Category Archives: Cosmetic Development

Timings for Cosmetic Product Development

After adding our blog post on Cosmetic Product Development Process, so many people have asked for timings that we have decided to expand on it.

As a reminder, the process we outlined for cosmetic product development is as follows. For more detail on each stage please see our post Cosmetic Product Development Process

  1. Getting Started
  2. Understanding
  3. Materials
  4. Sampling
  5. Packaging and graphics
  6. First stage Approval
  7. Compliance & Costing
  8. Final Preparation
  9. Final Approval
  10. Cosmetic Product Safety Report
  11. Cosmetic Product Notification Portal
  12. Launch

I have matched each point in the process with more detail and suggested possible timings.

Steps 1-3

  • Getting Started …we can offer you a questionnaire that may help you think about your brand in a broader sense and give us more insight into what we need to do for you. The more you are able to do by way of defining what you require from us the quicker we can be at producing your first product samples. So this step is in your hands and shortening the development period means a product ready for you to sell sooner rather than later
  • Understanding …if you can tell us where in the market you wish your products to fit we can give advanced thoughts as to potential material costing.
  • Materials …if there are materials that you wish us to use specifically we may need to establish a supplier and obtain samples before making any product sample for you; there is a time issue here that is dependant on those suppliers

These first three points can take possibly as much as a month or 6 weeks

New fragrances take 3 weeks from briefing for example.  So this is something else to be thought of in advance.

This first stage depends on the complexity of the product and the unusual nature of any of the materials you wish us to use.

Step 4

  • Sampling starts as soon as the brief is clarified and those materials arrive and our chemists have written up the formulation. We aim to produce the first samples within a week. However sometimes, as in cooking,  they do not work the way we wish and a second week of revisions is undertaken.

So far we have used a maximum of 8 weeks and a minimum of 6 or less.

This process however continues until you are entirely happy with the product and love how it performs so this can take a few more tries

Steps 5, 6 & 7

  • Whilst the early development weeks are initially concentrated on the ‘fill’ we can work at the same time on all other elements of the eventual pack, containers, graphics, bar codes, trade mark, cartons, even initial marketing direction.
  • The Eureka moment is the one we are working towards where we have got you a product that you are in love with. At this point all the tests can start. Microbiological Testing takes 5 weeks from our sending the sample and when we have positive release we can embark on 90 days of compatibility testing. (stability we start automatically with the submission of samples)

We have added another 4 minimum or 6 maximum making our running total 12 to 14 weeks

Steps 8 & 9

  • We can now send formulations to whichever factory suits your need for costing based on filling into whatever container you have by now chosen, to be either labeled or screen printed and boxed according to your chosen style.
  • While the tests continue we can work on your marketing copy and any other elements that are still to be agreed

This next addition of another 12 weeks brings our running total up to somewhere around 24 to 26 weeks although these dates are affected if anything slips….any stage may and can take longer but the question is we have to start with a basic time scale with its explanations to be able to give our new starters an idea of what is involved.

Steps 10 & 11

  • With testing complete our Compliance team can release the final INCI ready to go to print.
  • Our Toxicologist can then undertake the full Toxicological review to complete the CPSR.
  • Our Head of Compliance can then either set your Company up on the CPNP  (Cosmetic Product Notification Portal) or add the details to your existing profile….you will to have your art work ready at this stage  so that it can be approved and  you can gain full Compliance       

We have reached the last stage that will add about 2 more weeks (obviously this depends on how quickly you are able to provide us with art work)        

In Summary

Our best case scenario with no hold ups and no delays from either side gives us 28 weeks.

I should warn that new materials often have long lead times  and new raw material suppliers can be slow at quoting prices

We may take several tries at getting exactly what you want and if your brief changes or the goal posts move for whatever reason this can also extend timings.

I cant spell out all the small things that mean this might slip outside the time scales but suffice it to say this is an outline not a hard and fast rule and we will always do everything we can to move the project forward.

Ten steps to take before creating your own cosmetic range

Allingham Beck Associates are renowned for their ability to hand hold fledgling brands or new startups through the maze of new product development and onto launch of products and all steps in between.

Many of our clients ask what they should consider before we start work on their products. To this end we have put together a few pointers.

Ten steps to take before creating your own cosmetic range

  1. Decide on what you want your brand to be about…what will be its USP?
  2. Consider how you want your products to perform, what results you wish to achieve…describe the functionality?
  3. Decide where you see them sitting in the market place…what are the bench mark brands?
  4. Decide how you hope to sell the products (retail or internet etc.)
  5. Identify your target customer
  6. Visualise how your wish your product to look
  7. Identify potential containers and packaging
  8. Consider the need for bar codes
  9. Choose a direction for the Fragrance of your product or range
  10. List raw materials that you either want or don’t want to use

1. Decide on what you want your brand to be about…what will be its USP?

If you have made a decision about what you want your brand to be ‘saying’ to the end consumer now is the time to start writing it down. Before we are able to develop products to suit your needs this has to be taken into consideration. For example; do you want ‘all natural’ or as natural as we can make it?

