As part of the new Build Your Beauty Brand Series, I’m going to be posting some useful information that I teach my coaching clients in their private and group coaching sessions. If you’re interested in building your skincare brand, email me at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Right now I’m offering a limited time promotional package of 3 retail ready skincare products (75 items) and 2 coaching calls with me (one hour) for $1250. Let’s make 2022 the best year yet! Be sure to email to get on the waiting list, OR Click Here to book your 1hr Private Consultation with me to dive into your brand via Zoom!
We also offer our manufacturing services for lashes with the complete design of lash boxes, styles, etc. for a completely custom product. For more information on our private labeling and wholesale services, see my previous posts on “Building Your Lash Brand With BK” and “Starting Your Own Beauty Brand 101”.
In some industries you hear a lot about “seasonality”, but what does that mean for your particular brand, and how can you take advantage of it? This post outlines seasonality, offers tips to help cope with the quiet times, how to prep for your busy season, and how to make the most out of both your busy season and the fact that your business (or those you deal with) experience seasonality. As you know, my focus is on skin care, hair care, and beauty brands (lashes and makeup), but this article can apply to any industry.
What is Seasonality in a business?
Seasonality refers to trends and events that happen on a predictable schedule. Busy shopping events and holidays, summer vacations. Think Black Friday sales dashes and Valentine’s Day gifts.
Seasonality clearly affects many sectors of retail sales. The main “holiday shopping period” is focused, in the West at least, around the months of October through December. Cyclical effects, on the other hand, are not bound by calendar years but instead are cycles of events or factors that occur at less predictable times. Think of cyclical recessions, unemployment, and trends that come and go and then come again, like fads in the makeup and fashion worlds. Like that one Tick Tock famous trending product that went viral, or that peel mask, lol. However, because seasonality is predictable, we’re going to focus on that and how you can make the most of it.
Why is this useful to know?
Seasonality is about predictability and should be taken into account to make buying, inventory, staffing, product launches, and advertising decisions, so it’s important to understand how it affects your particular business.
Prices can also vary depending on the type of business you’re purchasing from. Supply and demand will shift as different types of consumers place orders for various seasons. For example, crop harvest times for certain ingredients shift around the world, so understanding when supply is highest means you’re more likely to get a better price for that product or ingredient. Even if your business isn’t affected by seasonality, your suppliers may be. We have seen many changes in the pricing with raw materials and containers this year, especially this season. Sugar and glass prices have soared, and shipping from other countries is at an all-time high (if you can manage the wait times).
Unsure about seasonality in your business? Here’s how to find out if it applies to you.
You may instinctively know which are your busy and which are your quiet periods, but you may not realize that you always sell out of one specific product in April, so for that item, you may be subject to seasonality. Do you sell a ton of holiday items? Then maybe start marketing it to your customers earlier than usual. Are you always hopeful that Valentines will sell out, and it never does? Scale back on your production.
Here’s a rough guideline: Review sales data from the past 3-4 years. Covid-19 altered many sales cycles and trends, so it’s wise to go back a few years before 2020 if you have the data. During Covid-19 we sold massive amount of hand sanitizer and that definitely threw off my sales figures. It’s best to look for notable increases or decreases in sales and track them. Is there a month or period that stands out? Try to remove that natural growth over time your business might experience
How to cope with the quiet times:
The most obvious challenge with seasonal businesses is managing cash flow during the quiet times. You’ll need to create and sustain reserves of cash as much as possible in the busy seasons. Luckily most beauty brands are not as vulnerable to seasonality as other industries. I like to put “x” amount back per week into a specific account and use that for operating costs. Every brand is different, and sales are different. Find out what works best for your business.
Activities before and during quiet periods:
Marketing! Develop brand awareness, and work to create and promote content. Stay “top of mind” for either the good times to come that are associated with your seasonality, or simply how your amazing products are the perfect purchase year-round. If you sell a sea salt hair spray, create a video of how to make it work on winter hair. If you sell SPF products, then make sure people know that they need them ALL YEAR LONG. Are you solving a skincare problem? Then the problem does not just come out seasonally, does it? Maybe it’s dry winter skin. Start those marketing videos before the season is upon you. Follow up with leads for both customers and retail partners. This is a time to remind them of your services, availability, and to let them know you’re a good fit. You can also use the quiet periods to call all your previous customers and offer special bundles and offers.
