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Starting a shampoo business [HELP NEEDED]

Umbired

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May 27, 2019
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Dear friends,

Umberto here from Belgium. I introduced myself last week.

Having read TMF and Unscripted recently, I was thinking about a project I could launch that was in line with the CENTS formula. I stumbled upon hand-made bio shampoo creation.

Control : I choose among a lot of suppliers for my raw materials, I own the place where I produce (my home) and my recipe.

Entry : You do not have to invest a lot of money to access this business but mixing products together and wait almost 2 months to get the final product ready to use is not something anyone wants to do. And, above all, it is really difficult (at least in Europe) to commercialize cosmetic articles. You must follow a lot of rules not to get involved in some troubles with the customers (who could complain on undesirable effects on their skin) and the law.

Need : People are fed up with all these chemicals products sold but big companies. Nowadays people want something simple, healthy. All with the respect for the environment. A solid shampoo bar has no plastic as a packaging.

Time : At first, I will be the only one involved in this project as I cannot afford someone doing it for me. But it's fine, because it is something I want to learn step by step before delegating someone else for the repetitive tasks.

Scaling : The business can be scaled with different leverages that are word of mouth (once a customer is satisfied, I will recommend my product to friends/family who have the same "no waste/bio" mindset), creation of offline shops, Google/FB ads and Instagram influencers for the online store.

Pros : As said, this is a great opportunity of business as the mind of people is changing with all the stuff the media reports (climate changed, plastic everywhere, unhealthy food/cosmetics). It is a consumable product, so people who are happy with their shampoo will buy again every week/month.

Cons : There is a lot of competition. I am not the only one that had this idea (thanks to my girlfriend). You can see a lot new born companies in the same topic that are selling well through internet and not only : my gf told me that next to her job there is a little store where a lady sells her soaps with essential oils that recall Arab countries. Business is going well for her since she hires someone in order to help her.

Well, I am aware that I have to distinguish my future business from the others that already exist. Selling bio/hand-made shampoos without plastic packaging would not differentiate my business from the others. Where I could differentiate mine is using essential oils made up of citrus fruits from Sicily (where my family comes from). As Sicilian citrus fruits are really well known worldwide for their taste, having them in an eco-friendly shampoo would be a nice concept. Also because "Sicily" sounds like tradition, sun, bella vita. A healthy lifestyle.

Now, I am asking your help guys :)

I would like to know from you what are you thinking about my idea.
If the Sicilian citrus fruits does not sound appealing to you (to me it sounds pretty good since this idea has not been exploited according to me researches), what would be THE thing you would like to get while your washing your hair (If you do not have like me, think about your family).

Thanks in advance for the help your giving or just for reading the project I am going to embrace.

Ciao !

Umberto
 

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dkostadinov01

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May 31, 2019
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I would suggest start first selling in your own city(make money and see how it goes), then hit the market all at once to avoid obvious complications(when a small company I see starting their own unique business, have seen too many big companies just copy paste the product and completely destroy the small original one in this business category).

Aside from that I don't know too much about the ingredients but seems great!
 
Last edited:

Patrick Jones

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Need : People are fed up with all these chemicals products sold but big companies. Nowadays people want something simple, healthy.
The need can already be fulfilled in many ways. For years I've been washing my hair with a bar of soap from the organic store. Works very well. People also use flour (sic!) for washing and many apply apple cider vinegar as a conditioner. Soap bars already come in countless "flavours". Lemongrass, rose, etc.

In short: You might be adressing a need that is already well addressed.
 

Umbired

New Contributor
May 27, 2019
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I would suggest start first selling in your own city(make money and see how it goes), then hit the market all at once to avoid obvious complications(when a small company I see starting their own unique business, have seen too many big companies just copy paste the product and completely destroy the small original one in this business category).

Aside from that I don't know too much about the ingredients but seems great!
Hi dkostadinov01, thank you for your reply :)
I get your point. However, starting selling in my own city or selling in a bigger scale (internet or offline store) requires in both cases the same regulations and certifications. I just cannot start selling my own shampoo (although it is to a minority) without any regulation. As long as I sell (1 or 1M shampoos), I must get through the regulation process. Do you know what I mean ?
 

Umbired

New Contributor
May 27, 2019
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The need can already be fulfilled in many ways. For years I've been washing my hair with a bar of soap from the organic store. Works very well. People also use flour (sic!) for washing and many apply apple cider vinegar as a conditioner. Soap bars already come in countless "flavours". Lemongrass, rose, etc.

