14 Common Skincare Business Mistakes To Avoid: 7 Lessons from Beauty Entrepreneurs

You'll face many obstacles when you build your skincare brand. I asked 6 Beauty Entrepreneurs about their mistakes when building their skincare brands to help you avoid them.

November 19, 2022
Imed Djabi
A cover image for a blog titled: 14 Common Skincare Business Mistakes To Avoid: 7 Lessons from Beauty Entrepreneurs. The background is black, with a small rectangle containing a gradient, starting with a blue colour from the left to a red colour to the right. On top of it, there is another image that contains skincare bottles and packaging.

You probably landed on this post because you’re trying to build your skincare brand, and you want to avoid making critical mistakes. I must say, it’s a smart move! There is no faster way to learn than from other people’s mistakes.

You’re in luck because I had the chance to ask six successful entrepreneurs with an active beauty brand. Let’s explore what they had to say about their mistakes. We’ll dive deep into each one of them later on.

“Thinking that everything had to be perfect from the beginning. Good things take time, Rome wasn’t built overnight. Allow for progression, and don’t compare your brand to anyone else.” - Kimberly Liriano, Founder & CEO of KanvasNY

“Pouring money into advertising as a newcomer was a massive waste of my resources. Growing organically, locally, first has been much more successful for sustained growth.” - Jessica Glasner, Founder & CEO of eNVy Formulations.

“Building out your product line too fast. When you’re just starting out, don’t feel the need to have 20x collections. Take your time to sell what you have and focus on marketing.” - Leesa Lyles, Founder & CEO of Bossy Glossy.

“Not allotting more budget to marketing. Just because you have an amazing product formula and an innovative idea doesn’t mean you don’t have to market it.” - Monica Montanari, Founder & CEO of Command Cosmetics.

“All brand communication must be focused around the problem the brand is trying to solve. Don’t undersell your brand/products. If it's a premium product, price accordingly.” - Dr. Jagvir Singh, President of Refresh Botanicals.

“Not setting our prices high enough. Increase your margins from the start to have less impact throughout pandemics and recessions.” - Julie Ouandji, Founder & CEO of Jumiino.

As you can see, everyone had their own challenges. And some are contrarian. Jessica Glasner spent a lot of money on advertising, so she suggested focusing on growing organically and locally for sustainable growth.

On the other hand, Monica Montanari says that her mistake was not allotting more budget to marketing. We can learn from both of them that you should determine YOUR budget for marketing and not run out of cash flow. Indeed, it is essential to focus on your organic growth and not rely on paid ads to drive sales.

Writing this article was pure joy for me, and I had the chance to get real insights from real brand owners. I’m not launching a brand, but my future wife will build her own skincare brand. I want to help you get accommodated. Let’s dive.

Common mistakes beauty entrepreneurs have made while building their brands

1. Comparing your brand to successful beauty brands

It is the easiest trap you can fall into. As a creative service provider, I am guilty of comparing myself to others. I’m telling you, you’ll lose your mind, your soul, and your money. 

I understood that everyone has a different path, everyone's success is different from the others, and you shouldn’t compare your brand with others. Otherwise, you’ll have expectations that aren’t aligned with your goals. It is okay to dream big, and it is also OK not to achieve your pre-defined goals.

Instead of beating yourself up, analyze what went wrong and optimize accordingly. The success of others that might look like an overnight thing took a lot of failures and adaptations. So, be ready to fail and be prepared to adapt.

2. Building out your product lines too fast

Do you want to build product lines in the beginning? If so, think again because you can launch your skincare brand with only one product and still be successful.

The co-founder of Mi-el Skincare, Laura Mazzuca, did just that. Her story is very inspiring. 

She introduced her second product approximately ten months later. Visit her website to learn more about her brand and story. 

You don't need to have many products. 

Start with one great product and grow steadily. It is the most effective way to launch your brand on the right foot as a new business owner.

3. Spending too much on advertising

I can understand why some new brand owners jump right into advertising. 

That’s what has been advertised to new brands. 

“You only need good creatives.”

“You have to spend more to gather enough data.”

“You have to try many campaigns and many audiences.”

There is a bunch of BS regarding what you should do with your ads. So many that you don’t know what to do. 

When starting out, I understand there are better options than hiring a social media marketing agency.

So, what should you do?

Initially, you should use advertising to build brand awareness instead of acquiring buyers.

The reasons are pretty simple,

  • You don’t need rocket science knowledge to build those ads.
  • It’s less expensive to run. Expect to pay between 8 to $12 for 1000 impressions.

Spending $12 daily for 1000 people to see my brand sounds like a fair deal to me.

