Anyone who sells lotion using a base? Newbie that needs advice!

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Jan 28, 2013
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I am going to start selling Organic Lotion, and I am starting out using a base and will be adding fragrance. I have been doing some research because this is all new to me, I will selling in 8oz bottles and with my cost of everything I will have about 3.50 into each bottle. I am seeing retail prices anywhere between 10 and 15 dollars a piece. I know organic is higher priced, so I'm not sure what to start out at. I also need some advice on labeling (what kind of labels, and reasonably priced), good ideas for decorating the bottle. I can't even draw a stick person so creativity is pretty much nil for me. I am really nervous and excited at the same time, any help is very much appreciated!! Thanks in advance!! :-o
My advice is to slow down.
This is coming from someone who had a "failed" home business before. I thought that I would jump in and start a business before I made the product. I was really into making gadgets for kids. Well, what I didn't know was that any time you make stuff for kids you have to have expensive product testing and adhere to government guidelines. Much much more than with personal care products. It wound up being prohibitive for me to market many of the things I made, legally. I made [make] some stuff on commission but I can't sell any of that children's stuff in retail.

I think it's really cool that you are so excited. I LOVE getting new supplies in the mail. Get them out and play with them a bit. Use them. Put it on the shelf and see how it looks/smells/feels in 2 weeks, in a month. When you have something you know you can sell, then worry about decorating and pricing. You can wind up spending a lot of money on graphic design and packaging and then you find that the day before you go to a craft fair all your lotion is separated and you can't sell any of it.
Make something and show it on here, then we can help you figure out how to price it. :smile: Find out what you have to have on your labels before you worry about what they look like.
I'm excited for you and I really want you to succeed.
Here's some great info.
Also think about trying to make some stuff from scratch. There are some low-cost items that are easy to make and sell. Which you can make organically from stuff you can get at the supermarket, such as lip gloss. These sort of things are a good addition to a product line.
I am pretty sure that once you add something to your base, if anything goes wrong, you are liable, not the manufacturer of the base. You will have to follow correct cosmetic labeling guidelines including INCI nomenclature for all ingredients. I would research the ingredients in the base carefully and send out a sample for independent testing to make sure that the preservative is effective.

I agree that slowing down might be prudent.

I also recommend this wonderful blog if you are interested in learning more about cosmetic ingredients:

Best of luck to you!
I would say it's your responsibility just because you're selling it. If you're selling something to the public, then as the distributor, you are liable for knowing what's in it and what the ingredients effects are. I agree, slow down some. It's not unusual for businesses to take several months to get off the ground. Using a lotion base will help you not have to formulate, but you still have to package, label, market, advertise, set up business, get your taxes in order, get your business entity in order, and maybe have a correctly set up room in your house to make the lotion, depending on the state you're in.

Your enthusiasm is amazing. I am very excited for you because you're excited! I've made some scrubs and bath bombs, but now interested in soap. This is going to take awhile to learn, and I'm not in any hurry to get out there and sell. I love lotions, and obviously you do too, so take your time and do it right so you can get the amazing results you want!
Thank you for your advice! I am not going to be starting to sell right away, I will be doing mini batches to try it out and see what needs to be adjusted. I've done some research on what I need to have on my labels, and I'm not done yet, but I do understand that they have to include certain things. My relative is a business owner and sells teas, spices among other things, and is going to be putting my product in her store, but first I am going to be giving out tester bottles to see how well or not so well it goes over. Eventually I will try making from scratch, right now this seems a little more convenient because of lack of time.. Like I said, this is all new to me, and kinda like a practice run to see how it goes. If its a success I will make it at home..
I have spoken with the manufacturer of this base in regards to testing, and the quality if the base, this is an natural one without chemicals. This is what she said to me

Working with all natural lotion base is harder than ones filled with chemicals. You will need to make sure that everything that touches the base is fully sterile, not just clean but sterile and that includes the jars or bottles you put the product into. Also, a pump is better if you are using the version that is fully natural - that way people cannot put their unsterile hands into the lotion and thus mold will grow no matter how clean the product was at the time we sent it. Buying the lotion without the optional cosmocil CQ preservative is risky if you intend to sell the base -- many people do buy it, but it is risky for growth of mold, etc. I always recommend the version with cosmocil CQ if it will be sold, you just don't have a way of making sure people are storing it or using it within a few months. But we sell a lot of it, others add other natural preservatives to the base, like silver -- etc. which would then extend the shelf life.

I should also mention that we will be reformulating the base shortly. We are removing the emulsifying wax in the base, and replacing it with a wax that is approved for organic products. There will be no real noticeable change in product quality, but the INCI list will change on the wax. We feel that emulsifying wax is less natural than the new formulation we will be releasing over the next few weeks. We will continue to sell the emulsifying wax version though - at least I think we will for several months, as people switch to the more natural alternative.


Barb @ organic creations

What do you all suggest I do? Can I sterilize all my bottles myself? If I need to add another preservative how much and what? I do know I will have to test it.. She said that it has a shelf life of a few months even after testing, would it be a good idea to put it on the label? I'm sorry I have so many questions! Thanks for bearing with me!
I would get the kind with the preservative already included.

If you go to the blog I recommended, there is a description of every preservative that is available to the home crafter. Some are suitable for water-based products, others for oil-based. Some are pH dependent in order to work properly. Some have to be added within a certain temperature range. Spend a couple of hours reading up and this should become much clearer.

"Greener" preservatives are available at the Herbarie, Lotion Crafter, and Ingredients to Die For and they provide information sheets for many of their products that are downloadable.

I could envision myself selling soap some day, but not lotions or any other water-based product like shampoo or conditioner. Too risky and there are so many regulations governing the sale of cosmetics that it would drive me crazy trying to comply with all of them.

Just my 2 cents.

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