In Europe, it costs an artisan producer approximately £2,000 to create, test and package a new basic skincare/toiletries line. This does not include the cost of formulation which if carried out by a qualified formulator averages at around £1,500 per product for a relatively basic formulation.
For someone just putting their toes into the water launching a small range can amount to quite a substantial investment and for those creative souls with a million ideas the task of honing down the number of items to include at launch is a difficult and painful decision. On average they start with between three and five products but the temptation to expand the range both in terms of original product and/or fragrance variety is intense.
For the new skincare business the first priority has to be to focus on sales. If you have set your target as a flagship store they are unlikely to buy from you unless you have a range that is comprehensive in terms of covering all angles required for a specific function, ie. Shaving cream needs a post shave formula and maybe a beard oil to make the range complete. You also have to offer enough products to make a brand impact on the shelf. It is absolutely valid to extend your range when sell through is proving successful and you want to refresh and sustain interest with both the buyer and your customers.
The mistake many artisans make is to introduce new products before they have explored all the sales opportunities available to them within their existing range. If you have done your research properly before determining what your initial products should be but you find your range is not selling or creating impact it is more likely to be your marketing strategy than your product range that is wrong. In the magic age that we are living in you have access to a vast number of potential customers worldwide so before investing heavily in new lines ask yourself whether you should be taking a different route to market.
Buyers demand and welcome the introduction of new lines by a brand they have bought into, their reputation as a buyer who makes good choices is as much on the line as yours is and they will put pressure on new brands to try something new and you, as a creative may be tempted to do just that even if your budget doesn’t allow for it. Follow your gut feeling and your bank balance here and only introduce new lines when you have totally explored and benefited from sales of your existing range.
Unless you have a totally unique concept and want to change direction, launching a new line should be used to feed success rather than to recover from failure. It can also be justified if you have left gaps in a skincare regime because of initial budget restrictions.