Smart Start Part 2: Five questions to keep your product on the right path
Smart Start Part 2: Five questions to keep your product on the right path

Last month, we shared seven big-picture questions you should ask yourself before you start working with a contract manufacturer’s research and development team to create a product. As soon as the R&D process begins, it’s time to get tactical: What’s in the product? What does the package look like? How will it be marketed? A solid R&D department will work with you to determine the answers to five critical questions to ensure your product is prepared, packaged, positioned, and priced effectively.

  • What are my ingredients? Ingredient trends come and go—remember antioxidants? These days, consumers are flocking toward products with plant-based ingredients and without gluten. Be aware of trends and of sound research that supports or disproves the supposed benefits of certain ingredients. Then choose ingredients that align with your product’s message and the expectations of your customer.
  • What claims do I want to make? There are many certifications your product could carry—such as USDA organic, cruelty-free, and fair trade. It can be expensive to earn certain stamps of approval, though, so choose the ones that matter to you and that will appeal to and build your customer base. A contract manufacturer like United 1 Labs will have a research and development department that can help you sort through your options when it comes to product claims.
  • How will I package this product? From bottles to aerosols to gel packs and from screen printed labels to shrink sleeve labels, there are endless possibilities when it comes to containers for your product. But not every option is the right one. The jar you choose for your facial cleanser can look pretty, but the cleanser may dispense more easily from a tube or a pump. The size of the container is important, too—the bigger it is, the more servings it will hold. For many beverages, for example, this means more calories, something more and more consumers are counting. And if you are selling multiple products together, keep in mind that kits are more labor intensive to assemble, which will increase your cost. The bottom line with packaging is, make smart decisions early. You don’t want to discover on the shipping dock that you’ve chosen the wrong container.
  • Does my price make sense? Align your price with your distribution channel. You wouldn’t sell a $20 energy shot at a convenience store or a $2 energy shot at a high-end retailer. If you do buck price point logic, make sure you have the marketing plan to justify it.
  • How will international distribution affect how I produce, market, and ship my product? What works in the United States may not fly in Denmark. What flies in Denmark, may not cut it in France. Everything from shipping regulations to the claims a product can make to product testing requirements can change depending on the country you are targeting. Again, a manufacturer like United 1 has the experience and expertise to help you navigate international regulatory and distribution waters.

The earlier in the R&D process you answer these questions the better. Putting the right ingredients in the proper container and following protocols the first time means you can move on to your next great idea instead of redoing your first one.


Robert Hendrickson and Nicole Simpson of “ORSI Beauty Group”

robert-hendrickson-1Robert Hendrickson is the Senior Formulator for United 1 Laboratories.  With 12 years of expertise in pharmacological and personal care products.  He’s been accused several times of creating and developing some of the best products on the market.  He also has extensive knowledge of international regulations, customer relationships and how to bringing unique skin care products to market.  His products have won multiple awards and recognized by Consumer Choice as the 1st and 3rd best sun care products on the market.  Robert graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Chemistry and has been on record for, “making awesome.”

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