Do you want to start a nail polish line? If YES, here is a 24-step guide on how to start a nail polish line business with no money and no experience.
A nail polish is a fashion accessory that is used to complete the dressing of one considered to be a fashionista. Nowadays, most people no longer wear a nail polish to complete their dressing or have their nails look well, but to make a fashion statement, as people can be seen wearing different colors or having glittering pieces in their nail polish.
The capital for starting the business isn’t huge, but necessary enough to ensure you buy the basic raw materials that will enable you produce your nail polish. Your capital is also necessary for you to able to lease a facility, package your nail polish, get the necessary license from the Food Drug Administration (FDA), and advertise your nail polish line.
You will also need to get training on how to produce nail polish and while you can watch videos online that can help you, it will be of immense benefit to you, if you can go for a formal training or internship in a reputable manufacturing company so as to get a better knowledge on how to go about yours.
The knowledge will help you in sourcing for the raw materials – colours, solvents, resins, and nitrocellulose (which makes the nail polish harden faster) – needed to produce your nail polish. Since, this is a business it would be best if you take some business and accounting courses as well to help with the numbers.
Steps to Starting a Nail Polish Line Successfully
1. Understand the Industry
Between 2010 and 2011, 66% of nail salons added gels to their polish and by 2011 and 2012; all nail salons were doing gels.
As at 2014, acrylics were down, and wraps returned, while gels continued its growth. Between 2015 and 2016, nails became a popular second career, with 92% of nail techs being on Pinterest, and 32% being on Snapchat. Nearly half of these techs were 80 to 100% booked, with only 57% charging for nail art regularly.
Interesting Statistics About the Industry
According to a research report in 2015, sales in the nail color and care category in the united states had stalled due to several factors. Young women between the ages of 18 and 24, were spending less time shopping for nail products, getting their nails done, or experimenting with new trends as compared to the previous years.
Meanwhile, despite a decline in the young women category, women between the 25 to 34 age category had a high demand for nails, but were more interested in nail polish that were beneficial, such as those with natural claims, and those that could last longer.
Also, interest in the special effect polishes such as glitter, sequins, metallic, magnetic, and even nail art seemed to be on the decline.
Nail treatments has however seen a growth despite the decline in some aspects of nail polish, with growing sales of 12% between 2012 and 2014. More women needed their nails repaired, and the return of neutral and bare nails have seen the increase in treatment products especially base and top coats.
This also goes for women who do their own nail treatments. This had led to big brands launching new products that are aimed at nail treatment.
This has become a prominent theme among nail brands that were into niches, with claims ranging from natural to reduced chemical nail polishes. This has led to a surge in users – about 67% – declaring interest with 56% declaring interest in nail care products that were deemed gentle.
2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
The obvious ones who use nail polish in a psychographic and demographic composition are basically women of different adult age groups between 15 – 24, 25 – 35, and those in the older age groups. Few men also use nail polish too especially those in the rock and roll music industry, and fashionista males. Most polishes, except those in the premium range aren’t that expensive and so it can be afforded by all those who use it.
3. Decide What Niche to Concentrate On
Regarding the niche ideas within the nail polish line business industry, it is obvious that there is little that differentiates one nail polish from the other, except maybe what is used in the polish, acrylic, gel with LED and without LED, and wrap.
However, since most polish line businesses are now using gel, there is basically little that distinguishes one nail polish from another.
Some of the areas of specialization in the nail polish line business industry include treatment nail polish, regular nail polish, vegan nail polish, less chemicals nail polish. One can see that the niches aren’t that much in this line of business, and while top brands can decide to offer all the niches above, small scale entrepreneurs cannot, and might only offer one or two niches.
The Level of Competition in the Industry
Any serious minded entrepreneur that intends to start a nail polish line business will see that it is not a difficult or expensive business except you intend to start off on a very large scale.
