every beard differently. Owners lost track of their start up costs because of wastage or lost out on so much money because of lack of research into the beard care market but that's okay its a marathon not a sprint and we learn from mistakes to become better.
A cpsr ( cosmetic product safety report ) is a documentation from a licensed chemist that proves your finished product is safe to use and you know ... wont burn your face off, melt your skin and possibly make your hair dissolve. All UK based companies providing cosmetic products should have one of these and if you don't.... boo you! What I didn't know until speaking to the owners is that on one cpsr report you can have up to 6 scents tested. Make sure you know this if you start up because this can cost you dearly if you put forward just the one scent for testing and can set you back quite a bit, every penny counts. Right now by my estimation and I'm sure owners will correct if I am wrong but you should be above the 1K cost at this point. You have bought carrier, essential and fragrance oils, testing and perfecting your oil. sending off the products off costs you money and having them tested costs you money too.
Once you have mastered the formula and received CPSR approval now you must dive into design, presentation, marketing and advertising. I would consider this to be the tedious tasks of all this is where I would turn to the Mrs and ask if she could do it but then it wouldn't be yours, its your baby you're creating this monster hit it with some lightning and bring it to life. Choosing bottles, jars, tins and tubs says a lot about your company the presentation and its theme when ordering these things owners said to me they had a few problems like broken pipettes and having to wait for an absurd amount of time to receive them. This stuns your motivation and progression and broken items again set you back financially, the start up cost grows you could even grow impatient and when told you have to wait 6 months for wholesale bottles and just buy English top grade bottle which is what one owner did costing them more money.
REPPING DONE RIGHT.
How will your product stand out from the rest and how will it have your personal touch. I am not going to reveal who the owners are that I've spoken to but I am going to use owners as examples for themes. John at Bigphatbeard used a face with you guessed it a bigphatbeard much like his own actual bigphatbeard ( I'll stop saying that now ). Andy from Beardtings creates his scents around things he loves in life like vintage leather for example one of his best scents in my opinion. Jason from Beard Manners even though he says he looks like a Viking he is far from one personality wise his products represent a true gentleman a bit of class and sophistication just like his scents. These are all things from their owners persona that they pour into their products to give you a bit of them ... take that any way you want to haha!
Advertising the shock to me when an owner told me that google ads charge you monthly to use google ads, charge you to put up an ad, charge you for every time an ad is clicked and take a percentage of your sale if someone who has clicked your ad buys your product. Holy guacamole batman !!! You might as well drop the soap big boy because apparently facebook ads are the same except they take a bigger slice of the pie. Luckily owners admit that traction and outreach got better through Instagram which doesn't surprise me you can reach anyone around the world on that app with key hashtags used. At this point I would imagine you have two things happening in your head regret or excitement only the reaction to the dent in your bank account can tell you this or maybe the reaction to creating a magnificent little baby and watching it grow as you nurture it with all your love. Fighting back the tears !!
Presentation is everything is the saying and some owners take that seriously going as far as buying a £1000 professional camera to make sure they get the best quality photos of their products which is obviously used for advertisements, social media posts and website photos. This isn't a necessity but if it looks good on the outside surely it must be great on the inside every detail could mean a sale. There are companies out there using models and make up artists to entice you in which it does work I've fallen victim to this. Thankfully the product was outstanding haha! Lighting in Cooking kitchen, a studio to take photos, an office to work from is essential. Going out and buying a good lighting set up will set you back a couple of hundred pounds. At my estimation at this point you're way above the 2K mark now and this is probably a far off guess.
In conclusion to this blog the biggest advice the owners have to offer is take your sweet time and be your own biggest critic, get the CPSR and do your research. If you don't like anything at all about your product then why would anyone else, make something you are proud of don't cut corners and don't go cheap. Fork out the dollar for the quality and the rewards will be tremendous. Look at the forerunners of the market the ones that have been around since the start. Opies Beard Co, Odins beard care and Bigfoot beard Co. Look at Beardtings still basically brand new but considered to be one of the top companies in the game. By Odins Beard Craft came in with 10 carrier oils and made a product that I highly recommend because the owner Fabio made a decision to be daring. He took the risk and it paid off for him.
Any of the companies and owners mentioned in this blog are not necessarily the ones who provided me with the information above. I've used them as examples and that is all.
Let me know on my Instagram post if you have ever thought about starting your products of any kind and what problems you came across. If you already have a product and want a shout out hit me up.
Cheers guys stay safe and stay fire !