Making and selling lip balm...

February 9, 2007 6:14am CST
Hi, I want to start a small enterprise making and selling home-made lip balms, first on ebay and maybe in small boutiques in the UK. A friend has agreed to work with me, we will split the costs, the work, and the profits. Any advice on how I could get going? I don't really know where to buy supplies (shea butter, cocoa butter, beeswax etc) but I'm slowly collecting recipes to make some sample pots, so I can develop my own. Any advice would be great, thanks.
1 person likes this
4 responses
@nancygibson (3740)
• France
9 Feb 07
Ok, the single most important thing is that if you sell any form of skin product in the UK you MUST comply with all the current legislation. THis can seem daunting at first but its not too hard once you get your head round it. Basicaly, the most critical part is to have your recipes certified safe by a qualified cosmetic chemist. Typically this costs about £60 per recipe and you need a new certification every time you alter the flavour, though often if your base is identical each time your chemist will do you a deal (for example, you use one base recipe but sell 5 flavours, he may certify all in one go for about £100 the lot perhaps). Then, you need to tell the department of trade and industry that you are a cosmetic manufacturer (yes, even if you only do it as a hobbybusiness), this is just a letter to say you exist,you will also need to comply with ingredient and allergen listings, and use stamped for trade scales to weigh your ingredients and products then you tell the Inland revenue so you can start doing self assessed tax, and finally you get apropriate product and public liablilty insurance.(I use the Craftsman insurace package, its cheap and covers onlinesales as well which most of the others dont).You then just need to keep accurate batch records and be willing to have the trading standards people pop by to check your premisies at any time (they may never visit, but I know people who have found them on the doorstep so its important to be prepared) Please don't be put off by all this, it took me about 2 weeks to get all my legal stuff in order when I started sellings soap and its been no hassle at all since then, but you do absolutely have to do all of this, the penalties for being picked up on a routine TS inspection are high and small scale cosmetic manufacturers are their favourite food right now! My best advice is to practice your recipes on friends first until you know they are what you want to sell, then jsut grit your teeth, write a few cheques and get that paperwork legal, and launch your empire the next month confident that you have an excellent product and are operating within the law. Best of luck!
9 Feb 07
Oh dear... I read somewhere that you didn't have to get your recipes verified if you bought cosmetic grade ingredients and if they were stated on the packaging? Or if you got the recipes off a website? It sounds dodgy but is there any way around the legislation? As a poor student I'm pretty strapped for cash so can't afford all the insurance and fees :( Also I don't know where to buy my raw materials from! I can't seem to find any good suppliers. Can you reccommend anyone for me? Thanks!
1 person likes this
• France
9 Feb 07
The only way 'round' the legislation is to be pre-certified product, in which case all you do is melt it, pour it into tubes and apply the labelling info the supplier gives you. Its not handmade at all then, just you repackaging someone elses product. Please don't be discouraged, I don't have 10p to rub together most of the time but it was a worthwhile investment for me to get teh certification done, but you have to have your makret sussed out first. As for ingredients The Soap Kitchen is very good, I use them a lot
1 person likes this
• France
9 Feb 07
This book would help you a lot, its aimed at soapmakers but the legislation and method of manufacturing and recording a lipbalm business is absolutely identical. http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/The-Real-Soapmakers-Ebook_W0QQitemZ220079574078QQihZ012QQcategoryZ3089QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
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@jbrowsin66 (1322)
• United States
9 Feb 07
I've made some just for my own purposes. You can buy all your ingredients online at lots of places. Also the little containers. The only thing I would be concerned about is here in the U.S. I think there are strict regulations pertaining to the cosmetic industry. What would you do if someone had a bad allergic reaction to something in your product? You could be sued by users and by the boutiques that sell them and lose everything. Also if you aren't careful with germs when you make and package your product, you could grow mold. So check into rules and regulations, shelf life of your product, etc. In order to sell anything to a boutique you may have to have some kind of a business license? Maybe you could go to the library and find out an organization to call and ask all these questions.
1 person likes this
• United States
9 Feb 07
My friend has a small lip-balm company here in the US - it's great, I love her stuff! I think she found the original recipe online, and then altered it until she got just what she wanted. There is not the same process here to get it all approved by a chemist or anything! She went to Costa Rica for three months last year, and my roommates and I were in charge of the company - making lipbalms, calling stores to see if they needed more stock, etc. It was fun, but definitely a lot of work! I know she doesn't make a lot of money from it, but it's a little extra income and she really likes it.
@quatelmon (957)
• United States
9 Feb 07
Perhapse now is not the right time for you to start this exact handcrafted business? It's better to do everything by the books. So, maybe you can make your recipes for use on your friends, and maybe there is something else that you are good at that you can do to make money in the meantime? Do you craft at all? Oh, and selling on eBay isn't all that great for handmade stuff. Check out http://www.etsy.com It's all handcrafted, so people will actually pay the price it costs to produce. Check out my store at http://stitchesandsteel.etsy.com Good luck in all of your ventures!!!