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5 career paths for skincare formulators who want to gain experience in the industry

by Oyeta Kokoroko

If you are a starting formulator or currently finishing your courses and wondering what the career paths after your studies are…let me share some tips and ideas to launch, or on what you can do to contribute to the beauty industry while you’re building your brand.

After graduating from Formula Botanica and gaining some industry experience the last few years, I would like to share some insider knowledge that can help you. I would like to share a few avenues that you might consider if you are not quite ready to launch, or you need more experience or time to set some money aside.

These tips will help you to:

  • grow your own personal brand
  • enhance credibility into the industry
  • build an engaged audience and lastly
  • expand your network

Let’s say you’re currently studying or you’re just finishing up training courses…but you are just not sure you’re ready to launch. In this case, the first tip is:

#1 Become a “blogger formulator”

Having worked with a lot different bloggers over the years, I have found that many  bloggers don’t have formulation knowledge or sufficient ingredients knowledge to be as influential as they could be with their recommendations. This can limit the way they review beauty products and the knowledge and information they share with their audience which may prevent them from reaching their full influence and may limit the value of some collaborations that can help a starting brand get recognized.

You can differentiate yourself by becoming what I call a “blogger formulator” and, by using your formulation knowledge, you can create your own blog and share information about beauty products as a formulator.

This will help people to understand skin care products better while informing them about the latest ingredients out there and building credibility for you and an audience that trusts you (i.e. building your influence).

If your audience is not aware of formulation knowledge by providing insights, you’re educating them and building a platform to connect with them. This gives you an edge before you launch your own brand. You can build an informed and engaged audience by blogging about the latest product launches, trendy ingredients and educating consumers. There is also opportunity to get paid by brands to write information-based articles about their products.

#2 Formulate for others (private labelling services)

If you’re not ready to launch your brand and you need more time and experience as well as financial support to start your company, consider offering private labeling services. There are a lot of start-ups that are looking for a knowledgeable cosmetic formulator to create and develop formulations and products they could brand and sell with their own label on it. This knowledge and experience can be offered to boutiques and spas.

Skincare entrepreneurs who don’t have formulation knowledge can come to you to create the products for them and this is a great way for you to gain experience in the industry and hone your formulations skills. If you like to get creative, and to experiment with a wide range of ingredients and products while developing your own style, this is a good way to go!

#3 Get hired by a cosmetics company or a boutique to gain industry experience

As a formulator you can help a boutique that sells natural cosmetics as a salesperson for a green beauty brand that resonates  with you. This helps you gain experience in a field where you are passionate and can contribute by educating customers, developing a good rapport with them and learning more about cosmetics, trends and marketing techniques.

Most retailers and boutiques see great value in hiring a formulator who has substantial knowledge about beauty products and ingredients to help their customers identify products to help them meet their skin care needs and goals.

In turn, you get the chance to work directly with the staff of the boutique and, if you are lucky, with the creator/founder as well which can really fast track gaining industry insider knowledge. Working as a salesperson will also help you understand the real-world economics of making, buying and selling cosmetics enhancing skills that complement your formulation background. And especially if you’re someone who doesn’t know how to sell, or you’re scared about selling or working one-on-one with customers that are asking questions about beauty products. This could be a good way for you to become more comfortable. 

In turn, you get the chance to work directly with the staff of the boutique and, if you are lucky, with the creator/founder as well which can really fast track gaining industry insider knowledge. Working as a salesperson will also help you understand the real-world economics of making, buying and selling cosmetics enhancing skills that complement your formulation background. And especially if you’re someone who doesn’t know how to sell, or you’re scared about selling or working one-on-one with customers that are asking questions about beauty products. This could be a good way for you to become more comfortable. 

#4 Apply for an internship with a brand

You can always consider applying for an internship with a company in the beauty industry to gain industry experience and learn how to run a skincare business. Last year at Okoko Cosmétiques, we started offering opportunities for people to work with us as interns and the chance to work with a maker or founder to help kickstart their future careers.

During your tenure as an intern, and depending on the specific needs of the company you are working for, you could work in production, marketing, social media content development, shipping and receiving or a host of other needs and roles  that come up in the day-to-day running of a brand. Consider reaching out to a brand that inspires you and ask them if they offer internship opportunities. Be willing to learn and be serious, and,  if the collaboration is successful, they may be willing to provide you with a good reference or endorse your skills and industry experience!

Lastly, becoming an intern is also a good way for you to find a mentor to support you with your brand launch.

#5 Become a Research and Development (R&D) Formulator

Basically, as an R & D formulator you can contribute to writing scientific articles, peer-reviewed articles or maintain a regular journal contribution. This is more than just a blog and has the potential to quickly help you build a rock-solid technical reputation. As an R & D formulator you can share some of your experiments, invest your time in writing in-depth articles about ingredients and help solve common formulation problems. By writing or publishing scientific articles you help to advance the state of knowledge in the industry and potentially gain opportunities for you to become a serious contributor to the green beauty industry.

Lisa of https://www.lisalise.com does an amazing job educating consumers and formulators on cosmetics. She offers custom formulations, courses and the results of her experiments with ingredients and extraction methods. Her blog is a wealth of information and such a great contribution! Lisa also founded Formulator Kitchen, an online community for cosmetics formulators. Another interesting blog you can check out is Susan of Swift Crafty Monkey Blog. In my opinion, the opportunities that could come to you (as an R & D formulator) are limitless.

Others career possibilities for skincare formulators (just some ideas to consider)

  • Production assistant
  • Lab assistant
  • Maker, Artisan
  • Sales, marketing, R & D assistant
  • Blogger, influencer, writer
  • Educator

By giving yourself time and considering these different options and avenues you will discover more about yourself, your interests and where your passions lie.

In the end, in my opinion, there are a lot of options for people who are not sure what they want to do just yet. By giving yourself time and thinking about different opportunities and career paths you can refine your vision and gain experience to help you figure out where you excel best.

The green beauty industry is evolving and there is still room for more brands and  people to actively share much-needed information….maybe you can become one of them.

If you wish to you get personalized mentoring, coaching and consulting to help you explore the possibilities after your studies, build a reputable brand or clarify your vision, go to https://www.okoko.academy or join us on Instagram or Facebook at Okoko Academy. We have some amazing insider tips to share with you.

Learn how to formulate natural skincare

I started my career in the natural skincare industry after taking their International Skincare Entrepreneur Program

If you are interested to learn skincare formulation, Formula Botanica offers several courses that teach you about cosmetic science, ingredients, product formulation, preservation and how to formulate professional, natural and organic beauty products and become a knowledgeable formulator. I took several courses in their Skincare Entrepreneur Program before launching my brand in 2016 and Formula Botanica has definitely provided me with the knowledge I needed to formulate innovative beauty products and start my career as a cosmetic formulator. You can achieve that too. But most of all, I love the community of creative and supportive skincare formulators they are building. You will receive amazing support from the whole Formula Botanica team from start to finish.

For further reading

https://www.okokocosmetiques.academy

https://www.lisalise.com/lisalise

https://www.formulabotanica.com

https://skinchakra.eu/blog

https://swiftcraftymonkey.blog

https://formulatorskitchen.com

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