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How to Choose a Professional Skincare Line

How to Choose a Professional Skincare Line

This week on the blog - we are chatting all about how to select the right skincare line for your etsy business!

Earlier today, I shared one of my absolute favorite skincare lines (check it out here) and I'm excited to have Tess Zolly joining in on a guest blog sharing her top tips on how you can make sure you're choosing the best professional skincare line.

Tess is a virtual esthetician who specializes in a holistic view of the body, lifestyle, skin history and the products being used to restore balance, educate the individual, and set you up for success in your daily beauty habits.

Hopefully between the two of us, you can walk away with MUCH more confidence and knowledge on what to look for when selecting skincare lines for your spa.

Let's dive right in and give it away to Tess --  

One of the questions I’m asked most often while mentoring new estheticians is “What line should I carry in my spa?” To me, it’s the equivalent of asking a stranger to name your baby. 

Choosing a line isn’t easy— it’s a lot of pressure. Which is why it would be so much easier to just ask your friends or mentors to decide for you. But it’s also very important to arrive at the decision yourself. 

The line you choose is an extension of your business. It’s so specific to your parental needs of your spa, your baby. It’s personal. It should suit your preferences (as the parent.) There should be some strategy and meaning behind it. It can even be part of strengthening your bond. 

A product line is a problem solving tool for the esthetician. You need to be sure you could stand behind it and say “This works. I would stake my name on it, you should buy it, AND in my opinion, it’s the best on the market for your needs.”

So while no one else can tell you if you’re choosing the right line for your spa, I can guide you to understand the good markers of the perfect fit.

Branding— This goes beyond packaging (although this plays a role.) What it really comes down to is what the brand communicates or inspires, and how likely consumers are to feel loyal to it. “Good” brands take a generic product like face wash and make it the cleanser your client can’t be without. It goes beyond meeting need, and becomes a product your users identify with. Think about the keywords that come to mind about your spa, and make a list of potential brands that align with you by inspiring similar messaging.

Efficacy— Products are one of the most important tools in an esthetician’s box. When you’re working on skin conditions, you want them to work, because clients won’t be fully happy until they see the results! The great thing about working with clinical lines is most of them have published trials available, and many of them even compare the competition. If you’re looking to provide drastic skin transformations, you’ll want to work with a brand that can prove its efficacy with before and after photos. Don’t sleep on this valuable research— it can tell you a lot and give you confidence in what you offer. 

Price point— You might love the high-end clinical luxury lines, but does your client base prioritize luxury? Do you love the mid-priced line, but is your audience looking to invest, and even splurge on the best of the best? There’s a fine line between counting the money in every client’s pocket unnecessarily (making judgments based on appearances) and choosing a line that makes reasonable sense for your spa and location. 

Niche + Needs— Who are you, and what are your client needs? 

Are you a corrective skin clinic frequently working on clients with high levels of inflammation and sensitivity? Do you prioritize offering the industry’s newest technology? Are you the go-to spa for facial massage and aromatherapy? Do you fuse corrective and holistic practices? Are you across from a high school where you mostly treat acne and extractions? Are deeper chemical peels a must for rehabbing scarring or sun damage? Does your clientele complain if the packaging reads too bland? Maybe you’re a savvy, trusted esthetician and educator who could have success creating your own line. Whatever your niche, it’s important the lines you work with reflect that. 

Minimums + Payouts— For many estheticians, placing our first backbar or retail order can feel like a big financial risk (especially if the clientele is not yet established.) The retail buy-in landscape for professional brands can vary greatly, so it’s crucial to make sure you’re comfortable with what you sign up for. Some brands have no minimum order quantity. Others’ can be quite high. Some provide commission structures (which could range between 20% to 50%.) Some pro lines offer e-commerce sites for your clients to shop from online, allowing you a source for passive income.. I’ve also seen brands offer credit only for product sales, instead of commission. Get to know the pay structure, and ask yourself what makes sense for your financial comfort level. 

Philosophy + Philanthropy— Researching your brand’s founders, the mission behind the brand, and what the company supports with their dollars is valuable intel. If a founder started a brand as a consumer to treat chronic rosacea and sensitivity, this varies from a doctor that formulated a line to use in cancer research or medical clinics, or an esthetician whose name is synonymous with age management. Just like your spa, every brand has a story.

Company Tagline— If you’re not really sure what a brand is all about from your first impressions, do a deep dive on their mission statement. What does the brand seek to do in the market? What’s their slogan? “Age Later” is different from “Rebuilding Skin” or “Pure Chemistry.” You wouldn’t necessarily choose an anti-aging speciality line for your acne clinic, or the leading skin science innovator for your relaxing day spa. 

When it comes to choosing a line, the beauty is, the choice is entirely yours! It can feel like a daunting decision from the perimeter, but once you know your options, the choice will feel easy.  It comes down to research, knowing your audience, and finding the right tools for your toolbox. Time spent making many well-thought out decisions in the beginning will lead to a more successful business down the line, and inspire confidence in your choices along the way. Find the right fit for your baby now, and reap the benefits as you grow together.

Connect with Tess:







To hear more from Tess, tune into our podcast episode! 

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