As a skin care company preparing to launch a new product, the selection of a contract manufacturer can present one of the most daunting tasks in the product development process. All choices may look good on paper, but the results can vary widely—sometimes at great risk and expense to the unsuspecting startup.
Whereas a good contract manufacturer will help ensure the timely launch of a quality product formulated with cutting-edge ingredients, the wrong decision can result in a product line lacking consumer appeal or, worse, one that is unstable and contaminated.
To be sure your product launch runs smoothly and exceeds expectations, look for these characteristics in a skin care contract manufacturer:
FDA-Registered, cGMP-Compliant. The recent introduction of the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 will present new challenges to some skin care contract manufacturers who are not prepared to weather the changes. This critical new legislation proposes full ingredient disclosure, data sharing and, most importantly, closer FDA control over the cosmetics industry.
To be sure you’re in capable hands, look for an FDA-registered, cGMP-compliant contract manufacturer. Only these facilities are required to ascribe to federally regulated “Good Manufacturing Practices” as set forth by the FDA. The “c” before the GMP symbolizes “current,” meaning cGMP-compliant contract manufacturers stay abreast of the latest changes in manufacturing and quality processes and must pass the most current, stringent FDA audits to remain compliant.
GMP facilities are required to keep detailed logs of all raw materials and packaging components used during the manufacturing process. Under this process, manufacturers must quarantine and test incoming materials and packaging components for quality; abide by Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for consistency; and staff each procedure with two employees to attain the highest level of accuracy when weighing materials and conducting other important tasks.
In addition, GMP facilities write detailed step-by-step procedures; follow written procedures to prevent contamination; document work for compliance and traceability; and protect products against contamination by making cleanliness a daily ritual in the manufacturing plant.
Stays Current on Emerging Technologies. If your contract manufacturer is still pushing AHAs as the latest, greatest anti-aging technology, then you’re most likely experiencing a disconnect between the trends of today’s skin care market and what your R&D department is stirring up in the lab. A good contract manufacturer will maintain constant communication with suppliers and industry organizations to stay on top of the latest developments in raw materials and treatment of skin conditions.
Most importantly, the contract manufacturer must be willing to share this information with its current and prospective clients to allow brand developers the opportunity to seize the most current technology and bring it to market. Our company, for instance, shares the latest data on brighteners, wrinkle relaxers, peptides and anti-aging topicals with a wide array of clientele, ranging from spa startups and physicians to pharmaceutical corporations looking to roll out a new OTC line.
Financially Stable. A good contract manufacturer is financially stable and willing to expand based on client requirements. The manufacturer should have a growth plan in place and sustain growth by providing the latest equipment, space and training as needed.
Won’t Compete with Your Product Line. Many contract manufacturers sport a private label division in addition to their custom contract manufacturing operation. While the manufacturer may purport to keep these two divisions separate, many custom clients, unfortunately, find their concepts ending up as a private label product—even after they signed a confidentiality disclosure agreement. To be sure, look for a contract manufacturer who only formulates custom products for its clients—not its catalog—and maintains a track record for the highest level of client retention and integrity.
Provides Marketing Support. Most contract manufacturers stick to the science of product formulation and manufacturing, leaving the marketing of the product to the brand. While traditional marketing tasks, such as advertising and press releases, are indeed typically handled by the brand, a well-rounded contract manufacturer will help you develop your marketing “story” by tailoring ingredients to your individual concept. Some contract manufacturers, such as G.S. Cosmeceutical, will even help finesse your label copy, source packaging and provide other marketing tasks as a comprehensive service.
In today’s competitive skin care market, the selection of a contract manufacturer is more important than ever. Learn all of your options and take the time to develop a relationship with the chemists and support staff members who will help guide your product along its journey to success.
About the Author
Gurpreet “Gogi” Sangha is the CEO and chief scientific officer of G.S. Cosmeceutical USA, Inc., a Livermore, CA-based contract manufacturer of anti-aging skin care, body care, hair care, natural and organic-based products, and OTC cosmeceuticals. Renowned research scientist and chemist, Sangha is considered a “master formulator” with nearly 30 years’ experience in skincare. In 1998, Sangha founded G.S. Cosmeceutical USA, Inc., a FDA-registered, cGMP-compliant contract manufacturer, which provides R&D, manufacturing and warehousing services to physicians, cosmetic entrepreneurs, corporate manufacturers, beauty start-ups and leading professionals in the spa and beauty industry.
For more information about G.S. Cosmeceutical USA, Inc., please visit www.gscos.com. You may also contact Marketing Manager Andrea Sercu at 925-583-1426 or firstname.lastname@example.org.