White Label vs Private Label Cosmetics – Differences Explained

Written by:
Adam Warrington

Publish date:
Jul 28, 2020


Read time:

If you’re looking to create your own range of personal or pet care cosmetics, you’ll need to find a private label or white label manufacturer to help guide you through the process. But, with the two terms often used interchangeably, it can be difficult to understand which one is the best option for you. We’ve put together a simple article to help you understand the differences between the two and included some tips on how to choose the right manufacturer to work with.

What is a white label product?


A white label product is an off-the-shelf formulation which is put into your own branded packaging. It’s ideal for small businesses who are looking to sell branded products but don’t need to create their own formulations.

Let’s take a local hairdresser or dog groomer, for example. They want their own shampoo that they can sell to customers to promote their brand and extend their product offering. Using a white label manufacturer, they’d be able to pick their preferred product from a selection of ready-made shampoos. They would then choose which volume they’d like and submit some designs for how the product is labelled.

White label products can be sourced quickly and with low minimum order requirements, but aren’t suitable for ambitious startups, established brands or retailers. This is because the formulation is owned by the manufacturer, not the brand. This makes changing supplier extremely difficult, if not impossible, and can hold brands back when attempting to grow their business.

Essentially, a white label is a ‘blank label’. You can’t change what’s inside, and you don’t own it, but you can customise how the product looks and brand it as your own. If you aim to sell your products to other retailers at any point, private label is a better solution for you.

What is a private label product?


A private label cosmetic product is a unique creation that has been developed by a formulation chemist to suit your requirements. This is perfect for brands and retailers who want to take a product to market. Most products on the shelves of health and beauty retailers and supermarkets are contract manufactured by private label experts like Group55.

We’ll use a skincare brand as an example here. They want to launch a new vegan moisturiser that’s made in the UK and is totally unique to them. They know which functions they want the product to deliver, and how they’d like it to look, feel and smell, but they don’t have the facilities or expertise to develop, test and manufacture it themselves. A brand like this would be best suited to working with a private label manufacturer to take the project from an idea to a finished product.

Private label projects are more expensive and time consuming than white label, but allow brands to sell their unique products into other retailers without any risk of mimicking other products on the market. If at any point the brand wishes to move to a new manufacturer, they can do so more easily with formulations which they own.

In simple terms, a private label product belongs to your brand but is contract manufactured by a specialist on your behalf. You own it, have total control over what’s going into it and how it looks, but you leave it to the experts to make it for you.

How to choose which is best for you


Brands often believe they are looking for a white label product when in fact they’re more suited to private label. Here’s a handy list of pros and cons to help you establish which is best for your brand.

how to choose between private label and white label

How to find white label products


Here’s a simple step-by-step process for sourcing a white label product.

1. Set out your requirements
Think about which products you need, the quantities you require and your budget.

2. Consider your claims
Your manufacturer must be able to support any product claims you wish to make, such as UK made, vegan and cruelty-free.

3. Seek out suppliers who meet your requirements
Once you’ve shortlisted some manufacturers, request samples so you can compare product quality.

How to find private label products


The process for sourcing a private label manufacturer is naturally a bit more complex. Luckily, we’ve written a blog which tells you everything you know about choosing a private label cosmetic manufacturer.

If you have a private label project that you’d like to discuss with us, we’d love to hear from you. Get in touch here.

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