Breaking into a market with your own brand is a tough gig, and it’s easy to fail. We’ve got some insider tips for you from business owner Clare Rogers.

Your branding and marketing are absolutely vital, and getting that lined up is almost as important has having a decent product in the first place. Launching your own branded products is not for the faint-hearted! Once you’re happy with the product, and the brand, you’ve then got to think about generating interest, exposure – and obviously making sales.

Clare Rogers on Title Media Treatment Range blog www.titlemedia.co.ukClare Rogers is the founder/owner of the famous Treatment Rooms salon in Brighton, a business that’s been offering exceptional beauty treatments since 1995. We sat her down and gave her a grilling…

What made you decide to have your own products?

I was fed up with our salon brands doing their own retail offers that we could never match. It’s a problem across the industry, but also continuity of stock is an issue. We get told product is out of stock or discontinued which really affects our service. How can we offer a treatment around a specific product if it’s not available sometimes?

The decision point was when my sister was having chemotherapy and was checking the labels on everything. It was actually really difficult to find a certified 100% organic product. Many have a percentage of organic ingredients, but not always certified or clear about what that is.

How did you go about deciding what to have, products-wise?

Firstly I decided I wanted it to be a certified organic product and chose The Soil Association for this. We’ve all seen the label on organic food but less so on skincare, and it’s a recognisable brand with authority. After 25 years on the high street I also knew what our best sellers are across our brands. Mainly a cleanser and cloth, exfoliators and lip balms, followed by face oils and bath oils.

Did you do any market research/focus groups/testing sessions during development?

I’ve always kept to simple design so it was really straightforward to develop the brand look. This can be costly to start but most of this was already in place.

Absolutely – we spoke to our regular clients, mostly. One of the most interesting aspects of the feedback told us that the idea of minimal, recyclable outer packaging (Soil Association standards) was very appealing. Especially when you’re buying for yourself and just throw the packaging away.

You already have an established brand (Treatment Rooms) – did that make it easier to create the look and feel for the packaging?

I’ve had the name The Treatment Range for over 10 years but never had time to do anything with it. The logo was trademarked back then and the web name secured. I’ve always kept to simple design so it was really straightforward to develop the brand look. This can be costly to start but most of this was already in place.

I like to make swift, solo decisions on this kind of thing. I think with too much input from others, a decision never gets made. I would show the team at The Treatment Rooms the progress at each stage. The main thing we all liked was you could see the product, the colour of it. Not concealed in double layer jars and a box.

Treatment Range lip balm exfoliator and cleanser on Title Media branding blog www.titlemedia.co.ukHow have you gone about launching your own branded products?

As it was mainly developed for our own treatments we’ve simply used the salon social media platforms and our own database. We’ve also had support from The Soil Association Beauty on campaigns they run, encouraging people to look for the label.

I sent some samples to press and influencers, and had a staggering response from Caroline Hirons on her IG with over 2,500 likes. And Grace Timothy said her husband loved the exfoliator! For beauty products, this kind of validation is great.

As this isn’t my main business (yet!), my focus is still very much on continuing to develop products for salon and client use, solely for The Treatment Rooms.

What has been the biggest challenge in terms of developing a new product?

It takes so long! A product needs to be stability-tested in its chosen container, and that’s once you’ve revised and revised to be happy with the formulation! If a product has labelling stating that it’s good for six months from opening, then that needs to be checked on all new formulations.

Anything you’d have done differently?

Stick to your core values. Decide why you are developing your own product and what you want to achieve.

Not really. I think the time was right to have a brand with my own environmental values and with so much more awareness for consumers.

Advice to anyone thinking of creating their own brand line (regardless of sector)?

Stick to your core values. Decide why you are developing your own product and what you want to achieve.

Plans for the future?

Expanding the range. A face oil, face mask and body oil are in progress. I’m also testing some professional wax blends without using paraffin.

We are spending over £150k a year across our suppliers. It’s commercial sense to develop our own to work alongside these brands.

Take a look at the range for yourself at the Treatment Rooms
Can we help YOU with branding? Get in touch.

About the Author: Sam Harrington-Lowe

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