I'm starting a new cosmetic company and I am not sure how to distribute it. I want to do more than just walk into beauty supply stores.
Wholesale? Who does distributing?
You're entering a highly competitive market. Aside from creating info sheets, images and video that show why your products are better than others, you will likely need to drum up interest online in advance. Keep in mind that store shelves are most always full, so to carry a new product they have to decrease the space allotted to another company. By generating true interest first, you can highlight that the product already sells. Also, don't forget to provide samples to bloggers, writers and other appropriate publications so they can review the products. That's a big step in kicking off a true word-of-mouth campaign.
Sell on Amazon. Avoid all the infrastructure and focus on your product and brand. Once you have scale and proven sales via Amazon, then you have something to stand on. UltimateDistribution.net could also help you with your cosmetics. They sell all the major brands.
The actual outreach and "pitching" to distributors (retail, wholesale, online, whatever) all comes back to the value proposition of the product and its value or perceived value in the marketplace.
If you're walking in cold (a product, in a jar, with a fancy label), without any history of sales, interest, features, testimonials, endorsements, results and sales (yes I included that twice)... you'll have a mostly unpleasant experience in your pitches.
While small retailers may give it a test, the entire setup of that process, sending them product and the paper trail will likely prove less fruitful than any in-store sales it generates (let alone the profits you take from that).
My recommend is get out to all of the beauty tradeshows and events. Network online and offline. With not just distributors but also influencers, bloggers and media.
That's assuming you don't have the budget for a few founds of creative blitz marketing and PR... if you can fund your own popularity, then that should be your first step.
The best way to get a product into major retailers........ is to have the retailers calling you. Which means you need to get the buzz and sales engine started on your own.
Great to really consider if this beneficial, meaning having your products in stores matches your profit + overhead requirements.
Typically you'll have to give a 50-80% discount to an aggregator to place your product in stores.
Best you really run your numbers closely. I've seen many companies become slaves to evil overlords like Whole Foods, because of the deals they sign or just becoming dependent on an aggregator who repeatedly demands deeper discounts as more product flows. This effectively causes all your profits to be split between your aggregator + manufacturing overhead, so over time principles of the company may make less + less.
Likely you'll be better off placing your products in Amazon or selling your products through dealers.
If you have a company like Amazon or any other company fulfill product for you, be sure you have some labeling device for customer capture.
So... some sign up on your Website for "101 Ways To Use Our Products For Your Optimal Beauty" or something like that.
Anytime you have another company fulfill product for you, always be sure you include a label device to build your in house list.