A major trend that has developed within the gift basket industry is beauty-themed baskets. This theme provides another market and customer base that you can access as a gift basket business should you choose to include it as an offering for your service. The size and profitability of the beauty industry, which was estimated to have a revenue of over $64 Billion as of 2016 by most analysts, presents itself as a viable market for businesses to enter into.
Just as with other gift basket themes, there are certain aspects that you need to familiarize yourself with in order for your product to be appealing to customers and to generate success for your business. Following the previous chapters and themes, there is information for the necessary qualifications, the customer base, competitors, required equipment and supplies, standard operations, and the safety issues about beauty gift baskets that you will need to know should your business offer them.
There are a few qualifications needed for you to have a gift basket business that offers beauty gift baskets in addition to obtaining the proper business licensing. These qualifications are not completely necessary for the sake of your business's success, but can greatly contribute to it.
Industry Knowledge--The wide variety of beauty products and the associated uses and applications for each item can them seem complex. By having an understanding or basic knowledge of beauty products can make the creation of your gift baskets much easier. Knowing how an item is used, other products it goes with, and what--if any--tools are used to apply it can enable you to correctly and efficiently put baskets together so they appeal to clients. Your knowledge of beauty products can also help you prevent any safety issues, like those discussed later on in the article, from occurring.
Creativity-- Creativity is always a welcomed quality for any gift basket business. The more creative you are with your product and its contents, the more likely it will appeal to a potential customer. Anyone can take a bunch of items that share a few similarities and toss them into a container. Unfortunately, if making and selling gift baskets were as easy as that, then there would be no need to pay a company to do it professionally. Play with ideas combinations and themes, like "spa" or "mani/pedi", that fall in the beauty-niche that would attract clients.
Organization--The variety of beauty products, as mentioned, can be complex and overwhelming at times. In order to navigate through your inventory and the beauty industry your products are a part of, as well as ensure the quality of your baskets and service, organization skills are a must. Remaining organized can help you keep track of the beauty products in your inventory, which can break down as they age. It will also help you stay on top of your orders, finances, and supply to prevent any problems that can arise and bring harm to your business.
Awareness--Like most industries, the beauty industry is constantly in-flux with new trends and products becoming available to the public. Having an awareness of the goings-on of the beauty industry--and the gift basket industry--can allow you to remain current and give you an advantage over your competitors. As a qualification, awareness can also help you stay connected with your clients and assist you as you make changes to your product offerings. The more in touch you are with the wants of your customers and the demands of the industries that you are a member of.
Customers and Competitors
Customers--The customer base for beauty gift baskets will largely be the same as the customer base for the beauty industry, which is predominantly female. However, that does not mean that your clients will solely include women, or men who are buying a basket for the women in their lives. Industry reports show an increase in the amount of men purchasing beauty products for themselves, especially in certain categories like skincare products. The make-up (pun intended) of your client demographics will depend on what you offer and who you decide to market towards. As the business owner, it is entirely your decision if you want to market your services to women, men, or both.
Competitors--The majority of gift basket services will have competition in the form of other gift basket companies and retailers who offer gift baskets. In offering beauty gift baskets, however, you can add another opponent to your list: online subscription boxes. A growing industry, subscription box services like Ipsy and Birchbox often break the rules followed by most online retailers and can be a thorn in the side of any business that sells beauty products. Paying close attention to what your competitors are doing and what they are not doing can help you with your own offerings.
In addition to other gift basket services, retailers, and subscription beauty box services, you may also find competition in companies that specialize in beauty products. Stores like Sephora and Ulta Beauty can offer specialty products that you may have in your baskets for a far lower price and with more add-ons. They also have access to early-releases and industry trends. Again, paying attention to the moves of other businesses and those in the industry can help you plan your own business moves to give yourself an edge over your competition.
The equipment needed for a beauty gift basket is actually quite standard and there is not that much of a need for extra material:
Storage--Items like shelving to hold items before packing, boxes for small or loose products, and control over temperature are recommended for storing beauty products. Proper care of the products before they are sent to customers will add to their shelf-life and ensure a quality product when delivered.
Packaging--Most beauty products are small and can be delicate. Additional packing materials for each basket may be required to prevent damage to the products or to the rest of the packaging. Decorative packaging, like ribbons, may also be something to include to add to the presentation of the basket upon arrival and make it look more like a gift than an online order.
Tools--The tools you and your staff will need for your beauty baskets will be the same ones that you will need for any kind of gift basket assembly. Most gift basket businesses recommend tools such as glue guns, heat guns, shrink wrappers, scissors, and wire cutters to name a few. As beauty gift baskets may need additional decorations for their packaging, as discussed above, items like ribbon cutters and dispensers are also recommended. Remember, you should have at least one set of tools available for each person who is working for your business to assemble baskets. This will help production go smoothly and allow you to complete orders quickly.
