4 keys to getting a niche beauty brand off the ground

4 Keys to Getting A Niche Beauty Brand Off The Ground

Beauty In The Big Leagues

Creating own niche your beauty brand is beyond challenging. There is no way that you can cheat the hustle that you need to be successful amongst large corporations and influencers who have been at this for ten years. However, success is not impossible! There is a reward for your authenticity and grind if you go about building your brand strategically. Keep reading to find four ways that will help you get your beauty brand up and running in an industry that is continually changing shape.

1. Find Your Point of Difference, and Market It Accordingly

Create a Different Product

The current state of beauty is overwhelming for both customers and retailers. Everyone is in one way or another selling the same products, but the brands that rise to the top are the ones that can figure out how to convince their target consumer that they are selling something completely different than their competition. For example, Fenty Beauty made a huge splash last year when they came out with foundations that covered over 40 shades of skin tones. The come up was amazing. It wasn't that no other makeup company offered that shade range. The appeal came from the marketing targeting a demographic that is not the everyday shade of makeup advertised. Things like that matter to a consumer. It spoke to the hearts of a lot of the women, which drew them to buy the product. The Fenty Beauty marketing playbook is how you find your "difference" and market it effectively. Outside of catering to an underserved audience, you could also sell your products differently by playing up the ingredients it is made out of. If you have lashes that are a hundred percent mink, maybe that's something that you want to have present on your packaging. Make sure that it captures a customer who is used to faux fibers in their lashes or a customer who doesn't know that there is such thing as 100% Mink fiber lashes. Catchy lingo like that on packaging can help you to sell.

Alter How You Present Your Assortment

Another way to look at the beauty industry is to treat it like the fashion industry. In each season we all have core items that we gravitate towards. Then we have the higher end pieces that we used to accessorize the core items with. But the end of the day we're always going back to those core items. Right now we are transitioning into fall. Hoodies or long sleeve shirts are going to be our main staples, and we will accessorize them with a trench coat or some sort of cardigan sweater. Key in on the accessories or the specialty items that we're not wearing every day. That is how you should look at your beauty business. Offer the core items that everyone needs and then find something different that no one's offering. Then add that to your product assortment as if it was an accessory that you switch out as the season progresses! You can then market that accessory as your something new or something different. It will set you apart from other beauty brands in your niche.

2. Bootstrap Your Business As Much As You Can In The Early Days

Before diving into a money pit, think your product over a few times. Yes, I'm sure it's brilliant but do not throw money that you do not have behind this product. Instead, create a lean budget and bootstrap your business. The term bootstrap is thrown around so much, but people rarely know what it means. Bootstrapping means that you are funding your business yourself. There are no bank loans, no venture capitalist loans, and you probably had to beg for the money your friends and family reluctantly let go of. You are grinding at your 9 to 5 or have saved enough money to pay for everything that you need to pay for your business. Bootstrapping is not easy. It can put you in a lot of debt, but on the bright side: you don't owe anyone part of your business when you've mastered your business concept and gotten to the level that you need to get it to. It is important that you bootstrap because it is the best way that you can figure out what your customer wants without blowing a whole bunch of cash too fast. If you start off this way, you can then bring in people who may want to financially back your idea. Then you'll be able to tell them where the money is going if it's going into product and development packaging, or distribution you'll know. You'll have already tried different things using your own money, and you have the road map to how your brand can please your customer.