Getting the right equipment and genuine source of supply is not difficult; it is offering a quality product and breaking through the market to carve a share for your brand that can be regarded as difficult. Larger or brands that have long established themselves are likely to have an advantage over new nail polish line business as regards competition.
It is important to note that not all new entrants into the industry face a huge competition, especially if the new entrants are from celebrities who have a high cult following or reputable beauty and personal care companies. These two are likely to have an easy entry into the market than an unknown new entrant.
4. Know the Major Competitors in the Industry
Being a well-known brand means being known in your industry by existing and potential clients, and even from your competitors.
Every industry no matter how new, have businesses that are regarded as top leaders in the industry, which could be due to their massive publicity strategy as well as other factors. Listed below are some of the well known brands in the nail polish line businesses in the United States;
- Sally Hansen
- The Body Shop
The nail polish line business might seem like a fun business to start but if you are serious about starting this as a commercial business, there are some things that you would need to consider seriously. You would need to take a serious interest in how nail polishes are being produced even if you might not directly handle the production.
You have to determine what goes into your nail polish, and research about what users now want as regards what goes on their nails. Failure to carry out a thorough research might lead you into spending money on a business that would hot grow as you might want it to. Also you might like to decide on if you’d prefer to go into a niche or just have several niches.
Finance is important to any business, and so while you might consider starting off on a small scale, you might need to spend more on advertising so that people could be aware of your nail polish line. Another thing you would need to note while carrying out an analysis on this business is the economy.
While the economy is slowly improving, you might need to wait for a while before your business will start to grow, and to avoid being just another polish in the collection of other polishes, you would have to v=create a niche that everyone would notice, so that regardless of the economy, your business still booms.
5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
Starting your nail polish line from scratch hold a lot of benefit for you as an entrepreneur; in terms of garnering knowledge and resolving problems.
Those who start from the scratch are usually opportune to making a thorough research on industry trends before starting off, which enables them to be adept in knowing exactly what will move the market, but starting from scratch also includes doing a lot of paperwork and sometimes juggling numbers.
It also means that you would need to constantly draft strategies on how to attract customers, retain them as well as take a share of the market. Starting from the scratch gives you a lot of control for your business, and makes you responsible for the growth or failure of the business.
Buying a franchise on the other hand, allows you deal in nail polish without worrying about how the customers will come or about getting equipment to produce your nail polish, buying a franchise means buying all the existing structures in place both good or bad.
You also wouldn’t be in charge of key decisions affecting the business, and while you might be known regionally, it really isn’t your brand and if you eventually want to start out on your own, you will need to go through all the motions of starting from the scratch.
6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
Every business – new or old – faces a threat and challenge every now and then in the course of running the business. Some of the threats and challenges you are likely to face in the nail polish line business is stiff competition from those already in the marketplace.
Those in the market place already have leverage over you that are seeking to join, and so you would face the challenge of getting a piece of the market share for your business, through massive marketing and publicity.
Another challenge you might likely face is remaining proactive by following trends and bringing out what majority of customers want. Even though every business faces threats and challenges, not all survive it, so how you treat your challenges will determine if your business is likely to survive or not.
7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)
No business is taken seriously if they do not have a legal entity. A business that does not have a legal structure cannot compete seriously with other businesses that have a legal structure; neither can it bid for jobs from other companies, individuals, or government agencies.
If you intend to run a small scale business with few employees, then you could register your business as a sole proprietorship. However, if you want to start on a medium or a large scale, and intend to have partners and more employees, then you would need to register as a Limited Liability Company (LLC).
Most people that start out as sole proprietorship usually get to change their legal structure later as the business expands, so as to be able to accommodate the expanding business structure and demands that will follow it.
To avoid having to change legal structure later, if you have the budget for it, then you could start off with an LLC so as to avoid having to do too much paperwork. The LLC acts like a corporation and a partnership structure, and also saves you from double taxation.
