Merch or not to merch? Should every beauty influencer launch their own product? (Vol.2)

In the previous post I went over the reasons why launching your own product is a great idea. In this one, I will tell you more in detail why it may be a bit more complicated than you thought. Don’t be discouraged though, ask for help and browse around, you will find plenty of good options for merchandising out there!

So, you thought you might just paste your logo on an eyeshadow palette? Why not? Here’s a few reasons you might have not thought about:

1) Because you CAN’T (if you have anything less than 1M followers)

In most of the cases, if you have an immense follower base (talking in millions), you start getting opportunities from left and right. You will get emails from cosmetics companies who want to launch their new lipstick with your name on it. Or manufacturers who offer to co-produce with you. But if you do not have that, it may be close to impossible to get a reputable company to make a product for you. There are a few exceptions (and I will reveal you the tips later in this article), but you will find out that the 3-letter word “MOQ” will kill your product dreams instantly. MOQ stands for Minimum Order Quantity. All of the manufacturers have this, and when it comes to custom makeup and cosmetics, it is in tens of thousands of units. So typically you will have to order 10.000 lipsticks to your home address, pay the bill and take the risk. Even if you had that money to invest, you might find out that most of the good quality manufacturers will not even respond your emails, because they’re used to dealing with established large companies who order large quantities regularly. Which brings us to the next point..

2) Because it’s a lot of work

Finding the right manufacturer to work with is one thing. If you’re persistent and find all the right middle men, you might find one that works for you. Then you have to decide on different aspects of the product, packaging and visuals for marketing. Also you need to make sure it fulfills all the legal requirements for cosmetics (this is tricky especially if you order from a factory outside US or European Union). Put up a web store for your product. Make sure you will be able to ship it to your customers. Take care of the customer service when customers are complaining about your product or have questions regarding shipping. Handle returns and refunds… The list is quite long. And frankly, to do all these things right, you should probably put up a company if you don’t have one. Things like contracts with manufacturers are usually impossible if you don’t have a company. And setting up and maintaining a company is a different set of paperwork, as we know…

All in all, it might look like you will just paste a logo on a product, but there’s a mountain of tasks behind the scenes you should be prepared to. I would recommend trying out launching a product with the help of someone that is specialized and can take care of all these tasks. If you find success on your first product, and want to start running a part-time cosmetics company, you can hop on it after you’re sure it will work!

3) Because you might end up losing money (if you don’t do it right)

Third thing to consider is that you will probably have to invest some money and time to the project. However, there are a few options out there for influencers to merchandise for free, or with very low cost (say under $200). So my recommendation would be to try those if you do not have any previous experience on e-commerce. If you’re interested in launching a perfume, you should get in touch with this company, they have a special love for influencers and they can make you an amazing product for really low investment. Also they take care of the e-commerce, shipping and everything. Another company, if you’re interested in making your clothes or apparel is this one. Best way to get started is to contact the companies and tell them what you’re interested in doing!

Hope this article was of any help for those who are pondering over launching a beauty product of their own! Leave a comment if you already have experience on your own products and want to share your experience!