3. Embrace Competition. Erase Competition.

Did you know that the small companies that were once at the Forefront of K-Beauty, J-Beauty, and the natural beauty trends, now have competition from major beauty brands? And honestly, they love it! But it's for one reason and one reason only: the free publicity. Don’t get it? Let me give you an example. If you were to start selling Mongolian hair and it is a type of hair that is not mainstream in the hair extension retail market as of yet, meaning not too many people know about it. You might not see a lift in sales as soon as you introduce it. Yet, if a fantastic wig maker like Alonzo Arnold decides that he wants to make a line of wigs made out of only Mongolian hair, the Mongolian hair trend has started. You and your beauty brand can benefit from selling that hair just because someone else with a more substantial following or a more significant influence in the hair market has mentioned it. You can't look at everyone as competition. Instead, you could look at them as an indirect collaborator or partner. As long as they're hyping up something that you sell and can impact your bottom line you don't want to go against them. You want to be able to capitalize off of their momentum and leverage a partnership if possible. Reach out to a local wig maker that has a significant presence in your market. Let them know you have a new hair that has yet to hit the mainstream. Then see if they would want to make a couple of wigs with the product. If they could let everyone know that the actual raw hair came from you, that's not hurting you or your brand. It is giving you more exposure.

The Case of Soko Glam

Soko Glam One of the first Beauty Brands that started to sell products in the K-Beauty space. And they did not shy away from their market niche when a big brand like Sephora and a drugstore brand like CVS started to offer K-beauty products as well. Instead, they worked with Sephora and put together a pop-up shop with Bloomingdale's! Had they just decided to give up and walk away because Sephora entered into the ring they would have lost out on sales and exposure. The moral of the story is, don't let these big brands or a little competition scare you off!

4. Innovation Over Imitation

You will be a successful Beauty brand when you can either solve a problem or fill a gap. Find out what people need by interviewing your target consumers. Listen to what they want and create it. However, I should warn you; this is not one or two interviews that you are conducting. This is two to three hundred interviews, and from all of these, you can compile the answers to figure out what it is you need to bring into your market to make an impact. Think about it, when a hundred to two hundred people are saying they need the same thing you know that this product does not yet exist. You need to create it. That is the benefit of being an innovator. After you make the product, no one else for a certain amount of time will be able to offer your customer what you offer them. They have to come to you exclusively. Vice when you take someone else's product and tweak it to maybe make it better for a few dozen people you aren't going to garner the sales and attention that you're looking for. Think about it this way. Say you were a beauty brand that wanted to offer a pink edge control. You realize that the only edge control that you were able to get your hands on was either clear or black. Would you waste time and money catering to maybe fifty more people who wanted a pink edge control? No, because the edge control is going to work the same whether it's black, clear, pink, green, or blue. Instead, you would of going above and beyond. Source a new product that your entire customer base could benefit from.

The Best Way to Collaborate

You can also achieve retail success by taking your company's brand message and collaborating with another company to create a whole new product. For instance, If you had a beauty brand that was all about Glitz and Glamour and standing out from the crowd, it would make sense for you to research what type of customer you are looking for. After you realize that this customer is someone who loves glitter in their makeup and Crayola colors, you have your idea. Then you might hook up with a makeup artist in your town that has a significant amount of following. Team up with them to create glitter eyeshadows that no one is offering with a 3D look that only someone who shops your brand would appreciate. Offering this product on top of the products that you already have in your assortment enables you to control retail sales and distribution of this one unique product in particular. It can set you apart from other beauty brands in your market that offers the same lashes that you do or the same hair that you do. It also would drive sales to your site because people are going to go to your website looking for those eyes shadows. However, they may leave with the shadows and bundles or the shadows and complementary lashes. The Takeaway: You will win if you market your core products around that new exclusive product line and generate more profit.

Stand out in the Crowd

The only way to win is to be authentic. Find out who your customer is and then create something that no one else has created for them. Stay true to them and your vision with the amount of capital that you have available to you and then expand. Don't worry about competition or brands that may have the resources that you don’t because that can be detrimental to your company and your checkbook! Pretend the competition does not exist and turn your competitors into collaborators. Once you're able to do that you can form together like a beauty Voltron and create new products that will not only boost your brand image but set your company’s product assortment apart from beauty giants. This separation will almost guarantee your survival in your market. You know we love to hear from you. Comment below the steps you are taking to get your beauty brand off of the ground!
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