8. Choose a Catchy Business Name from the ideas Below
9. Discuss With an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
As long as you are running a business, you will need insurance to protect you and your business. It doesn’t matter if your business is on a small or large scale, insurance helps protect your business against unforeseen circumstances that could crumble your business.
If you get sued by a client over your polish, it could lead to more suits and then you will be overwhelmed, and if you do not have insurance, you could end up paying out of your personal pockets. Before you get an insurance policy, approach a professional agent or broker, so as to get guidance on the best insurance policy that is best for you.
Some of the basic insurance policies that you would need to consider whilst starting your own nail polish line business in the United States of America include;
- Liability Insurance
- Professional Liability Policy
- General Liability
- Hazard Insurance
- Workers Compensation
10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
If you are producing what everyone else is, then you would have no need to bother about intellectual property protection.
However, if you stumble upon a mix that no one else has, then you can intellectually protect it, but as there really isn’t any polish that is that distinguishable, many entrepreneurs refrain from this. However, you can apply to protect your brand name and logo if you feel it is worthwhile to do so.
11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
If you intend to start a nail polish line business in the United States, you would not need a professional certification, but you would however need a license or validation from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Even though the FDA does not regulate the manufacture of nail polishes, its primary concern is regard labeling of nail polishes. Also, even if you watch too many videos on how to produce nail polishes or you intern, except you are a production specialist, you would need to hire one to help in manufacturing the product.
This goes to show that even though the business looks easy enough to venture into, there are still regulated aspects of production that need the handling of experts, especially since it is going to be used on humans.
12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
Some of the basic legal documents that you would need to launch your nail polish line business successfully in the United States of America;
- Business License
- Seller’s Permit ID
- Business Permit
- Certificate of Incorporation or Doing Business As (DBA)
- Material Data Safety Sheets
- Insurance Policy
- Business Plan
- Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA)
- Employment Agreement
- Operating Agreement
- Contract Document
13. Write a Business Plan
A nail polish line business is like any other business and so would require a business plan as well. If you intend to start a nail polish line business, ensure that you have carried out a thorough research from your competition as well as experts in the field, this would help you write out a plan that would be as realistic as possible.
If however, you find writing a plan too intricate, then you could approach a consultant who would help you in writing a business plan, after getting the necessary details from you.
If your budget is too tight to afford a consultant, then you might have to check the nail polish line business plan template online and download it to act as a guide in writing yours. The important components that need to be contained in your business plan are as follows;
Executive summary which defines why your business venture exists
You would also need to clarify on how you intend to move from where you are to where you intend to be, by describing your essential factors that would enable you to be successful, and the strategies you have drafted to achieve this.
Other things like your current financial position, how much start-up capital you need and what the objectives of the company are. You will also need to ensure that you show important milestones and how you intend to reach them.
Finally, your business plan should show a market analysis. Also, outline your target market, and the Unique Selling Point (USP) your company has as an edge over your competition. Analyze the strength and weaknesses of your competitors as well.
14. Prepare a Detailed Cost Analysis
According to thorough research, starting a nail polish line business depends on so many factors. If you intend to go into manufacturing as well as selling, you would need to spend higher than a company that would contract your manufacturing company for help in manufacturing their own line.
However, if you do not intend to go commercial, then there is no need for you to concern yourself with approaching another manufacturing company, as you can go into the production yourself. Therefore, the start-up capital can either be low or high depending on your intentions regarding the business.
Most of the requirements you would need to fulfill before starting your nail polish line business in the United States of America include;
- Incorporation fees $1,500
- Insurance $500
- License $2,000
- Office facility $10,000
- Utilities (Computers, Phones, Fax, Printers, and Safety Gadgets) $2,000
- Working tools and equipment $15,000
- Website Launch $500
- Packaging equipment (Bottles, Labels etc) $5,000
- Miscellaneous Expenditure (Business Cards, Adverts, Signage) $500
Going by the report from thorough research, you will need an average of $37,000 to start a small scale nail polish line business in the United States of America.
