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Top Tips for beauty start-ups from Helen Miller

Starting your own beauty brand? There are common pitfalls that start-ups make that are easy to resolve at the beginning, but can be a nightmare to adjust down the road. This overview by Helen Miller, of Helen Miller Consulting, takes you through a step by step check list of what to look out for when building your brand.

• Have a USP (unique selling point), making sure that it’s something that your customer really wants and values. For example, compared to other products out there, are you unique? Better? Cheaper? More sustainable or ethical? Made locally? etc.
• Create a clear, compelling story about your brand that you can articulate in a sentence – using words that your customer would use.
• Be very honest with yourself. Why would a customer or retailer want to buy your brand instead of another?
• Who are your competitors? What is their pricing and how will you compare to them. Price has a big influence on sales.
• There is no optimum size for a product range, but it should be as small as you can make it and still have something for everyone in your market.
• Look at what the top three brands in your sector do: but beware, often they have too many items because they aren’t brave enough to discontinue products and may have ones with overlapping benefits. A new brand can start with a blank sheet of paper.
• It is important to have new news about your brand to keep customers, retail and PRs interested. Around 40% of sales in beauty come from new products each year. Customers are always hungry for new products.
• As a rule of thumb, you need one to three new stories a year. It can be a new product, improved formulation, new pack size for a hero product, e.g. a travel size (but not moving from 120ml to 150ml).
• It could be a new relationship with a cause you feel strongly about. Customers are not stupid and expect newness to be something significant and worthwhile to them.

Helen Miller, former Commercial Director for Boots UK beauty business is now an independent management consultant, providing brands with the know how to succeed in the beauty industry.

The Red Tree is the UK’s leading international beauty brand consultancy and a powerhouse of ideas, insight and inspiration. For an informal discussion on how we might help you, please contact us.

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