The supplies you will need largely include what it is that you are planning on including in your baskets. Typical items that you may decide to feature in your baskets include make-up, soaps, hair care and shaving products, nail care, lotions, bath salts, clay masks, and more. Additional accessory items like brushes, files, travel bags, and decorative boxes can be paired with other products to fill out your baskets and provide a fuller service.
You will also need supplies for packaging--remember, beauty gift baskets may need additional decoration to their packaging for the sake of presentation. Items like ribbon, cellophane or shrink-wrap, colored or patterned paper for wrapping or filling in empty space are usually standard, however you can essentially use whatever you choose.
If your gift basket business has a physical location like a retail space, you will also need display items and retail equipment like a cash register, showcases, display shelving, and signage. The same will be said if you choose to bring your business to booths at trade shows, fairs, or conferences.
The standard operations for your beauty gift basket service will depend on how extensive you plan on having your business be. An aspect you may have to put additional focus on for beauty gift baskets is customer service. Your customers may have questions about the products included in your baskets so it may be a good idea to familiarize yourself with them. If you have staff to assist with producing the baskets and or who are interacting with customers, offer them the chance to sample or test products to give them a better idea of what it is they--and you--are working with. Remember that there are hundreds of beauty products available; even if you only are using a few select items for your baskets, developing an understanding of those items can greatly benefit you and your business.
You should also consider incorporating additional preparations and attention to detail into your business operations for your beauty gift baskets. Individual beauty products usually have different variations like color, scent, and strength. As a result, you will need to coordinate the products into their appropriate pairings. Waiting until an order is placed to put together coordinating products can lead to problems related to completing the order on time, like errors that need to be corrected or having an unbalanced amount of the necessary products. When you receive an order of products from your supplier, prepare by matching items that you would normally have together in a basket before putting them in storage.
Recalls--A major safety issue, beauty products can be recalled by the manufacturer or the FDA just like food can. Items can be recalled by the manufacturer, your supplier, or the FDA itself due to safety issues and regulation violations. When a recall is issued, it is your responsibility as a seller to check any affected products and to follow up with your clients who may have purchase the products. You may be notified of a recall of a product you offer by your supplier or the manufacturer, but you should not depend on them. Follow news releases about recalls and look to the website for the product's brand, manufacturer, or supplier, as well as the FDA's website. When a recall is issued, check you inventory for the affected product and contact any customers who have purchased a basket containing the product.
Licensing--It is quite possible that certain brands will have additional fees and licensing that you may have to obtain in order to sell or advertise their products. Unauthorized sales or advertising of a product for your own profit can result in legal action being placed against you. When choosing items for your inventory, it is best to research the products beforehand. Speak with your supplier or contact the manufacturer about what is needed for you to include a product in your gift baskets and make sure that you meet any and all requirements.
Expired Products--Beauty items like make-up, perfume and cologne, hair care products, and nail polish all have an expiration date, even though they are not necessarily marked as such. There's a different time frame for each type of product during which it is useable after the item is first opened. However, some products can reach this point without being opened if left alone or if stored poorly. Once a product reaches their expiration point, they can be either unsafe to use or impossible to be used as intended. While the FDA does have regulations for beauty products like cosmetics, they do not require manufacturers to include an expiration date on products. Thus, you cannot rely on a product's labeling to determine if it is safe to use. Take note of when an item is added to your inventory and keep track of how long it remains in storage before being shipped to a customer. If you're unsure if a product has reached its expiration point, you can look for signs of breaking down like cracking or changes in consistency--which can be heard when shaking some products like lotion which becomes watery when expired.
Allergies--Allergens can be present in beauty products and can affect customers. The types of common allergens for beauty products are similar as those for food, but you should not assume that customers cannot be allergic to any of the ingredients present in a product. As part of the description for a gift basket, include any allergens present in the products. You should also ask your customers to please disclose any allergens that the basket's recipient may have for the sake of their safety. Another option would be to plan for any alternative products that you can include in place of an item containing an allergen.
Labeling--When compiling products for beauty gift baskets, you may choose to include items that have certain classifications, like organic or hypoallergenic. You may decide to have an entire basket with contents that fit the same classification, and thus should be labeled as such. Some of your customers may choose a basket based on a label, occasionally due to the needs or health of the recipient. Thus, mislabeling items or failing to identify any items that do not fit into the categorization of the rest of the products in the basket may cause problems. It is entirely possible that beauty products may be mislabeled, as the FDA's authority over beauty products is mainly centered on additives like dyes or other color additives. Be sure to clearly label these items in addition to labeling allergens for the safety and satisfaction of your customers.