How to Launch A Supplement Company in 12 Easy Steps

Welcome back to FireFortuna! If you’ve landed here, you’re probably toying with the idea of launching a new supplement.

Very good move. Back in 2015, I launched my very own hair supplement brand, It Really Works Vitamins. Here on this blog, I cover this topic in a lot of detail – purely as I had seven years of building and scaling my brand before eventually selling it. 

How To Launch a Supplement Company in 12 Easy Steps

But before you dive in and start spending your life savings on vitamins, I’ve got a little roadmap to help you navigate these waters smoothly.

For more advice on How To Launch a Supplement Company, check out:

Starting a Supplement Company? Read This First 

The Ultimate Supplement Business Launch Formula

This Is What You Need to Watch Out For When You Start a Supplement Brand

How To Launch a Million Dollar Supplement Brand

But before you dive in and start spending your life savings on vitamins, I’ve got a little roadmap to help you navigate these waters smoothly.

Let’s break down How to Launch a New Supplement in 12 Easy Steps:

1. The Recon Mission: Research and Conceptualization

Head over to your local health store, I actually discretely took pictures of my future competitors. Consider the ingredients packaging and location on the shelves of the brands within your supplement niche. In essence, you’re scouting out the terrain! What are the price points of the brands? Do you have an idea that could fill a gap? You’ll also start to build up a picture of your potential target demographic! And moreover, ways you can improve your own eventual packaging and formulation.

Creating a New Supplement in 12 easy steps

2. Getting Initial Formulation Ideas

So now you’ve been to your local Holland and Barret or Boots, and hopefully taken photos of the packaging, I’d like you to head over to your competitor’s websites. Take a look at the common ingredients – but also consider what your competitors are missing! When I first began researching ingredients, I started to notice the relatively low percentages of powerful ingredients in each supplement brand. It soon became glaringly obvious that so many other brands create pretty weak vitamins – and so came the name It Really Works Vitamins.

3. Conduct a Focus Group

After pinpointing your target audience, formulate specific questions you’d like to present to them. Let’s assume you aim to introduce a fitness supplement tailored for male gym enthusiasts.

Probe into their ‘pain points’. Questions might include, “What do you seek in a fitness supplement?” or “What challenges do you face with xyz?” 

With your clearly-defined audience and set of questions, it’s time to organize a focus group. 

It doesn’t need to be formal, a coffee shop or picnic in the park is fine. The key is fostering an environment where everyone wants to share their honest feedback on your ideas, and really, what they’d like to see in a supplement.  If you’ve drafted preliminary visuals – whether it’s packaging, ad content, or a website – introduce these to your focus group, again emphasizing the importance of genuine feedback – there are no hurt feelings here 🙂

Consider hosting multiple focus group sessions to really  build up a clear picture of what your audience need! 

Executing such hands-on research is crucial. It prevents  a huge waste of money later down the line in your marketing, formulation and literally everything else!

3. Finalising Your Formulation

Now you have a general idea of your niche, branding and competitors, I’d like you to start reaching out to potential manufacturers.  It best to be completely open, that you are at the initial stages of setting up a supplement brand and that you would like to ask for their advice on a potential formulation. Typically, most of these manufacturers won’t even bother replying to your email, but don’t be disheartened. This happened to me – it often seems that they don’t even have anyone answering their phones. But, do persist, eventually you’ll come across a manufacturer that is generous with their time, and they will be able to help guide you through the process, and you’ll end up having a great partner on this journey. When I set up It Really Works Vitamins, my manufacturer were absolutely wonderful. Here is a little tour of the facility: 

4. How To Start a Supplement Company

If you’re based in the UK, the following guidance will be especially beneficial. For our international readers, I suggest consulting your country’s respective Department for Trade and Export. It’s preferable to establish a company rather than begin as ‘self-employed’, even if you’re the sole member of the company.

Initiate your company’s registration at Companies House. Your company’s classification might fall under ‘Other: Food Preparations and Supplements’, though this is contingent on the specific nature of your product. 

To ensure a smooth start, I strongly advise securing a proficient accountant. They can provide insights on various facets of your business foundation and assist with tasks like tax management, payroll, and other future responsibilities.

5. Bringing It to Life: Manufacturing

It goes without saying, you are not allowed to create your own vitamin supplements from the comfort of your kitchen.  Through my experience with It Really Works Vitamins, I discovered a manufacturer capable of crafting my unique formulation, packaging it, storing it, and even handling pick, pack, and dispatch operations once orders come through. Identifying a similar manufacturer will undoubtedly help reduce costs and save you a considerable amount of time.

When you’ve identified a prospective vitamin manufacturer, I cannot stress enough the importance of visiting their facility in person! The amount of times I’ve seen people discussing the possibility of buying pills from China or from AliBaba – I mean really!!!

It’s a given that a vitamin manufacturer should maintain impeccable hygiene standards. During your visit, you’ll truly grasp the level of professionalism the company exhibits, helping you decide if they’re the right fit for your business.