If you want intend to start a medium scale nail polish line business in the United States, you would need nothing less than $75,000. And if you want to start a large scale nail polish line business in the United States of America, then you should look towards raising well over $150,000 as capital.
15. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
No business idea can move if there isn’t money to finance it. So even if you have a fantastic idea on how you intend to market your products once they are produced, but you have no money to produce the products itself, your marketing idea would just remain an idea. Raising capital is not always an easy affair, but it is what every entrepreneur has to go through.
If you intend to look for external investors to help in financing your business, you would need to ensure that you have a business plan on ground, in fact every business needs a business plan not only as a guideline but for times like this, when you need the help of external investors to give your business the financial boosts it needs.
When an investor sees your business plan, they then know that you are taking your business very seriously. The several options that are available when you want to raise money for your nail polish line business are;
- Raising money from business partners
- Approaching venture capitalists
- Raising money from personal savings
- Asking family and friends for soft loans
- Approaching relevant fashion inclined grant organizations
16. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
The location for your nail polish line business is very important for the success and growth of your business. Your location should be one that would give your business more exposure and create awareness for your business, this means you would need to look for a place with high foot traffic.
If you site your business in a suburb, you might have bored housewives and young adults coming in to by some of your products but that might hardly move the business, especially as most would still prefer to visit the nail salons to have their nails done.
Your best bet would be partnering with nail salons and spas, but if they are also situated in the suburbs, your business would still move slowly.
If you are however located in a place that has high foot traffic like the mall, you would find it easier for your business to move as more people would come into your store.
Also the numbers of nail salons in the mall are high and you might get a number of nail salons and spas in the area to partner with, since most of such businesses are naturally drawn to high traffic areas. This does not however mean that you would need to break the bank in order to get a place that is close to high traffic.
17. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
There are only few manufacturers that are allowed to go into nail polish manufacturing because of dangerous compounds like nitrocellulose that are used in the production of the nail polish. These manufacturers then get contract from private companies that want to own their own nail polish.
It is more economical for you to approach a manufacturer as you would save cost from having to by tools. Some of the equipment that you would need to fully launch your own nail polish business;
- Transparent thick polish bottles or Fiber Containers
- Filing Cabinets
The nature of this business is such that you would need the help of others in taking your nail polish line commercial and to reach the accepted standard. This is why it is necessary for you to lease a property even if it is a small one. Working at home might not really work out for you if you intend for your polish to go commercial.
The numbers of employees that you would require to help in running your nail polish business might vary depending on how large your establishment is. If you are running on a small scale, you would need a Manager, Marketing Executive, Fashion Specialist, Production Specialist, Test Analyzer, Sales Persons, Front Desk Officer, Accountant. This is about 8 to 12 employees.
The Service Delivery Process of the Business
The process involved in the production of nail polishes depends on what you want to produce for your customers. The processes range from getting raw materials such as pigments, plasticizers, film formers, resins, solvents, colours, and other additives.
Other processes involve using the approved mineral pigments like titanium dioxide and colored iron oxides, as well as organic pigments yellow #5 and red #6.
18. Write a Marketing Plan Packed With ideas & Strategies
Marketing is the lifeblood of any business. If you intend to generate income for your nail polish business, you would have to draft out ideas and strategies that will ensure that you make money by leveraging on available networks to do so. This means that you would need to liaise with relevant businesses to ensure that your products are visible.
Depending on the scale of business you are running, you are might have to incorporate private label right service. This means that your business if it is a legal entity will be entitled to handling contracts that will pertain to design, brand, as well as nail polish for other companies who also wish to go into the nail polish line business.
Some of the strategies that you can use in marketing your nail polish line business include;
- Ensure that your business promptly bids for contract
- Ensure that your business is advertised in relevant fashion and lifestyle magazines
- Ensure that your nail polish is listed in online directories
- Attend fashion events, fairs and pageants
- Ensure that your nail polish is able to cater to different kinds of clients
- Use your official website to promote your nail polish business
- Use social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to interact with your clients.
