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The Beauty Business is Not for Sissies

By: Alisa Marie Beyer
Posted: April 4, 2012, from the April 2012 issue of GCI Magazine.
TBC's Beauty Product Development Life Cycle chart

In 2006, when I started The Beauty Company (TBC), like many entrepreneurs, I had a vision in my head of what my company would be like, and it was a good one—full of brilliant, effortless successes and never-ending creativity. Of course in reality, it took a lot more work. And just like building my company, it takes a lot more than just a vision to build a profitable beauty brand. It takes the initial spark of your idea, the vision to see it through, the determination to keep overcoming hurdles (which will seem to constantly spring up in your path), and a proven approach for structuring, managing and delivering the primary touch points that every brand must have in order to be successful. At TBC, we call this approach the Beauty Product Development Life Cycle: six phases that guarantee your great new beauty business idea is a genius, and not a disaster.

Built from hands-on experience and beauty industry standards, the Beauty Product Development Life Cycle is a blueprint of the critical steps necessary for launching a highly desirable, consumer-validated, must-have new beauty brand in today’s marketplace. These steps are Vision, Plan, Design, Build, Deliver and Operate. A proven method, every phase of this cycle is designed to work synergistically to ensure no detail is overlooked, no story goes untold, no claim is untested and no brand element is left undeveloped.

Vision

Even if you start with what seems to be the greatest, most innovative idea, without a vision of how to grow it, even the best ideas can die on the vine. For many new beauty entrepreneurs, the rather mundane details that must be taken care of before any creative brand work kicks off—business planning, financial strategy, budgets, competitive studies, concept creation, testing and strategy overviews—can quickly get lost in the excitement of picking a logo, choosing a color palette and designing a website.

However, in order to give your brand the solid foundation it needs to even just enter the market, it’s imperative these elements are fully explored and solidified before moving on to the more creative, exciting phases. Vetting out the competition, establishing budgets and operating plans, and (perhaps most importantly) testing your idea with consumers before you spend a dime on brand and product development will save you thousands in the long run and ensure a seamless transition into the next phases.

Plan and Design

After optimizing your vision, it’s time to move onto phases two and three: plan and design, or “the fun part.” These phases start the process of whittling your brand down to its core ownable elements—the look and image—and kick off the creative design and identity process.