Interest in essential oils has been steadily increasing and the demand for these oils has never been higher. Essential oils are products created by the distillation or the mechanical processing (cold-pressing) of plants or the rinds of citrus fruits. Once the distillation process is complete, the essential oils of the plant are physically separated from the water or steam used during distillation. This produces a true essential oil, used for a variety of reasons, including aromatherapy and to improve overall health.
Getting into the Essential Oil Business
With demand so high for essential oils, those interested in creating their own products will find a variety of oils easy to extract from its plant or rind source. Producing essential oils can be a lucrative business but one which will depend on the quality of bottling and the marketing of the product. Because the essential oil business has become highly competitive, it is critical to have the right packaging to attract consumer attention.
There are 5 key considerations for choosing the right container to bottle and sell handcrafted essential oils. These considerations include:
How Will the Oil Be Applied?
There are a number of bottling options available for essential oil packaging. In addition to the appearance of the packaging, it is crucial to figure out the practical use of the essential oil to decide what kind of bottle and bottle assembly needs to be used. Essential oils can be provided in bottles with a dropper assembly used for precise measurements. Oils may also be distributed in bottles with a dabber or roll-on assembly. Spray bottles may be needed for essential oils used as a fragrance. There may also be a need for essential oils to be bottled in an easy-to-pour container. Quality of the caps used for essential oils is also very important for the protection of the product. If caps are ill-fitting, the oils will quickly evaporate.
Choosing the Bottle Color and Style
Due to a heavy saturation of essential oils in the marketplace, it is important to differentiate a product from everyone else’s line of oils. This is where the color and shape of the bottle chosen becomes important. Selling an essential oil bottle should take some careful consideration. Take a closer look at the other essential oil products already on the market to get an idea of what an ‘average’ bottle looks like before making a definite decision. Consumers can easily be influenced by an attractive color or a unique bottle shape or label design, and often make purchases based on first impressions.
Another consideration is the bottle’s color. Many essential oil producers bottle their products in colored glass bottles. The color provides a natural protection for the oils from the sun’s UV rays. While some sellers now prefer a brighter, eye-catching color for products, many still choose amber-colored glass for practical reasons. Clear bottles can be used to highlight a uniquely colored oil to attract consumer attention but may not be the practical choice.
Essential oils are usually packaged in smaller bottle sizes, such as 5ml and 10m. It will be important to consider the dispensing amount when using dropper and pipette caps. As many essential oils are used as part of a recipe, the measurement of each drop dispensed at one time will need to be calculated. This measurement will depend on the size and manufacturer style of the droppers and pipettes.
Not all bottles are created equally. It is important to do research to determine the quality of the glass or plastic being used to make the bottle. Many oil producers prefer to store their products in glass bottles. Using plastic bottles can compromise the quality of the oil and in some cases, the low-quality plastic containers may even leak the oils during storage. The concentrated oils can eat through the plastic container. Diluted oils, such as those used in recipes for lotions and creams, can safely be stored in a plastic container. Essential oils also need to be protected from sunlight, heat, air, and moisture. All of those factors must be considered when choosing the right oil bottle in order to protect the integrity of the product, especially for oils with a substantial shelf life.
Another factor concerning bottle durability is understanding how products will be shipped to customers or suppliers. Low-quality glass bottles may not be able to withstand the shipping process, breaking bottles and destroying the oils before they reach the consumer, even when the best packaging methods are used. Having high-quality, durable bottles from the start will ensure a business always provides high-quality products to the customer.
Find the right durable container for future essential oils sales before spending a lot of money buying in bulk. Once the right bottle size, shape, and color has been determined quantities can be ordered in bulk to save money. If the wrong bottles are bought in large quantities, a lot of money is wasted upfront.
Getting started in the essential oils business is time-intensive and requires an initial investment of money for supplies and production costs. There will be money lost during the trial and error period so buying in bulk right out of the gate is not recommended. Start small, producing only a few oil types and research cheap or free marketing items to help spread the word about products and gain momentum in the market. For the business to be successful, overhead costs should be controlled at all times. This means decisions should be made before a lot of money is invested in the production of the essential oils.
