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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just started my most recent class for my degree, Entrepreneurship, today. For our class project, we have to create a pretend business, complete with a plan to sell to the class. I've spent the evening brainstorming, and mine is called Gaia. Gaia will be a retail beauty products and cosmetics store, the main competition will be Lush, Body Shop, and Bath & Body Works. Gaia's distinct selling point will be that our products include zero animal ingredients and contain zero animal testing.<br><br>
If Gaia really did exist, what kind of things would you as a consumer want to see? Thank you so much for your help. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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A scent-free line. And stylish gift baskets.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Sensitive skin would definitely be a priority for us. I myself can't use scented products as my skin breaks out. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/sad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":(">
 

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organic everything!!<br>
no long, impossible to pronounce ingredients lists.<br>
BIODEGRADABLE PACKAGING<br>
fair trade!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>sequoia</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2887939"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
organic everything!!<br>
no long, impossible to pronounce ingredients lists.<br>
BIODEGRADABLE PACKAGING<br>
fair trade!</div>
</div>
<br>
One thing I was thinking regarding the supply chain is that we would grow a lot of our own ingredients, and if we do ever have to source anything, then fair trade, absolutely. As we expand then we would set up a new greenhouse/factory within a close radius of any new stores, therefore both minimizing our carbon footprint and providing maximum jobs to the new area. And also we would use renewable sources of energy as much as we can to power our offices and factories, and stores assuming they're not in a shopping mall and therefore off-grid. And we would also have a website available, and give people incentives to shop online. Already, my M.O. for ingredients is try to keep is short and simple, and to not use preservatives. I'm loving the idea of biodegradable packaging for everything as well, thank you! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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I would want a vegan comestics company that produces high-quality GOOD make up to compete in quality with designer brands. The thing I find most fustrating about vegan make up is it's hard to find really good quality stuff that advertises as vegan -instead I end up spending a lot of time emailing companies and pooring over ingrediant lists to find accidentially vegan products. The body shop invariably produces sub-quality make up, and trust me I've tried just about all of it in the hope of finding something easily identifiable as vegan and not tested on animals, and it just gives me skin-problems or is no good. I've not used the other brands you mention.<br><br>
The problem is - that for other products (like shampoo, conditioner, bubble bath, etc) I would want the opposite - there's a lot of expensive vegan products in the market, I would prefer something good but cheap and simple.<br><br>
A lot of the things you mention are quite niche, but I think really I would like to see vegan products that compete with non-vegan products ie: something that could be sold in a department/drug store and is appealing to a market bigger than just vegans (ie: all young women or whatever), and therefore can be sold nation-wide and is easily available.<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hmmm, because one thing I have considered concerning my company is that I would like for it to be as independent of others in the supply chain as possible, as I'd be scared of them trying to dictate any aspects of my mission. Supply chain refers to those who either make your raw materials and/or finished goods inventory, or those who sell your finished goods. However, one way that I would not want to be like my competitors is charging marked-up prices. What I want to do is encourage everyone to switch to my product, and therefore I would undercut competitors such as Lush, and probably charge similar prices to say L'Oreal. Who I despise as I've heard they're vicious about the animal testing, but they're a popular brand which most people can afford, hence the analogy.<br><br>
Maybe something like "Tested on humans. Not on animals." could be our slogan? And quality would be top priority, the last thing the market needs is another vegan brand which is perceived as inferior. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"><br><br>
Thanks again, by the way, this is really helping me with deciding on the key points I need to highlight within a 10 minute PowerPoint presentation.
 

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Since this is going to be a marketing project, expect the instructor to grill you on profitability. You want to offer extremely high quality, animal-friendly cosmetics at a lower price than the competition. How do you expect to be profitable? Don't you think that other cosmetic companies would do exactly what you want to do? How can your plan work better than other company's plans? I'm not trying to be an antagonist. I'm just thinking of what I would say if I were the instructor.
 