In short: You might be adressing a need that is already well addressed.
Thank you very much for the feedback Patrick Jones :)
Indeed, you can find a lot of soap bars with different flavor. Now where I can distinguish my company from others is the branding/marketing : not only selling flavored soap bars, but soap bars that remind you "freshness, sunny locations and flavors that remind people the good fruit from Sicily. All this home-made with love and tradition, without chemical materials and without plastic packages."
It would not be simply selling a natural soap bar, but emotions through flavor and... branding :)
Do you get my point ?
 

Xeon

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I like the Sicily part. Maybe play up that angle a lot more, show the Sicily lifestyle and everything. Associate the shampoo with the harvested minerals of the Mediterranean Sea lol

Then, add on the go-green, sustainable + maybe even vegan combo, and lots of young millennials, lovers of exotic stuff might lap it up.....in short, you can't be selling this as a normal shampoo.

Artisan shampoo! Ah ha!
 

Patrick Jones

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Do you get my point ?
I do!

So do several others, I believe:
 

terrhuan

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May 19, 2019
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Hi Umbired, I think it is an absolutely decent idea. What is the cost for getting licenced and also to get the first batch of shampoo out? If it is within comfortable limits, no harm acting on it! Unlimited upside potential, and limited downside.
 

Umbired

New Contributor
May 27, 2019
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I like the Sicily part. Maybe play up that angle a lot more, show the Sicily lifestyle and everything. Associate the shampoo with the harvested minerals of the Mediterranean Sea lol

Then, add on the go-green, sustainable + maybe even vegan combo, and lots of young millennials, lovers of exotic stuff might lap it up.....in short, you can't be selling this as a normal shampoo.

Artisan shampoo! Ah ha!
Hi Xeon :)
Yes, it's exactly what I thought. Highlighting all features of Sicily on a shampoo : freshness, tasty flavors and genuine nature.

What I do not know is the "harvested minerals of the Mediterranean Sea" part, as I will produce this shampoos with natural water. I don't think if I can state that on the packaging if it's not true lol
 

Umbired

New Contributor
May 27, 2019
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I do!

So do several others, I believe:
Exactly, that's why I want to distinguish my business from others. If you have any advice/suggestion about my business idea, feel free to tell me :)
 

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Umbired

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May 27, 2019
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Hi Umbired, I think it is an absolutely decent idea. What is the cost for getting licenced and also to get the first batch of shampoo out? If it is within comfortable limits, no harm acting on it! Unlimited upside potential, and limited downside.
Thank you terrhuan :)
I have contacted a toxicologist (here in Belgium you cannot commercialize cosmetic products without a "product file information" delivered by a toxicologist) and I am waiting for her feedback.

Concerning the cost of the final product, it should cost me around 2,5€ (less than 3$) and I could sell one piece at 9,90€ + 5€ shipping.

I assume it is a decent price for something hand-made, natural and atypical.
 

guy93777

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Jun 5, 2019
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Now, I am asking your help guys :)

I would like to know from you what are you thinking about my idea.
If the Sicilian citrus fruits does not sound appealing to you (to me it sounds pretty good since this idea has not been exploited according to me researches), what would be THE thing you would like to get while your washing your hair (If you do not have like me, think about your family).

Thanks in advance for the help your giving or just for reading the project I am going to embrace.

Ciao !

Umberto

maybe you need more customers surveys. customers are not really logical. they buy on impulse.
 

Xeon

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Yes, it's exactly what I thought. Highlighting all features of Sicily on a shampoo : freshness, tasty flavors and genuine nature.
IMO, even freshness, tasty flavors, genuine nature etc are quite overused on such products, not just shampoo but in the beauty industry overall. So you might have to look for another unique angle.

Maybe find a natural ingredient / mineral which is unique to Sicily and the Mediterranean. An ingredient which doesn't harm the hair but doesn't necessarily enrich it too significantly either, and use that ingredient as a marketing tool.

So, let's say there's some salt or mineral or ingredient in that region of the world called Salt Particle X.
That particle can make up only 0.0001% of the overall ingredient blend, as long as it's inside there.
Then, in your approach, you could say,

"Our shampoo is handcrafted in our humble workshop on the shores of the Aegadian Islands, northwest coast of Sicily. Our unique blend of ingredients sourced from the Tyrrhenian and Ionian Sea ensures that your hair feels and looks just like the healthful summers of the Mediterranean."
(maybe even replace the 'shampoo' and 'ingredients' word with something more exotic, like a euphemism word)

On first thought, target market would probably be women who love/have those beach, textured type of hairstyles, since they're also more likely to be sold on the Sicily story you'll be giving them (the ones who love the sun-tan life and soaking in the Dead Sea). Just a guess though.
Maybe you could even make those texturizing shampoo.