Decisions about the brand’s image is important and can go a long way to creating a profitable business. Choosing the right bottle, the right label format, and the right marketing concepts (business name, logo) can solidify the brand’s image early on. This will help consumers identify the brand and keep production costs low. Once all decisions have been made, tracking costs for production and marketing will be easier. Essential oil bottles and caps can be bought in bulk quantities for a much lower price than individually.
Tracking costs during production, for shipping, and for marketing will help make pricing essential oils easier. Without tracking expenses, many vendors start out operating at a loss and things can quickly go downhill from there.
Another important decision to make concerning the sale of essential oils involves the quantities in which the oils will be sold. Many oil producers prefer to only sell individual bottles but there is a lot of interest in essential oil sets. If the product line will be sold as a set, it is important to keep bottles uniform in both size, shape, and color. Mismatched sets can look unprofessional and may be a turn off for the consumer.
It is also important to have the proper inventory on hand to fulfill sales. Having an adequate inventory of bottles and caps will ensure oils can be produced and shipped in a reasonable amount of time. Customers may not return if they have to wait too long for their purchases. Buying essential oil bottles and printed labels in bulk can provide adequate inventory for on-time shipments. It is also important to consider how much oils can be produced in a certain period of time to ensure all orders can be completed and shipped in a reasonable amount of time.
More Tips for Building Your Brand
Branding is a critical part of selling any product. Consider the effort going into national brands easily recognizable thanks to television commercials, silly jingles, and attention-grabbing packaging. Even though an essential oil business may start out small, the right branding and marketing plan can immediately set one product apart from the others.
Once the essential oil bottle has been chosen, additional packaging materials need to be considered. Labels should contain the required information for essential oils including but not limited to:
- Name of plant source
- Expiration date
- Extraction process used
- Storage instructions
It is important to note essential oils are highly flammable. It is important for labels to convey this information to the consumer. Essential oils should never be stored near sources of excessive heat, fire, or flames. Proper storage of the oils is important to protect the product and to prevent accidents. Consumers should also be advised to keep oils out of the direct sunlight to prevent deterioration of the product.
In addition to the required information, designing the bottle label with a signature style will help build a brand. Some essential oil businesses may opt for a bright, showing design style while others create a more modern, clean-looking design. Ideally, the product being sold is a reflection of the person making it. Adding a bit of personality and style can immediately set products apart from the others in the marketplace. Buying bottles which come pre-printed with the labels already attached can speed up production time and lessen the amount of work needing to be done prior to shipment.
Tips for Getting Your Essential Oil Business Off the Ground
The marketing process for essential oils is a commitment. No one can expect to make a lot of sales without constant advertising. There are a lot of ways to get the word out about an essential oil business and many of them don’t require a large financial investment.
Here are some bonus tips for marketing an essential oil business:
- Start Close to Home – Friends and family are often a products biggest supporters initially. They will not only buy products from someone they know, they are more likely to do word-of-mouth advertising for the business. Give samples for the loved ones to try and show around to their friends and neighbors. This small grassroots approach to marketing can help get a business off the ground.
- Teach a Course – Essential oils are exploding in popularity but not everyone understands what they are or how to use them. Set yourself up as an oil expert online and in your area. Teach classes at the local community center or produce a series of videos for use online. Facebook, YouTube, and other social media platforms can transform you into a reliable source of both information and products.
- Participate in Community Events – If there are festivals and other events in your local area, sign up to be a vendor. Bring along your product, business cards, and literature about what your essential oils are about and how to use them. As you grow comfortable attending these events, start venturing further from home to network with a new customer base.
- Meet with Local Retailers – Small businesses in your area may be open to selling your products on consignment or who may wish to buy smaller quantities of your product on a trial run. Meet up in person with retailers operating a business where essential oils make sense. Farmers markets are also a good idea but will require someone to work at the stand during business hours.
- Online Sales – There may be a lot more competition online for essential oil sales but it is still a relatively affordable option to generate sales. Partner with a larger company who can sell your products or open your own online store.
There are many ways an essential oils business can gather attention in the marketplace. Whether the goal is to achieve larger, international sales or satisfaction through a small group of loyal customers, bottling and selling essential oils has the potential to become a successful venture.