Solicit referrals, reviews, and testimonials to get ‘social proof’ that feels more authentic to your customer. Take time to remind your customers of your brand and consider offering incentives for them to provide testimonials or reviews you can use in your own marketing. I would do a link on an e-blast with a bounce back coupon for a review on Google!
Spend time preparing for the busy season or finding new ways to tap into a different type of seasonality. In skin care, for example, the spring and summer are the busy season for sun-related products like sunscreen and aloe sprays, so if you find in the winter that sunny vacation products aren’t providing enough business, consider tapping into what is seasonal in the winter: think hand & body balms, foot creams, sinus items, and things people use naturally to ward of colds and flus.
Subscriptions can be an excellent tool to maintain sales numbers during the off-season.
You should consider offering products at a slight discount if they agree to purchase one a month. Our next group coaching call for my clients is strictly going to be about affordable subscriptions, and how to get those numbers up.
Optimize and streamline any processes that need a little work.
This might be upgrading equipment, or finally getting that website up and ready. Take time to polish up skills, confirm your processes make sense, and perhaps even give your storefront a facelift. We recently added our Beauty Kitchen Boutique curated items to a link on our website to showcase some of the product we carry in store as well.
Prepare for your busy season.
Work with suppliers early—several months in advance—to secure your hero products or ingredients leaving time for any unexpected delays. You’ll need time to fully stock your own shop or retail partners. This applies to raw materials and more than ever CONTAINERS.
Nurture any soft leads for sales opportunities.
This might be reaching out to a local retailer, booking a slot in a farmer’s market or craft fair, or perhaps preparing and sending samples out via giveaways. I also say pop-ups all year long are the way to go go go.
Market and sell your services when your customers need you.
This is mostly relevant to people who sell to other retailers: the retailers are buying in advance of their busy season, so start selling to them in advance of their buying time to raise awareness. I always like to post all my holiday items first of October/ end of August so that the retailers know what we can stock them with for the holiday season. This allows us to really see what people want, ramp up production, and test new items and scents.
Be sure to market your seasonal products well in advance to increase awareness and “warm up” your buyers.
Consider an event or giveaway during the launch of your product to build hype around your product launch, while leaning into what makes your brand special. Within the beauty industry, introduce trends and show lifestyle ads using your product in a certain setting or season so customers understand why they should buy it. This is back to what I say about standing up for your brand. VIDEOS, VIDEOS, VIDEOS. I never thought I would need 3 nearly full-time social media girls for my company, but here we are. If you can get 1-3 videos stockpiled per week, that’s better than zero.
Create scarcity by only selling a product at one time of the year.
We’ve all seen the “here for a limited time” that fast food restaurants and coffee shops market, encouraging the sale of the specific seasonal item (think pumpkin spice lattes and unique flavors). This is a common tactic in promotions when you hear “limited time”. It may feel a little gimmicky, but it can create genuine buzz. Valentine’s is best for this. It’s a holiday where people shop and shop quick. Think Pink!
Capitalize on holidays.
Seasonality often comes hand in hand with some sort of emotional or nostalgic factor. Winter holidays are full of nostalgia, excitement, warmth, travel, and family time. Do you have products that complement those experiences? Or perhaps you can market your normal products in a way that speaks to those emotions?
If you have the time or the staff, offering gift wrapping can be a nice touch, and makes it easy to offer your products as great gifts. You can also create a gift guide for your brand. This can be as simple as advertising “for those with dry skin” or reference geography to highlight how family and friends in northern states might need a winter skin balm, or a rejuvenating body polish.
I’ll be posting more on this Build Your Brand Series, but most of the good stuff is reserved for my clients. This could be you!
I hope that you can take a few things from this post and apply it your success.