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If not biodegradable packaging, at least recyclable (and labeled properly for recycling), or a refill program like some companies have.<br><br>
Also, having small, sample-type sizes is helpful so you don't have to spend ten bucks on some shampoo that you don't know if you'll like. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/grin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":D"><br><br>
A small kids' line with appropriately goofy/colored labels and packaging..things that would appeal to them. I buy good stuff for my nanny kids but the packages are boring (the same as the adults) and they're easily swayed by the pink bottled, frou-frou shampoos full of nasties. I explain that we're buying this shampoo (they usually have a choice between two or three) because the other ones have some things in them that are not good for children. They get it, even at three, but I can see their little hearts lusting after the bottle shaped like a fish or the one with the princess on it, etc.<br><br>
Stuff "for men", especially shave cream or gel, but also maybe some sort of perfume/scents and hair goop.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank you so much for your input so far guys. Between that and talking to my omni professor and classmates today, this thing is taking shape nicely! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"><br><br>
First off, our name, Elixir. Elixir is a better fit than Gaia, as many of the men who I talked to would want men's soaps and lotions, or for ones with partners then ones both partners can use. Parents I talked to loved the idea of all natural ingredients, as well as my new rule of thumb that I decided on which is keep the ingredient lists down to 10 items or less, so they said to definitely emphasize the kids' line. People I talked to loved the idea of the refill scheme. And my professor made a very good point that for this to work, I would want to make my target market people 35-and-under, and also suggested focusing my market efforts on universities and especially fraternities and sororities. That said, my biggest obstacle is going to be startup costs.<br><br>
So, things that Elixir would feature are mens', womens', and kids' versions of face care, lip balm, soap, lotion, and perfumes/body sprays. It would be limited to these untill we have recouped our start-up costs, then we would expand into shampoos, candles, shave cream, makeup, aromatherapy, etc. We would start as an internet order business, selling products as we develop them, the first of which would be our lip balms. I decided on lip balms as a good first item because of the fact that vegans are a great niche market who are sorely lacking on good and affordable lip balm that doesn't contain beeswax. For all of our ingredients, if it is possible for us to grow them ourselves, we will, therefore our research/production facility will also feature a greenhouse, which will also reduce our carbon footprint as it means less fossil fuels are burned to transfer our inventory. As soon as we have developed all of the products which I have mentioned in the first line of our paragraph, then we will look at opening our first retail store in New York City.<br><br>
Because of this consideration, I need to find out if there is a town within a 4 hour drive of NYC with a nearby college (filled with possible interns who can help us formulate our products as well as valuable marketing research and promotion opportunity), as well as affordable land and heavy use of renewable energy sources, and use that town as the location for our lab/factory/greenhouse/warehouse. Our startup costs are this facility, a team of 2 chemists supplemented by interns to formulate our products, insurance, testing, marketing, raw materials, and legal expenses. I am finishing my accounting degree, so I can do my own accounting services. To finance, I'm thinking of applying for a loan and considering a bond issue if the loan isn't sufficient enough to cover our costs. Basically, with bonds, I can easily do a 1,000 bond issue at $1,000 a piece.<br><br>
As far as other suggestions go, ideas for fragrances as well as ingredients to research would be awesome! Thank you again, again this project is coming along nicely thanks to everyone's help! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/grin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":D">
 

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Wow, sounds very cool. Agreed that Elixir is a catchier name than Gaia (and probably more gender neutral).<br><br>
Maybe one of the SUNY campuses could offer you what you're looking for. RabidChild lives in Albany, you might contact her to see what she thinks about Elixir's potential in her neck of the woods.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>IamJen</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2888210"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Wow, sounds very cool. Agreed that Elixir is a catchier name than Gaia (and probably more gender neutral).<br><br>
Maybe one of the SUNY campuses could offer you what you're looking for. RabidChild lives in Albany, you might contact her to see what she thinks about Elixir's potential in her neck of the woods.</div>
</div>
<br>
Ooooo, I just Google Mapped Albany and it's location is perfect for the expansion plans which I would want to do in the long-term future. As the one in New York does well, I would plan on opening other stores in places in the area like Boston, Montreal, Toronto, and other small towns within a short radius of those places such as Niagara Falls and Ithaca, after which I'd set up production facilities in places like Europe, the west coast of North America, and the east coast of Australia, and set up stores in areas surrounding those facilities, as well as to use those facilities to fill internet orders.<br><br>
Thank you!! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/grin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":D">
 

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I would consider naming the men's product lines with names that appeal to men, and naming the womens lines with names that appeal to women.... rather than trying to come up with a company name that needs to appeal to everyone.<br><br>
Look at Proctor and Gamble. The name of the company doesn't matter as much as the brand identities of their products. They brand products with names like Fusion, Mach 3, Old Spice, Braun to men, and CoverGirl, Herbal Essences, Clairol, Pert, and Secret to women. They are a market leader and customers don't care they are buying personal care products from a company with a name like a law firm.<br><br>
Plus, if you find out down the road that something isn't working, it is easier changing the packaging and name of a product than it is to change the name of a company.
 

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Okay, you've asked for fragrances/scents. Hmm, let's see. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"><br><br>
Floral scents I particularly like are jasmine and lilac. Chamomile and orchid are also nice. Rose... Oooh, honeysuckle! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"> Mint and eucalyptus. For fruity scents: coconut, apple, banana, citrus. Something with almonds, with avocado... Vanilla and chocolate.<br><br>
I like combinations. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"> Like I have apple and ginger shampoo which is pretty nice. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Actually, on that note, how feasible do you think it would be to customize scents and flavors for internet orders?
 

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That sure sounds like it would be cost-prohibitive, but obviously I don't really know.<br><br>
The scents discussion made me think of something else. Some companies seem to have the majority of their products with some common ingredients. If you're allergic/intolerant (or just dislike) a particular scent, this can be a downer. This happens to me with lavender particularly. It's a migraine trigger, and though I don't worry about them too much anymore, I still have an aversion to the scent.
 

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Aren't there natural product expos that showcase new products? and advertising in VegNews, Vegetarian Times and of course on websites.<br><br>
I like moisturizing, but not greasy.<br>
Great concept for a company, awesome project! I just started my first class for my MBA this week, and I work full time and have a family too, so I know how time intensive school is! Best of luck to you!
 

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Make the company owned by the workers... and give every worker one vote in all management decisions. Also make pay equitable... the CEO or manager shouldn't be able to make more than 3 times the lowest paid worker.
 
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