No one likes chapped lips. They’re irritating and sometimes even painful. Luckily, there’s lip balm to help provide moisture and protection against the elements. Whether you’re a woman or a man, using lip balm can be the difference between a day of aggravation and a day of comfort.
And speaking of gender distinctions, 81% of women and 39% of men use lipstick or lip balm products, according to stats published in a report by the U.S. PIRG Education Fund. Not to mention that recent years have shown a growing demand for natural skincare products, including those related to lip care.
So what does all this mean for you? As an entrepreneur, you can see a clear business opportunity regarding lip balms. For one, you have a dual-target demographic to go after in men and women. Plus, consumer demand for natural products provides a clear element to focus on in both production and marketing.
But where do you start? Keep reading to see what steps you should take to get your lip balm business off the ground.
Starting a Successful Lip Balm Business: 7 Steps
1. Do market research.
It’s important to first understand the market and the types of customers you want to target. Demographics are one piece of the puzzle. Will you target only women, only men, or both? Is there a particular age group or income bracket that makes sense to seek out? Do you want to focus on particular interest areas, such as vegans?
Beyond demographics, also consider what complementary products you can branch into after your success with lip balm. People tend to be interested in multiple skincare products, not just one for lips. Can you create or source companion natural products for your chosen customer?
2. Decide on the type of lip balm.
Before heading to your kitchen to whip up an amazing lip balm recipe, you need to choose a type of lip balm. There are five common types, and your market research should inform your choice.
- Beeswax. If you want to check both the natural and affordable checkboxes, beeswax is the way to go. Plus, the fact that one of the most well-known lip balms is made from beeswax (Burt’s Bees) means it’s marketable.
- Medicated. Have you ever applied lip balm, and it burned? Then you probably used a medicated version with cooling agents such as menthol or camphor. Medicated lip balms work great for severe lip dryness and cold sores.
- Vegan. If you plan to carve out a niche within the lip balm market, taking the vegan route will make marketing easier. Vegan lip balms have no animal byproducts, which you can emphasize when you target customers interested in these types of skincare items.
- Tinted. For lip balm users who also like a splash of color, tinted is the way to go. These lip balms use either a small amount of lipstick or mica powder to achieve a slightly colored lip. An article in the popular magazine Allure noted that tinted lip balms are “great for no-makeup makeup looks.” Unsurprisingly, your audience will be primarily women if you go this route.
- CBD. Cannabidiol, or CBD, has been the craze over the last few years, popping up in all types of natural products. It has therapeutic properties that benefit the skin. For lip balms, one benefit is moisturizing lips.
3. Create a lip balm recipe.
Once you’ve decided on a type of lip balm, it’s time to create a recipe. It will take some trial and error to get it exactly right. Try using a combination of beeswax, shea butter, coconut oil, and one or more essential oils. It’s your recipe, so feel free to experiment before finalizing your blend.
When you get to the “cooking” stage, you’ll need:
- A spatula or wooden spoon for stirring
- A double boiler for melting and combining ingredients
- Tins or tubes to contain your lip balm
- Plastic pipettes for transferring your blend to the tubes
- Your chosen ingredients (e.g., beeswax, shea butter, coconut oil, essential oils, etc.)
- Lipstick or colored mica powder (optional)
4. Develop your business plan.
Your lip balm business plan should have your complete go-to-market strategy—main goals, the market research you’ve done, details about your product, how you will market your product, and financial projections. It’s important you record all these aspects, so you always know your next steps once you get started.
5. Work on branding and packaging.
What will you call your business? How will you package your product for customers? These brand considerations hold more weight than you may think. Customers aren’t going to know your brand, so it’s important that you appeal to them with a compelling brand image to capture their attention.
6. Build your business website.
You need to have a place to sell your products online, as ecommerce is the way many consumers make purchases today. That’s where your online shop comes in. Develop your website in a way that captures your brand image and keeps the customer in mind. What will catch their attention? How can you make it easy for them to buy from you?
7. Market your products.
Finally, you need to market your products so would-be customers can find you. Use Google and social media ads and post on social media. Visual-focused platforms like Instagram and Pinterest are great places to showcase your lip balm.
You can supplement your online marketing with in-person approaches as well. Try securing spaces at local markets or fairs. Set up a visually stunning presentation to draw visitors to your booth or stand and sell your products directly there; also, get them to follow you online to encourage repeat business and referrals to their friends and family.
The above steps can make starting a successful lip balm business a lot easier. Just make sure to take your time to create a unique lip balm that customers will love.