So, your marketing collateral would consist solely of nothing but the Mediterranean island lifestyle, from logo to packaging to welcome emails and all those fine details.

What I do not know is the "harvested minerals of the Mediterranean Sea" part, as I will produce this shampoos with natural water. I don't think if I can state that on the packaging if it's not true lol
Nope, that's just an example. :) The idea is play it up by stating it in another way, instead of rational, fact-based approach.
 

Umbired

New Contributor
May 27, 2019
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18
14
IMO, even freshness, tasty flavors, genuine nature etc are quite overused on such products, not just shampoo but in the beauty industry overall. So you might have to look for another unique angle.

Maybe find a natural ingredient / mineral which is unique to Sicily and the Mediterranean. An ingredient which doesn't harm the hair but doesn't necessarily enrich it too significantly either, and use that ingredient as a marketing tool.

So, let's say there's some salt or mineral or ingredient in that region of the world called Salt Particle X.
That particle can make up only 0.0001% of the overall ingredient blend, as long as it's inside there.
Then, in your approach, you could say,

"Our shampoo is handcrafted in our humble workshop on the shores of the Aegadian Islands, northwest coast of Sicily. Our unique blend of ingredients sourced from the Tyrrhenian and Ionian Sea ensures that your hair feels and looks just like the healthful summers of the Mediterranean."
(maybe even replace the 'shampoo' and 'ingredients' word with something more exotic, like a euphemism word)

On first thought, target market would probably be women who love/have those beach, textured type of hairstyles, since they're also more likely to be sold on the Sicily story you'll be giving them (the ones who love the sun-tan life and soaking in the Dead Sea). Just a guess though.
Maybe you could even make those texturizing shampoo.

So, your marketing collateral would consist solely of nothing but the Mediterranean island lifestyle, from logo to packaging to welcome emails and all those fine details.



Nope, that's just an example. :) The idea is play it up by stating it in another way, instead of rational, fact-based approach.
You're totally right, Xeon. Thanks for the great advice !

Update : The toxicologist I called told me I have to find a supplier of raw materials for my shampoo in order she can help me. She is not going to help if I use materials bought at the supermarket down the street, because I could not provide any technical files attached to the raw materials. I contacted some companies, they have the raw materials I need but not directly from Sicily, of course. It's gonna be complicated creating a brand around Sicily if my raw materials do not come from there.

Anyway I started thinking about what you said concerning the mineral and stumbled upon the Etna vulcan, where there are prickly pear trees. This fruit has a lot of healthy properties. What I have to know now is if the raw material company I contacted is able to provide me such a product. If so, I could create a branding about Sicilian pricky pear and decline it on a lot of products : shampoo bars, soap bars, bath bombs,...

How does it sound to you ?
 

Real Deal Denver

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I think it's a great idea. My wife is always switching shampoos to try one that is more natural. The last one she bought was horrible, btw.

I contacted some companies, they have the raw materials I need but not directly from Sicily, of course. It's gonna be complicated creating a brand around Sicily if my raw materials do not come from there.
I don't know. I buy French cheesecake that is not made in France. All kinds of Italian sauces, pizzas, etc. Come to think of it, I have seen some pizza somewhere that said Sicily on it. I'll have to look closer next time I'm shopping.

You don't have to say it's from Sicily directly. Just say from an old hand made recipe from where you grew up, on the beautiful shores of your beloved homeland... blah blah blah. And then put a knock your socks off picture of a beach on the label. Be sure to emphasize organic, natural, and all that jazz.

I'll buy it for sure to try it. If it's good, I'll buy it forever. I always liked the shampoo that is a jell of some kind that has lots of bubbles suspended in it. Make your packaging eye-catching and beautiful. I DO judge a book by its cover!

PS - don't forget the super protein rich fortifying conditioner.
 
Last edited:

Xeon

All Cars Kneel Before Pagani.
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Anyway I started thinking about what you said concerning the mineral and stumbled upon the Etna vulcan, where there are prickly pear trees. This fruit has a lot of healthy properties. What I have to know now is if the raw material company I contacted is able to provide me such a product. If so, I could create a branding about Sicilian pricky pear and decline it on a lot of products : shampoo bars, soap bars, bath bombs,...How does it sound to you ?
Sounds good. I would probably say to use the nutrients/ingredients of the prickly pears as a selling point, and your story will say that the origin of these pears are harvested from the base of the active volcano, Mount Etna in Sicily, and how dangerous it is etc. And because of that, the price of these stuff can be made higher than the normal shampoos.

You could even wear scruffy, farming clothes and get a photographer to take pics of you doing work on the trees or soucing for stuff at Mt. Etna, the possibilities are endless lol
Lots of content for Instagram as well.

