The short of it:
• Able to offer a vast variety of products, finishes, shades
• Large formulary of ingredients at hand to work with, first-hand.
• Ability to do custom work and revisit old/discontinued shades
Being a handcrafting indie is a unique experience, in that the sky is the limit- on a daily basis.
Way back in 2003-2007, I had the opportunity to experience small scale manufacturing of some of my recipes utilizing a custom small scale manufacturer. I was being urged at that point in time to "take my business to the next level". I knew, however- that doing so would change everything, for me and for my customers.
I courted the idea, by having bullet lipsticks, lipglosses and creme cheek colors produced. I had to order 144 per color, though- so it really limited the shade range. My experience with using a custom manufacturer didn't last long, because it didn't match my vision for Aromaleigh and would have drastically altered established customer experiences with my brand, as well as their expectations. It wasn't "me", so I didn't pursue it any further and went back to handcrafting those select products in house.
This experience brings me to one of the greatest aspects of being a handcrafting indie- VARIETY. Because I'm not restrained by manufacturer's order minimums, schedules, delays, and transit times, I'm able to formulate a vast offering of colors for all sorts of products, even some shades that don't sell particularly well. I also have to mention just how much capital it takes to have even a small collection custom manufactured, when you're meeting the minimums (Typically 144 units per color, sometimes more!). This is why pre-orders have become more common in that business model, in that the pre-order is financing the manufacturing.
Thankfully, in a handcrafting business model, I don't have to utilize pre-orders. I have a vast formulary of all types of pigments and raw ingredients on hand, which I've built up over time, so I'm able to experience these colors and finishes hands-on, as I formulate new shades and products. I replenish ingredient inventory that goes out of stock periodically throughout the year. The goal for me is to maintain constancy, so that products never experience unavailability.
Having all of these beautiful and inspiring ingredients on hand also allows me to experiment a lot! When crafting a new collection, I can create numerous potential shades to draw from, and see how the colors, pigments and special effects work in real time, with no manufacturing delay.
This all also leads to the ability to also do CUSTOM work. Many times, customers in comments or in the Aromaleigh Aficionadas Beauty Discussion group will suggest a color. I'm able to then immediately go and formulate it- unrestrained. If I were manufacturing, there would be a substantial lead time for something like this.
I also do custom work in the form of bulk orders of older, discontinued product, if I have the ingredients on hand.
Being a handcrafting indie is the perfect fit for me! I've been doing it for over 25 years and I can't imagine not working within this business model, as the creativity, variety, experimentation and all of the other positive aspects which it brings to the table for both myself and customers are too great to leave behind.
Why do you love handcrafted indie beauty?