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Small Business Beginners: Product Development

Small Business Beginners: Product Development

Now that we have decided the type of product(s) we would like to offer and the best ways to package them we can turn our ideas into reality…with a little bit of development. A lot of time and experimentation can go into product development. There are tons of natural and handmade products on the market and for small businesses looking to thrive in this niche, product development is key. This is the step where ideas are transformed into formulas and those formulas have to be sourced, adjusted, and perfected to the unique needs and desires of our customer base before the product is ready for sale. 

Understanding Your Market

Successful product development begins with a deep understanding of our target market. Who are our customers? What are their preferences and needs? We must conduct market research to identify new trends, understand our competitors, and find gaps in the market that we can fill. It is a great idea to engage with our potential customers through surveys, social media, and local events to gather valuable insights that will help us create the perfect products. 

Once we have a clear understanding of our target market, it's time for the fun part, brainstorming product ideas. Inspiration can come from various sources, nature, personal experiences, cultural traditions, or simply our own creative minds. We must remember to consider factors such as ingredients, scents, and packaging that align with our brand and customer preferences. The goal is to create a unique product that stands out in the crowded natural and handmade market space.

Ingredient Selection & Formulation

In the various aspects of product development, the selection of ingredients takes center stage. As we embark on this journey, it's crucial to evaluate not only the beneficial qualities of the ingredients but also the economics. The very foundation of our product lies in the ingredients we choose. It's not just about what's good for the skin but also about what aligns with our brand values and cost considerations. Take, for instance, the choice between Jojoba Oil and Fractionated Coconut Oil for oil-based products. Both offer excellent moisturizing properties, but they come with different price tags. Jojoba Oil, being rarer and often perceived as more luxurious, may command a higher cost, while Fractionated Coconut Oil, abundant and versatile, tends to be more budget-friendly. Balancing quality with cost is an art in itself, and understanding our target market's spending habits can help us make informed decisions. We can experiment with different ingredient ratios and combinations to craft the perfect blend. While premium ingredients like Argan Oil and Jojoba Oil may impart a certain opulence to our product, we may choose to balance them with more cost-effective options like Sweet Almond Oil or Fractionated Coconut Oil without compromising quality. Striking this balance is essential for both our bottom line and our customers' satisfaction. 

Fragrance is an important element of product development, especially when utilizing the aroma and benefits of essential oils to enhance our products. The world of essential oils offers an array of scents, each with its own cost profile. Some rare or exotic essential oils can be significantly more expensive than commonly used ones and we should consider the economic aspect when selecting scents for our product. Many oils of varying cost may share similar scent notes and beneficial properties. Invest time and research into blending essential oils to create the right balance of benefits, aroma, and cost. We might blend pricier oils such as Rose or Jasmine with more affordable options like Geranium and Lavender to create a unique and cost-effective fragrance that does not sacrifice nourishing benefits. Fragrance oils are also a great option for adding scent to many products. They provide a level of scent consistency that can be challenging to achieve with essential oils alone and offer a kaleidoscope of scents that can not be created naturally. Fragrance oils often come with a more budget-friendly price tag compared to certain essential oils and this cost-effectiveness allows us to maintain product quality while managing production expenses. Fragrance oils also tend to have a longer shelf life than some essential oils, reducing the risk of scent degradation over time in products that are intended to last for long periods. 

Wholesale Suppliers

To begin sourcing the ingredients for our products we often turn to wholesale suppliers who serve as our trusted allies in product development. Wholesale suppliers play an integral role in our quest to procure the finest ingredients in quantities that meet the needs of our business. We must select suppliers with care to ensure that their product quality and integrity align with those of our brand. These partnerships are not just transactional, they are collaborative relationships that can last through the lifetime of our business. Quality is non-negotiable, and our chosen wholesale suppliers must adhere to the same standards that we uphold for our ingredients with a demand for consistency, purity, and reliability in every shipment. While quality is paramount, we also seek cost-effective solutions through our wholesale partners. We should find suppliers who offer competitive pricing without compromising on ingredient quality. Our journey as artisans is intrinsically tied to the sourcing of ingredients and our partnerships with wholesale suppliers. 

The Essential Oil Company offers a wide range of essential oils, fragrance oils, and other ingredients in different wholesale volumes to suit the needs of small businesses. In addition to our publicly available range, we have a distinctive catalog of scents that have been created but are not offered to the public at this time but are accessible to wholesale and private label clients. No minimum order requirements and reasonable lead time allow us to help even the smallest businesses get products to their customers exactly when they need them. CLICK HERE to explore the benefits of opening a wholesale account with the Essential Oil Company.

By consciously navigating the nuances of ingredient selection and formulation, we can create products that cater to a range of customers, from those who prioritize premium ingredients to those seeking more budget-friendly options. This approach allows us to offer a diverse product line that meets the varied needs and preferences of our target market while maintaining the quality of products that we are proud to offer. Once we have developed a product that we believe meets our standards, we are ready to bring a test batch to market. 


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