How to Start a Lotion Making Business

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Woman applying hand lotion
Woman applying hand lotion (Image: OlgaMiltsova/iStock/Getty Images)

Creating and packaging homemade lotion requires minimal startup costs while giving you a way to make money from the comfort of your own home. A love for experimenting with different ingredients, such as natural herbs or flowery scents, and developing options with commercial appeal is key to getting started. But before you begin bottling your lotion to sell, find out what else is involved in starting a lotion-making business so you develop a reputation for creating lotions people are willing to buy.

Get Legal

Become familiar with your city, county and state’s business plan licensing requirements. Keep in compliance with the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, since lotions fall under this law. For instance, if you claim your lotion treats or prevents a disease, you must prove these statements before selling it. Otherwise, the Act does not require you to test your products, although you should make sure any color additives added to your lotions are approved by the FDA. Obtain liability insurance to protect yourself and your business in the event your lotion harms a customer.

Gather Supplies and Space

Find a spot in your home with plenty of counter space and shelving where you can safely make and store your supplies and lotions without worrying that children or pets can get into the ingredients. Gather the items you need, such as mixing containers and tools for measuring. Buy basic ingredients in bulk from a supplier to make the base for your lotion, as well as specialty ingredients like herbs, dried flowers and scents. Suppliers also sell bottles in bulk. Consider buying a high quality, stabilized lotion base to which you add your unique ingredients. A stabilized lotion keeps for months while a lotion base made from scratch may only be good for a few weeks or require refrigeration.

Create Labels

Besides making your labels attractive so people want to buy your lotion, make sure they conform to FDA requirements. List all of the ingredients used in your lotion. Avoid making false statements as to the benefits of your lotion, as this may be considered false advertising. Your label needs to describe how the product should be used. Include your company’s name and address to be in compliance with FDA regulations.

Determine Pricing

Setting a price for your lotion requires adding up the cost of ingredients, supplies, packaging and your time making the lotion. This is the base price for your lotion to make sure your basic costs are covered. Build in a profit margin for yourself, making sure the market will support that price. Go to farmer’s markets or stores in the area where you want to sell your lotion to get a better idea of the prices being charged for similar products.

Market and Sell

Determine the target market for your lotion, and find venues that get put your product in front of these people. For instance, if your lotion appeals to gardeners who have dry hands after working in their yard all day, rent a table at gardening shows, farmer’s markets and women’s tradeshows. To reach a wider audience, set up an ecommerce website for online ordering. Boutiques, cosmetic stores or bed and bath shops willing to carry your product give you more places to potentially sell your lotion.

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