(We are certainly going to need to discuss your definition of “Natural” with you as this remains to be defined by the legislators)

Or are you looking for specific results?
Will it be design led or performance led?
Is it to be ‘volume’ or niche marketed, therefore price led or at least price sensitive, or aspirational?

Are there existing products in the brand to be taken into consideration?
It is imperative that anything we do for your brand going forward is in line with what you want the brand to stand for. Once launched it is difficult to go back and redefine your corporate stance

2. Consider how you want your products to perform, what results you wish to achieve…describe the functionality

If you have specific products in mind, for example a hair care range, will the products be used in a salon, by professionals or sold to the public? Are they to be treatments with a function? Or if for example you want a skin cream is it for the face or body, day or night use, and should it be for a specific treatment such a light cream for young skin or a rich one for older skin?

So think again about what products you want to develop and what you want them to achieve.

3. Decide where you see them sitting in the market place…what are the bench mark brands?

If you can see an existing brand that you like the look of who are perhaps
in the area of the market that you wish to enter and may have some elements that you like let us know. It helps us understand things such as texture, viscosity, colours, fragrances, activity.
It also helps us understand if what you are asking for is realistic…i.e. you set a bench mark product that strips nail varnish but want us to make one that’s 100% natural for half the price.

So think about where in the market you see your product sitting

4. Decide how you hope to sell the products (retail or internet etc.)

How you wish to sell the product or products has an effect on how we package it. If it’s a product for babies for example, the colours and textures, graphics and even pack sizes are affected. Is it to be sold at Retail, through Wholesale, Exported or from on line or even from a Market stall we need to understand and this will affect the materials we can use.

Ask yourself, how will it be sold and where?

5. Identify your target customer

If its’ a teenager’s range the graphic style might be very different from a mens shave range for example. But so will the copy that we write and all these elements need to be taken as a whole not piece meal and are better off being known in advance of our development. We can then design all parts of the product to suit the end user. A range for older skin for example would be a different consistency to one for a young skin and be likely to use different ingredients.

So who is your customer?

6. Visualise how your wish your product to look

Is there something that is in your minds eye or is there a style out there that reflects something of what you have thought about…do we have a storyboard or even just a general description of where your vision is leading you?

Colours can affect our acceptance of the finished product especially if it has a destination where it will go on show and the colours you have chosen are rarely seen there or don’t sit in harmony with the fragrance.

A hot red pack for example rarely works with a cool green fragrance or sits happily in the baby section of the retailer.

Have you visualized it in a finished form?

7. Visualise how your wish your product to look

We can fill jars or pots of all description and all sizes, airless pumps, spray pumps, deo sticks, roll on deos, tubes, bottles, tottles, wipes, sachets, vials, gift boxes to name but a few…… once we are part of your team you actually have access to all our suppliers and our knowledge of the Industry and its pitfalls. We can help with buying bespoke components from all over the world.

If you have an idea of how you want it packed we will almost certainly be able to help make it a reality.

8. Consider the need for bar codes

Each Company or Brand buy their own prefix which is exclusive to them. Then you raise a finished code for each individual product that doesn’t apply to any other product. There is also another a code to raise that applies to the outer case or shipper, this denotes how many are in the box and is different each time you vary how many in the box. They are also different from the single product code. Many retailers will insist on bar coding and we can help.

9. Choose a direction for the Fragrance of your product or range

Fragrance is crucial to our Industry and the products we design. It can polarize the end user and blind them to any other benefits the product might bring.

We are adept at blending Essential Oils in house should you require this. We also work closely with excellent perfumers who can get to the heart of what you have in mind being 100% natural or a blend of both essential oils and synthetics. We can also produce flavours for lip balms and similar lines.

There are many directions that can be taken sweet, floral, ozonic, woody, musky, herby, citrus are some to think about. We can also emulate although not copy any fine fragrance on the market and again this fragrance could reflect any story board that you may have prepared

10. List raw materials that you either want or don’t want to use

The decision about raw materials is again quite important, it can become something that your brand stands for. If, for example, you want to have an organic status we will have to start from this premise rather than come back to it at the end. We might not have availability at that stage. If you are designing a daily face cream for a lady and the raw materials mean it is too viscose (thick) or sticky it is unlikely to find favour with the end client

Allingham Beck have a proven track record of taking a product idea from concept to market. Contact us today to start the process.

Cosmetic Product Development Process

Follow our simple 12 step guide outlining the cosmetic product development process, taking an idea from concept to market.

Cosmetic product development Process

What is the cosmetic product development process?

Getting Started
1. After signing an NDA to protect your IP we work with you to establish the ethos of your brand. Primarily this is the values your brand represents and what you hold as important.