Request to view all the manufacturer’s certifications. Ensure they’re up-to-date for the current year, and if they aren’t, inquire about the next scheduled review.

In the UK, your vitamin manufacturer will be overseen by The Food Standards Agency. If you have reservations, contact the local Food Standards Agency and gather more insights regarding the specific vitamin manufacturer you’re considering – I’ve found them really helpful

5. Shouting From the Rooftops: Marketing

Okay, now for the fun part! (or perhaps the scary part, depending on how you look at it). Going back to your formulation, your marketing should really share what makes your product so unique and how you are head and shoulders above your competitors. I recommend starting a blog, it’s quite amazing how much free traffic you can accumulate. 

I also recommend sharing a LOT of content on TikTok I cover this in another handy article on incredible businesses that are growing quickly on TikTok

Team up with health gurus on Instagram: get their feedback and start sharing their testimonials are pure gold.

Another happy customer! 🙂

6. Sales Channels

I wouldn’t advise setting up a brick-and-mortar store straight away, purely as the cost outlay can be astronomical, and there’s no guarantee there will be enough sales to make it profitable. I started my store on Shopify and found it incredible – purely because they offer 24/7 customer service via live chat and phone. If you just have a small tweak, or if you’ve hit a wall with editing your store, they are always there for you! Shopify also integrate with endless apps and you can tailor-make your store. 10/10 recommended. I also recommend continuously testing your website.

7. Keep Testing Your Sales Channels

 A few years into the vitamin company, I found that the vast majority of my customers were international. To make their life easier, I decided to add an app that would automatically convert GBP into the customer’s local currency. Wow. What a mistake to make. Pretty soon all of my international sales dried up. I discovered that the app was interfering with subscription orders

8 Make Sure You have a Recurring Subscription Element To Your Store

As you have a supplement company – your customers are going to want to keep purchasing your vitamin regularly. Make it easier for them, and offer a discount for a recurring subscription. This is where your customer’s bank card will be automatically charged once per month (or at another interval) and the item will be automatically shipped to them. 

When I first launched my brand, a huge majority of my customers opted for the subscription item, and we were off to the races – within months my supplement company was making £30,000 per month. Not bad for a brand new vitamin company!

In order to keep your customers from cancelling their subscription, keep them in the loop, with advice on how your vitamin is doing some incredible stuff for their body – for example, as I had a hair supplement, I sent out weekly emails, on how It Really Works Vitamins was keeping their hair healthy and other ways our customers could boost the effectiveness of my supplement.

9. The Never-Ending Journey: Post-Launch

The party doesn’t end with the launch. Keep reaching out to your new customers for feedback, ask about how they found you, and build momentum with those marketing channels. When I interviewed Thomas Smale, founder of billion-dollar online brokerage, FE International, he recommends, compounding your efforts with just a small number of marketing channels.

10. Navigating Challenges: Get a Mentor

Mamma told me there’d be days like these! But seriously, running a supplement company, can have its ups and downs. I really do recommend finding a small business mentor in your local community. I joined the Natwest Entrepreneur Accelerator Program They can help give you clarity and re-align your goals. 

11. Outsource as Much as You Can 

If you are a solopreneur, you may want to build everything from scratch, alone – but trust me, burnout is real, and very dangerous. There are some great freelancers on Fiverr and upwork who can do anything from marketing to SEO – please don’t burn out!

12 Sell Your Supplement Company

After a few years of toiling away, you’ll actually look back at everything you’ve created, and even though it’s been exhausting and you’ve made lots of sacrifices, you’ve actually created something out of nothing. I can’t tell you how much of an incredible feeling it is to have built your own online store, and in some small way left your mark on the world. By this time you’ll probably have thousands of customers, as well as thousands of followers across your social media (Can I just say It Really Works Vitamins has 70k on Instagram – no small feat lol!)

Once you’re ready, I really recommend selling it and starting a new project, which is exactly what I did. You’ve created something valuable, that another entrepreneur would like to take to the next level. Here’s a short story of how I sold my supplement brand on acquire.com

13. Next Steps and Reflections

As we wrap up this guide, I hope the insights and lessons I’ve shared from my journey with It Really Works Vitamins empower you to chart your own course in the supplement industry. The road to creating a brand is filled with challenges and triumphs, but with the right tools and mindset, the sky’s the limit.

Remember, every successful venture starts with a single step, fueled by passion and persistence. Your vision, combined with the blueprint provided here, will be the cornerstone of your brand’s legacy. 

As you embark on this thrilling endeavor, always keep learning, stay adaptable, and never lose sight of the impact you wish to create in the world of health and wellness.

Thank you for joining us here at FireFortuna. I’m confident that with dedication and the insights from this guide, you’ll make waves in the supplement universe. Best of luck, and until next time, keep thriving and innovating! 🌱🌟

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