Because a large share of the personal fragrance market is dominated by individual resellers, there's a viable business opportunity in the making and selling of body oils. Launching your own product line requires little upfront cost. You only need a few different oils, containers and possibly cut flowers and leaves. The challenge is selling your body oils. You may need to do some research and footwork to identify outlets best suited for your product line.
The Market for Body Oils
The most important consideration is to select a market for your body oils, which will determine the type of body oils you make. Because sales often depend on foot traffic, you may generate higher profits by selling cheaper products at flea markets as opposed to expensive oils at high-end boutiques. Outlets to consider include:
- craft fairs
- farmers markets
- swap meets
- shopping centers
- trunk shows
- consignment shops
You can also sell body oils via mail order, catalogs and online. Note that different outlets require certain legal documents, such as a business licence, resale certificate or product liability insurance.
Tips on Launching
When starting out, certain outlets require minimal overhead. For example, approach retail outlets that would allow you to put on a trunk show. A show can run for few days at mid- to high-end boutiques or a special event. Your overhead is limited to a percentage of sales or rent, according to Save on Scents. All you need to supply is a display table and your body oils. In addition, selling your oils as an affiliate of a trusted retailer enhances your profile in the eyes of prospective customers. It is even more advantageous if the retailer places your body oils on consignment or carries your product line over the long term.
Make the Oil
There are many different types of body oils that you can make, ranging from a basic massage oil to a body oil with violet flowers and leaves. Because coconut oil quickly penetrates the skin and has germicidal properties, it's an ideal base for body oil. For example, to make coconut body oil, pour 4 teaspoons of coconut oil into a dark glass bottle. Slowly add 10 to 15 drops of essential oil, shaking the mix each time and smelling it. Once you're satisfied with the aroma, slit two vitamin E capsules and squeeze the liquid into the bottle. Plug the bottle and place it in a dry cool place for a week or two. When storing body oils, keep the containers out of direct sunlight.
Price the Product
Regardless of the outlet you choose to sell your body oils, your mark up should be at least 2.5 times the cost of production. Add up every cost, ranging from the oil to bottles and packaging, that you incur to make your body oils. Multiply the total cost by 2.5 to calculate the minimum final price of your products.
How to Label
If you sell your body oils across state lines, you must provide labels that comply with the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of 1938. This law was designed to protect consumers from unsafe or misbranded cosmetics. A label should have two panels -- principal display and information. The principal display panel must include an identity statement -- the nature and use of your body oil -- net quantity and a § 740.10 warning, which reads "Warning -- The safety of this product has not been determined." The information panel should include the name and location of your business, directions for safe use, declaration of ingredients and a listing of ingredients according to their predominance in the oil. For more information, read the "Cosmetic Labeling Guide" on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration website.
- How to Make Natural Bath and Body Oils; Dr. Miriam Kinai
- Aroma Care Make Your Own Perfume; Francine Milford
- How Flowers Heal; Marie Miczak
- Save on Scents: Start Making Huge Profits (Up to 600-700% or More!) Selling Perfume Body Oils
- Save on Scents: How to Start a Fragrance Based Business
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Cosmetic Labeling Guide
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Is It a Cosmetic, a Drug, or Both (Or Is It Soap?)
- MakingCosmetics: Labeling of Cosmetics
- The Complete Book on Coconut & Coconut Products; NIIR Board of Consultants and Engineers
Kay Tang is a journalist who has been writing since 1990. She previously covered developments in theater for the "Dramatists Guild Quarterly." Tang graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in economics and political science from Yale University and completed a Master of Professional Studies in interactive telecommunications at New York University.