2. We aim to understand where you wish to position your brand in the marketplace. Bench mark products help us to further understand your vision as does a knowledge of how you intend to sell the products

3. We establish materials you would like us to use and those you wish to avoid.

4. With the above information and on payment of the development Invoice, we can start the sampling process.

Packaging and graphics
5. Whilst sampling continues until you are entirely happy with the results and you feel that you have a product in which you believe we can begin working with you on all elements of packaging and graphics and agree directions for any ancillary items

First stage Approval
6. After approval of our submitted samples is received from you we will send your product to an external lab for microbiological challenge testing. (if needed) and hopefully finalise your packaging choice

Compliance & Costing
7. With a positive microbiological challenge test result and with samples of your chosen containers we can proceed to compatibility testing. We will also be able to establish your product cost

Final Preparation
8. While these tests continue (usually for 90 days) we can work with you on copy for your labels and other marketing material. We will also advise on your product claims, and printing needs and agree other details such as cartons.

Final Approval

9. When all this is complete we can release the final INCI list of materials that must appear on your product pack and make final approvals on any art work or printing copy.

Cosmetic Product Safety Report
10. The results of all the tests, and the packaging art work are added to your products PIF (Product Information File) that our compliance division have been compiling. This is then submitted to our Toxicologist who proceeds to calculate the MOS (Margins of Safety) and complete the CPSR

Cosmetic Product Notification Portal
11. With this in hand we can set up your Company on the CPNP.

12. And so to launch

Due to demand, to accompany this post we have written a further piece called “Timings For Cosmetic Product Development” to help provide potential timings to the process outlined above.

Allingham Beck have a proven track record of taking a product idea from concept to market. Contact us today to start the process.

Cosmetic Pricing Strategy Explained

Retail, wholesale, cost. What do these terms mean?

If you’re serious about launching your own brand you need to understand the terminology. Buyers and distributors will expect you to be familiar with these terms otherwise not knowing them will put you at a disadvantage. Understanding the terms will also help you to calculate the correct price for your products.


This is the cost for you to produce a single product. Your cost includes raw materials, packaging, and everything it takes to have a product sitting on a Retailers shelf.

So that’s art work, labels, pots, lids or whatever its going into, gift cartons, outer cartons and the cost of the factory making and filling for you, plus the costs of delivering them needs to be included. (see Profit margins for more detail)

Always keep your product cost confidential, it is part of your Intellectual Property. It should never be disclosed to the retailers for example.

Retail Price (or Suggested Retail Price sometimes called RRP or Recommended Retail Price)

This is the price that the end consumer will pay for each product.

A retail price is an absolute minimum of 2 times but generally 5 times your cost. At this level you have margin to pay a wholesaler or pick and pack facility and possibly support your brand with offers and advertising that the majority of large retailers will ask you to do. You should then still have a reasonable profit margin. If the calculated retail price is too high for your market, consider ways to reduce your cost to keep your margins up. At the two times level you have no room for error however if you are testing the market it may make sense. For example, if you are going to start with a small run to test the market it will cost you more in that all elements of the cost will be higher due to the run size. Therefore, it might be worth compromising the margin you take from the product to be able to retail the product at the price that you believe the market will accept knowing that once volumes is achieved the economies of scale will bring up your margin to where it is acceptable.

Wholesale Price

This is the price that retailers will pay for your products.

Standard wholesale pricing is half of the retail price. When your products are priced appropriately for retail you will still gain a reasonable return on wholesale products. However, many of the larger retailers will expect a much higher margin whilst the smaller ones without the buying power will accept the 50%. When you quote a retailer you always quote exclusive of VAT
Ex VAT although it is charged on the Invoice

Profit Margin

The profit margin is the return you make on each sale (or product). This figure is the measurement of profitability in your business.

Retailers often ask for a set return or POR (Profit on Return) and will sometimes dictate the margin they will accept and the payment terms that will apply. The larger and more powerful the Retailer, the more that they can insist on. This needs to be taken into account when agreeing to any terms.

Such things as timed deliveries, pallet height restrictions, limits on pallets to be used, settlement discounts, marketing contributions, shelf talkers, all take a chunk out of your profits and have to be accommodated if you are going to accept Purchase orders.


Many retailers also look for carriage paid details so you are going to need to work on these before you present.

At what number are you prepared to pay the delivery costs?

To answer this you will need to look at what that cost might be.

If a pallet costs a set amount but you know the pallet holds a set number of units then by dividing the one by the other you can get a unit cost and decide at what level you are prepared to accept this.
It is necessary to also look at putting these delivery costs on the prices you offer. This will show you have done the ground work.

Most carriers offer weighted prices up to 1kilo and from 1-10 kilos are usual so weigh your units and work out what the charges might be for a case quantity.

You can use these details on any price lists you might prepare

Payment Terms

Be aware that cash flow can be a killer and offering credit to unknown companies can be quite a risk. You are able to offer Pro forma until a trading pattern is established.

Through a long career in the industry, Allingham Beck can use their experience to help you avoid costly pitfalls and easily made errors. From concept to market, contact us for help with your project today.