At Genie Supply, we often get emails that look something like this:
"I want to make a liquid lipstick in the lowest number of units possible--maybe 50 or 100. From there, we'll work up. Can you help me? I found a lot of factories, But they all said 5000 units or more, so I really don’t know how to launch this new product line for my company."
It seems like a tough--maybe impossible--question. How can you find a company willing to make 50 or 100 units for you?
Have you thought about the other side?
On the flip side, how can any factory afford to make such a small batch for you?
It seems like tough question to answer; maybe there's no answer at all. So I interviewed my co-founder Megan (the founder of Amalie), who often goes on record talking about how she famously started her line with a 500 unit MOQ for WINK. Below I've outlined the Q&A with Megan, and transcribed for you to read:
Q: What will people will do when they can’t find a factory to help them? What are they feeling when they reach out to us? What do they expect?
Megan: Before I started Genie Supply, I had the same issues. I would look for a factory and ask the MOQ; every time it was 5,000 or 10,000 units. Finally, around the time I started Genie Supply, I realized that all new products are based on factory relationships and willingness to work around the packaging and materials. If you need something done EXACTLY this way, then you will need to buy more. If you can be flexible and open-minded, eventually you can find a way.
Q: Is that how you got started with WINK?
Megan: Yes! I finally found an agency that had click bottles in stock and needed to off-load them. Luckily they were able to screenprint them for me, too. About the formulation, though, that was all up to me.
When someone comes asking about 50 or 100 units, we can help them find a solution for the packaging, but making that low of an amount of any formulation--especially if it involves color--is kind of bonkers. That's a DIY project. Again, we can help with packaging, but formula? Not really.
Q: When most people hear "agency" they get scared. Why is that?
Megan: Because, in the cosmetic industry there are TONS of agencies. One for regulation, one for packaging, one for formulation, one for formulation compliance.. the list goes on and on. At the end of the day, when you've paid their hourly rates and consulting fees, you're out of money with nothing to show for it. I'm not saying that these consultants aren't skilled, but a beginner doesn't know WHAT they're paying for, and unless they have deep pockets, they'll likely regret it.
Q: So--for our readers--what makes Genie Supply different?
Megan: At Genie Supply, I know what it's like to be a newbie. I was in your shoes 4 years ago. I'm not trying to make a quick buck off of every person that contacts us. It's about meaningful relationships and mutual growth. I'm interested in working with entrepreneurs I believe in and helping them launch and scale products. It doesn't have to be expensive to launch products, but again, everyone involved in low MOQ projects has to be open-minded and needs to pay attention to detail.
Q: What if someone has never manufactured anything before? What if they don't know about materials, lead times..
Megan: Well, that's where we come in. Our consulting fees are built right into the price. We're there with you every step of the way, not just for the "steps" you pay for. We're in it with you. We'll guide you through the materials, processes, what can and cannot be done, lead times, quality control.. everything!
Q: So you CAN make 1000 units of something?
Megan: YES, definitely! The per unit price will be much higher than say 10,000 or 50,000 units, but we can find a way to make it happen. What I encounter the most is entrepreneurs who lack the will or determination to make it happen. You also need some type of level of know-how; I'm not here to design your packaging for you, just to help smooth out the edges of the process, lower the risk involved, and guide you along the way. If you need more, that's something that needs to be discussed.
Q: How often do people ask you for 50 or 100 units of something?
Megan: A LOT. You wouldn't believe it. If you really want 50 or 100 of something, go to Aliexpress! Go to Amazon! You can't find screenprinting at that low of an MOQ, because you have to make and test a screen with your custom design first. How do people think these items are made? Magically? It kind of blows my mind.
Q: What CAN be done at 50 or 100 units?
Megan: Not much. Sometimes we can offload a factory's excess stock for them, but that's usually in 1000 or 2000 units at a time, not 50 or 100. Stickers and boxes can be made in 250 unit MOQs, and that's pretty darn low. You just need to think: this is the bar I have to jump to get to the next step. Even if you only need 50 units of boxes for now, if they're $0.50/each, and you buy 250.. really.. that's $125. Yes, maybe you only need 50, but just hold onto the rest. Ask yourself, is it worth $125 to appear THAT much more professional to my clientele? More often than not, the answer is yes.
We do have some options where we will screen-print existing lipgloss tubes at 100 units, but again, the price is a little steep. It just makes much more sense at 250 or 500 units.
Q: So what I'm hearing is that it's surprisingly easy to start a cosmetics company.
Megan: Yes, I would say so. Selling is something different altogether, but if you have the spirit to sell, we're a perfect match for you.
As you just read, we are consulting company that works with entrepreneurs to create their beauty lines. We work very closely with the clients we take on--whether they be big or small--to create custom beauty solutions and solve problems together. If you're interested in our services, please fill out a detailed form on the Contact Us page.