Tag Archives: Ladyburd cosmetics

Follow Your Passion : Key Steps To Developing Great Cosmetics

26 Aug

I was struggling to put together content for my next blog post because as you know I can get really technical (and ultimately pedantic!) on the formulations we receive and come up with every other day and I really would like this blog to serve those of you who aren’t necessarily cosmetics chemists (for those of you who are, ChemistsCorner is a great resource), and who would just like to either start their own cosmetics business or peek into the everyday life of So Susan Cosmetics and what we get up to.

This morning, the struggle continued as I stared at a blank screen trying to decide whether it would be better for me to write something (as I’ve now committed to publishing a post every 2 weeks), or wait till inspiration hits and put something out there that will really benefit you (and ultimately myself as I too learn so much with every thought and action I put down on “paper”). Of course the Universe always gives us a reason to pause and put things on hold no matter how hard we try to be productive so I waited till I got to work. And what should pop up in my email the minute I opened it this morning was none other than an excellent piece on the Foundation of Good Formulation Development from Innovadex (another amazing resource for ingredient suppliers).

I thought it was such a great, comprehensive list but so totally focused on just formulators that I’m just going to take little excerpts from it, and add a few of my own especially when it comes to the aesthetics of the final product since I believe beautiful, functional packaging and the right pricing is just as important as the formulation of any great cosmetic product. So here is my Key Checklist to creating a product that I believe in and am inspired by :

  • Formulations must be cosmetically appealing and delight the consumer. When beginning a project, put together a formulation strategy outlining the various approaches you are considering along with a technical rationale. Ensure also that you have researched the right packaging for a consistent brand story.
  • Don’t fall in love with technology, fall in love with consumer benefits. Creating product stories is easier when you’re delivering real benefits.
  • Treat each product like a little fairytale or a good book, with a beginning (delight your customers with unique, beautiful packaging which is the first thing they see), a juicy middle (ensure the formulation feels and looks superior on the skin, do not compromise!) and a great ending (price it correctly, according to your target demographic and your brand positioning to secure that sale).
  • Be responsible for the product that you’re putting out there in the market. Label your products accurately and in accordance with all labelling guidelines in the country you want to market them in. Start stability testing and packaging compatibility tests as early as possible. Always do your final stability testing in the package you will market.
  • Never kill technology because of costs and naysayers. Push your chemist and packaging supplier for the best that you can afford and know that a truly great product is always a series of trade-offs between product aesthetics (which includes your primary and secondary packaging), safety, optimum formulation performance and cost.

It is truly less complicated and scary than it all seems, so for all you budding cosmetics entrepreneurs out there, I say : What are you waiting for? As always, I’m leaving you with a Beauty Tweet about following your passion that has always inspired me by an amazing teacher, author, poet & novelist… Franz Kafka. Tweet and share it if you agree!

TODAY’S BEAUTY TWEET : “Don’t bend, don’t water it down, don’t try to make it logical. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly” @sosusanbeauty




Reader Question

29 Nov

“Hi! Just found your blog and truly enjoyed your honest entries about starting a makeup business. I am interested in finding a company that specializes in high performance eye cosmetics (I have a niche clientele with many eye disorders and sensitive eye issues)that I could private label to start my line. I have tried Grafton, Your Name Pro, Lady Burd. Are there any others that you would recommend? Thanks so much!”

I am an avid believer in not overloading your skin with products, particularly if it is already sensitized. Unless you’re working with a cosmetic chemist, a general rule for startup entrepreneurs is to ask the manufacturer for their ingredients listing and to go for the one with the shortest list in its base (i.e. excluding colour pigments which are classified under the “+/- (may contain)” portion). You may find “fragrance/parfum” even in eyeshadow powders, so a formulation which omits that will be your priority.

Grafton, Your Name Pro and Ladyburd are all decent companies, Your Name Pro being the most expensive in my experience, but also the most innovative & sophisticated in every way, from their formulations to their private label packaging, to even their marketing material that is provided free. I have also come across Audrey Morris recently, they have added a mineral line with very simple ingredients that is worth trying out.

Is it right to brand private label cosmetics as your own?

18 Oct


I’ve recently been asked whether it’s “ethical” to use private label cosmetics, especially when you’re starting out in this investment-heavy industry and don’t have the funds to purchase large minimums from contract manufacturers. As one of my readers put it : Is it right to take credit for someone else’s work?

As you all know, I started Jelly Pong Pong with the most minimum of funds. I was after all, still at university and other than a very strong passion and conviction that I was meant to be in the cosmetics industry, I really didn’t have the funds to back my ambitions up. The first people I started stocking from were private label companies, namely Ladyburd and Grafton. What I did do differently, was to repackage their formulations. Since I didn’t have control over the ingredients, I was determined to put them in packaging of my choice. How that was done deserves another post altogether!

Last year, Space NK started stocking Lime Crime, a cosmetics line known for its unconventional colour choices. It has however, created huge waves of resentment in the States, especially among bloggers, for using private label products and not admitting to this practice. When exposed, the founder threatened to sue the blogger. Really not the best option knowing that bloggers root for each other and word of such naughty corporate behaviour spreads like wildfire over the blogosphere.

I  honestly don’t think there’s anything wrong with using private label cosmetics, whether it’s ready-packaged or whether you repackage them yourself, as long as you do not claim to have made the formulations yourself, and are honest with those who actually bother to call in to ask. After all, it’s a wonderful business opportunity…Private label manufacturers put these products out there in order to make a profit, and brand owners  launch their lines with quality cosmetics at minimal costs, enabling them to focus on growing their company to a stage where they are finally able to formulate on their own. A few other companies who used private label companies when they first started are Pixi Cosmetics (they used Ladyburd) and Napoleon Perdis (he had a selected range from YourNamePro). Both are now stocked in hundreds of Target stores after having exited Sephora. Closer to home, we have Daniel Sandler, a talented makeup artist who very obviously takes from YourNamePro.