In future, you can even do volcanic soil beauty masks, like these: NEW H&M BEAUTY FACE MASK : CHARCOAL AND VOLCANIC SOIL REVIEW lol
 

Strm

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If you're not testing on animals, then you already have my attention! :smile2:
 

alord

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Hey Umberto, I think it's a beautiful opportunity. I might be biased because I come from Sicily, but it's true, Italy and Sicily, in general, can be associated with premium services if done well. Dolce & Gabbana are using Sicily in every image just recently because of what you said: Dolce & Gabbana (@dolcegabbana) • Instagram photos and videos. Also, check out this brand Ortygia which produces perfumes for premium prices (Ortigia Sicilia Ortigia Sicilia - Perfume, Soap and Candles from Sicily)
 

Sutsswan

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Dec 25, 2018
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I have a friend of mine who makes soap bars out of many materials including butters and oils that are pure vegan and can be used as an everyday treatment for people with sensitive skin. I think, making your business more close to healthy and less waste producing can really boost your sales and brand popularity.
 

Umbired

New Contributor
May 27, 2019
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14
I think it's a great idea. My wife is always switching shampoos to try one that is more natural. The last one she bought was horrible, btw.



I don't know. I buy French cheesecake that is not made in France. All kinds of Italian sauces, pizzas, etc. Come to think of it, I have seen some pizza somewhere that said Sicily on it. I'll have to look closer next time I'm shopping.

You don't have to say it's from Sicily directly. Just say from an old hand made recipe from where you grew up, on the beautiful shores of your beloved homeland... blah blah blah. And then put a knock your socks off picture of a beach on the label. Be sure to emphasize organic, natural, and all that jazz.

I'll buy it for sure to try it. If it's good, I'll buy it forever. I always liked the shampoo that is a jell of some kind that has lots of bubbles suspended in it. Make your packaging eye-catching and beautiful. I DO judge a book by its cover!

PS - don't forget the super protein rich fortifying conditioner.
Hi Real Deal Denver, thanks for your feedback :) it is a very valuable advice you gave me, thank you a lot!
 

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Umbired

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May 27, 2019
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Sounds good. I would probably say to use the nutrients/ingredients of the prickly pears as a selling point, and your story will say that the origin of these pears are harvested from the base of the active volcano, Mount Etna in Sicily, and how dangerous it is etc. And because of that, the price of these stuff can be made higher than the normal shampoos.

You could even wear scruffy, farming clothes and get a photographer to take pics of you doing work on the trees or soucing for stuff at Mt. Etna, the possibilities are endless lol
Lots of content for Instagram as well.

In future, you can even do volcanic soil beauty masks, like these: NEW H&M BEAUTY FACE MASK : CHARCOAL AND VOLCANIC SOIL REVIEW lol
Great value you gave me Xeon :)
About pictures "on site", it will be a little difficult since although I'm Sicilian by origin, I currently live in Belgium and my products would be made in Belgium.
By the way, thank you for all the advices !
 

Umbired

New Contributor
May 27, 2019
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If you're not testing on animals, then you already have my attention! :smile2:
Hi Strm :) of course not, the recipe I got has already been used and proved in the past directly by people who test them on themselves with no danger since ingredients are basic :)
 

Umbired

New Contributor
May 27, 2019
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Hey Umberto, I think it's a beautiful opportunity. I might be biased because I come from Sicily, but it's true, Italy and Sicily, in general, can be associated with premium services if done well. Dolce & Gabbana are using Sicily in every image just recently because of what you said: Dolce & Gabbana (@dolcegabbana) • Instagram photos and videos. Also, check out this brand Ortygia which produces perfumes for premium prices (Ortigia Sicilia Ortigia Sicilia - Perfume, Soap and Candles from Sicily)
Hello alord ! Thanks for the support ! Where in Sicily do you come from ?
I also noticed that Sicily is being under the spotlights nowadays and it's about time. Thank you for the precious links you shared :)
 

Umbired

New Contributor
May 27, 2019
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14
I have a friend of mine who makes soap bars out of many materials including butters and oils that are pure vegan and can be used as an everyday treatment for people with sensitive skin. I think, making your business more close to healthy and less waste producing can really boost your sales and brand popularity.
Thank you for the comment Sutsswan :)
That's the direction I want to take (healthy and less waste), anyway in order to differentiate my brand from the others I want to focus on Sicily benefits
 

alord

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Wow, I would not have thought I would find a "siracusanu" in this forum ! Nice to meet you :)
Eheh yeah it's rare that someone for a Sicilian. Considering also that on average people there don't read any books over a whole year (sad but true statistic)
 

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