- Make use of direct marketing
19. Work Out a Reasonable Pricing for your Services & Products
The factors that would help you in getting the right pricing for your nail polish is that which would see you buying in wholesale so as to reduce your overall cost in producing the nail polish. This will ensure that your nail polish prices are affordable when they get to the final customer.
20. Develop Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win
The nail polish line business might not require much capital for start-up but it is a business that is filled with competitors and would require you to be proactive in handling such competitors. To produce a nail polish that would have clients buying all the time, you would need to watch the trends so that you meet the needs of your customers while having an edge over your competitors at the same time.
If you are in a good business relationship with your suppliers, this will be an advantage for your business over that of your competitors as your suppliers will not only help with tips but with lowering costs for some raw materials that you might purchase so that the burden of the overall cost will be reduced for your end user customer.
Another competitive strategy is to ensure that you are also in a good relationship with your distributors as they are the ones that are in direct contact with most of your clients. This will ensure that they willingly market your nail polish to their customers.
21. Brainstorm Possible Ways to Retain Clients & Customers
The surest way to increase customer retention for your business is to have drafted strategies that would ensure that customers get satisfied with you delivering excellent services all the time. If you continually meet your customers’ requirements all the time, they would have no choice than to stick with you and your business. The number one reason people leave a business is when they aren’t being satisfied.
Another way at increasing customer retention for your nail polish line business especially your spa, and nail salons customers, is to ensure that you give out incentives on a regular basis in addition to producing a quality nail polish. They would be glad to refer your nail polish to their direct clients when they come to get their nails done.
22. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
Creating strategies that would be needed to boost your brand awareness as well creating a corporate identity for your nail polish line business is very important. This will help in boosting you business publicly to the public as well as bringing in sales for you.
Most large nail business companies usually hire brand consultants to help with strategies that would promote their nail polish business. Listed below are strategies that would enable you boost your company’s brand awareness whilst advertising your business:
- Encourage your loyal customers by giving out incentives to them when they refer your nail polish line to stores
- Advertise your business in relevant fashion and lifestyle magazine
- Ensure that you use your official website to promote your nail polish business
- Encourage word of mouth referrals for your nail polish business
- List your nail polish website business on online directories
- Attend fashion events, and fairs to create awareness for your nail polish business
- Sponsor pageantries so that your nail polish business would get noticed
- Make use of the social media platform – Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter – to promote your nail polish business.
- Ensure that your fliers and handbills are distributed in targeted areas.
- Ensure that you send samples to spas, nail salons, malls, and manicure shops so that they could ensure that their clients see your products as well.
23. Create a Suppliers/Distribution Network
This industry is one that deals a lot with suppliers as well as distributors, since you will be handling chemicals and materials needed to produce the polish such as solvents, resins, colours, plasticizers, and nitrocellulose, mineral and organic pigments.
This means that you would need to be in a good relationship with your suppliers and distributors. They are the ones that would help pass along new chemicals that would aid in your nail polish production, as well as tips towards growing your business.
They might even advice you on the quantity that you should purchase so that you could get a discount. This will help you in producing quality nail polish for your clients. Being in a good relationship with your suppliers and distributors will be of utmost benefit to your business.
24. Tips for Running a Nail Polish Line Successfully
Running a nail polish line business successfully needs you to not only be passionate about the business but also possess business acumen as well. This business acumen will help you successfully guide the nail polish business through obstacles and challenges that might be encountered during the course of the business.
When running a nail polish business you would need to be knowledgeable and updated about industry trends so as to keep up with the needs of your customers. You should also be able to produce different unique nail polishes to be able to cater to those that love their nails to be unique and noticeably different
Finally, you would need to ensure that your nail polish is in many nail salons, spas, pedicure and manicure places, so that your end user clients can be aware of your brand and on their own purchase for themselves as well.