The goal? Make people aware of your brand, and bring them to your website or social media to nurture them further.

4. Not allocating enough budget to marketing

Digital marketing doesn’t only rely on ads. Using Influencers and micro-influencers is a great way to build authority and trust with your first customers.

Instead of spending $100 daily on ads, spend less to run brand awareness campaigns and set aside a budget for influencers. You need to have a marketing strategy. Otherwise, you'll be running out of money very quickly.

Your best bet is to focus on one platform and add channels as you grow. That’s why it is essential to understand your target audience. Where do they hang out?

Once you determine that, selecting your influencers and the platform you want to target becomes easier. Same for acquiring new customers.

5. Neglecting organic growth

If your brand relies on paid ads. You’re on the edge of failure. As you grow, your email list will become your biggest asset. You can easily generate 25-35% of your revenue from your email.

Organic growth is essential for the overall health of your brand. Doing your market research before building your brand will help you with your decisions. What are the right products for your target audience?

If you're a skincare fanatic, which I presume is the case because of your high interest in building your skincare brand. You should definitely share your interest or expertise.

Here are some topics you can cover and share on your social media platforms:

  • Skincare routine for oily skin
  • Skincare routine for dry skin
  • Skincare routine for sensitive skin
  • Skincare routine for a healthy skin
  • Most common skincare mistakes
  • How to identify your skin type
  • How to remove dead skin cells
  • How to determine your skin health
  • How to maintain your beautiful skin
  • How to remove dark spots efficiently
  • How to create your skincare routine
  • How to adopt a consistent skincare routine?
  • How to avoid using the wrong products for your skin
  • Do anti-aging serums slow down the aging process?
  • I tried different products, so you don't have to!
  • Top 5 essential oils to use for your skin
  • The best skincare routine for X type of skin
  • Top 5 benefits of hydrating serum for your skin
  • Top 5 skincare brands that use natural ingredients
  • Hyaluronic acid vs glycolic acid - what are the differences?
  • Day cream vs night cream - do you need both?
  • My top 3 exfoliation products
  • What causes skin cancer

When starting out, you should definitely document your journey on platforms such as Instagram and TikTok. You don’t have to be ready to start. Build your email list before even launching your product.

This strategy is VERY effective. If done right, you can be sold out the next day.

One video that blows up can change the course of your business.

DO NOT wait until you launch your brand to post on social media.

Believe me. You won’t regret it. You learn as you grow, and the more you know, the more you grow.

When you get to the point of making 50k+ monthly, optimized ads can help you surpass your sales plateau.

6. Underselling your products and not pricing for profit

If you’re pricing your products based on your “competition.” I’m gonna have to tell you to stop right now.

First of all, your product has to be good. 

Second, you have to believe in your product. 

You have to believe that you’re helping your future customers.

That doesn’t mean pricing your product so high that nobody will buy it. 

Take Brad Pitt’s skincare brand as an example, The Domaine. The price of their products is outrageous, and I really wanna know who their target audience is—$320 for the moisturizing cream and $380 for the facial serum.

I mean, other skincare products with the same ingredients cost a fraction of the price. I can understand if their prices are based on the packaging rather than the actual ingredients. 

I feel like it’s priced based on the owner, who is a celebrity, instead of the brand itself.

You can say the same thing for fashion brands selling $10 shirts for $1000. 

It’s all based on perceived value.

The thing is, you don’t walk around with your skincare products and show them off to the world. So, having the social status benefits of owning it is out of the window.

My point is simple: study your target market and your target audience.

Don’t underestimate the power of social media. 

You can have 50 followers in one day. 

Wake up the next day and have 50k. 

Building a personal brand is very powerful, especially if you haven't launched your brand yet. 

If you think your life is boring and isn’t worth sharing, let me tell you that it’s not!

You’re building a skincare brand that will help people and change their life.

Don’t be selfish. Share your journey and let people discover you and your brand.

7. Wrong messaging, aka attracting the wrong audience

The reason for this is quite simple. You do not know who you are talking to. Communicating with corporate women in the medical space is very different from women in the culinary industry.

The same applies to your skincare brand. What generation are you trying to attract? The best way to understand how to do it is through brand strategy.

Most common mistakes to avoid when building your skincare brand

Now, let’s explore my observations on mistakes that will ultimately cost you money or your brand. Some of them will challenge your thinking. I read more than 30 articles and analyzed more than 30 beauty brands to come up with my observations. I use some skincare products, but I’m not really productive with them. Safe to say I’m not biased here.

Quick note: a brand making 100k, 300k, or even 500k per month in sales doesn’t mean they’re doing everything perfectly. Sure, they’re doing a lot of things correctly. But, many of them can drastically increase their sales with strategic conversion rate optimization.

The point is there is always room for improvement. 

That doesn't mean you have to change what is not broken.

Let’s explore those mistakes.

8. Weak business plan or no business plan at all

There will always be people who are the exception to the rules. 

We don’t aim to be one of these people. 

We want to succeed. To achieve success, we need a business plan.

Not any business plan, a solid business plan! You’ll get drowned very quickly if you jump in hot water without directions. 

Yes, many owners have started their brand with $1000. But things have changed. You need to understand and study if there is at least a market fit for your product. That’s why it is very convenient to document your process. There is no shame in failing; it will teach you or humble you. In both scenarios, you win.

Coming up with a business plan will help you understand what your goals are. Brand strategy and business strategy are different but still quite similar in the sense of where you’ll establish some foundations before launching your brand.

  • What is your retail price?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • What are your profit margins?
  • What are your marketing strategies?
  • How are you gonna market your brand?
  • What is your total budget for your brand?
  • What social media are you gonna use first?
  • What is the minimum order quantity (MOQ) for your product?
  • Where do you see your brand in the upcoming 3 or 5 years?

Those are some questions you should ask yourself to build your business plan. You don’t have to do it alone. I can help you with that.

9. Neglecting the power of branding

Branding isn’t only your brand name and logo. It’s way more than that.

Without branding, every skincare brand would be the same. It’s not only their name and logo that makes the difference. It’s a combination of many things.

Such as

  • Brand values
  • Brand promise
  • Brand purpose
  • Brand identity
  • Brand positioning
  • Tone of voice
  • Packaging design
  • Pricing strategy
  • Customer service

Having a branding strategy, also named brand strategy, is crucial to the overall success of your brand for many years to come. Invest in your branding as soon as possible.

10. DYIng your brand design

If you don’t have prior knowledge of graphic design. I highly suggest you set aside a budget and hire a professional. 

If you’re tight on budget, I suggest you read and learn about typography, color psychology, and branding before designing your brand.

Pro tip: you’re not building your brand for yourself but for your customers.

So, you shouldn’t be biased. It’s not about you and your color preferences. It’s about your customers and their needs.

The sooner you understand it, the better. I can help you build a magnetic skincare brand.

11. Only offering discounts as an Opt-in

You should consider other alternatives for your “newsletter.” The very first thing is to NEVER use the word newsletter. Nobody wants to subscribe to your newsletter. If you offer a discount, many of them will subscribe, get the code and get the hell out of your list.

Instead, offer them benefits to join your Opt-in. Such as an E-book about skincare and special offers from your brand.

Here are some examples of an E-book you can offer to your customers:

  • A list of ingredients to avoid in your skincare products
  • A list of food to consume for better skin
  • A skincare routine for anti-aging

The possibilities are endless. Offering discounts is too typical among brands. If you want to differentiate yourself. Start with your Opt-in.

12. Not having a marketing plan

As mentioned above, you should allocate enough budget for your marketing. On top of that, you should establish a marketing plan. You don’t have to start from scratch. You can find templates here.

13. Doing it all by yourself

You should reinvest in your business from the moment you can! Do not try doing it all by yourself. It’s not possible to scale.

Also, it depends on your goals. If you don’t want to build a world-class brand, by all means. But it doesn’t hurt to buy your time back. I assume that it’s one of the reasons you want to launch your brand in the first place. Work for yourself, and help others at the same time.

When you start making 20k+ per month. It makes sense to hire an advertising agency for 2-8k per month to manage your ads and make you MORE money. Obviously, not all agencies are great for you. That’s why you should hire based on your values and your niche.

Same for your social media accounts. It makes sense to invest 2-8k per month if it brings back 15k+. Obviously, you cannot achieve those results all by yourself.

As long as it brings you more money, investing is a no-brainer. Some have immediate ROI, and others have a delayed ROI.

For instance, hiring a marketing agency for your ads can generate quick revenue results. But, investing in branding will take a little longer.

14. Neglecting the slow ROI

We all love immediate gratification, but like compound investment, only consistency and patience bring results. Let me briefly list what you might find not appealing to work on right away, but you should.

  1. Branding 
  2. Content Creation
  3. SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Now, let me give you the fastest way to grow your revenue: Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) 

If you’re starting out, it’s good to learn what might trigger a low conversion rate to avoid it. 

Applying the best practices for your Ecommerce business as soon as possible helps you set your brand up for success.

Thank you for reaching the last sentence. I hope you found value and clarity in reading this article.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me or connect with me on socials!

See you next time.

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