Complete Guide: How To Start a Supplement Company
And everything you need to launch your business successfully.
As consumer awareness towards personal health and wellbeing continues to increase, the dietary supplement industry is, subsequently, seeing astronomical growth. As this ever-growing market continues to make a name for itself, many start-ups and established companies alike are excitingly looking to make their own supplement products, making it an overall highly competitive industry. So, if you are one of these companies wanting to dive into the supplement market, how do you get started? And, more importantly, how do you make sure your products stand out from competing companies?
In this complete how-to-guide, we will dive deep into how to start your own supplement company, how to choose the right supplement manufacturer, how to be the most successful, and much, much more! Additionally, we will cover the ins-and-outs of the supplement industry as well as give special attention to white-label and private-label manufacturing, as we believe it is the best and most sustainable way of growing your own supplement business.
P.S. – Look out for our Success Tips for tidbits that we’ve learned along the way to make your own supplement business successful!
Is it Difficult to Open My Own Dietary Supplement Company?
Opening your own dietary supplement company can be a complex and challenging process. Not only are there a number of regulations that you will need to comply with, but also you will need to ensure that your products meet the highest standards of quality.
Most companies that venture into the industry fail to achieve success, mostly because they underestimate the complexity of the industry and decide to handle all the manufacturing processes themselves. This is normally a recipe for disaster unless you have a vast experience in manufacturing services and best practices. Deciding to work hand-in-hand with a white-label or private-label supplement manufacturer can be a lifesaver if you don’t have expertise in the manufacturing process.
Is Owning a Supplement Store Profitable?
Absolutely! The supplement market was one of the only markets that saw major growth through 2020-2022. As people become more interested in taking care of their health naturally as well as taking preventative measures, the industry is experiencing continuous and accelerating growth.
According to a market analysis report conducted by Grand View Research, the market is projected to grow 9% each year through 2030. Beyond just the market growth, supplement companies generally see a 40% – 60% net profit on their products after all of their costs, including marketing. Now, that’s pretty good revenue!
Do You Need an LLC to Start a Supplement Company?
You can start a supplement company with any sort of business license whether that is a sole-proprietorship, LLC, or corporation. Check out the benefits of each here.
Can I Sell Supplements Anywhere in the USA?
Yes, you can! Supplements are allowed to be sold in every state as well as internationally. So dream as far and wide as your products can go!
How Much Does It Cost To Start A Supplement Company?
With any new business, you will want to figure out what your start-up costs are, or expenses incurred during the process of creating a new business. These start-up costs should be included in the budget you make. Different businesses will require different start-up costs; for example, online businesses have different needs than brick-and-mortar businesses. Similarly, choosing to manufacture your own supplement products over working with a manufacturer to make your products will require very different start-up costs.
Start-up Costs to Manufacture Herbal Supplements:
Choosing to become a retailer means that you won’t be responsible for manufacturing your own products. Rather, a retailer works with a manufacturer to buy products wholesale or pursue a private-label deal, and sells and markets them through various means. As a retailer, some start-up costs you may consider include:
- Inventory– As a retailer, perhaps your largest start-up cost will be the purchase of your inventory. Your inventory consists of all the products that you buy wholesale or through custom manufacturing.
- Payment Processing– Whether you are selling in person or online, you are going to need some sort of way to take payments. This is where getting a payment processor comes into play.
- POS System– If you are opening a brick-and-mortar store a POS (point of sale) system is a must. A retail POS system is how you take card payments in person and keep track of sales.
- Website & Branding– If you’re creative and tech savvy you might handle this one on your own, but most likely you’re going to hire someone to build your website and design your products, packaging and more.
*Success Tip: Check out How To Start An Online Business From Home for more insights!
- Marketing & Advertising– Advertising and promotion of your product aren’t only necessary for the early stages of your company, but are ongoing expenses to ensure continuous brand exposure. You’ll need to develop and implement a marketing plan that should factor in ongoing expenses.
If you are not manufacturing yourself, your start-up costs will most likely range between $10,000-$60,000.
Other Start-up Costs
Whether you decide to manufacture your own supplement products or work with a manufacturer, some other potential start-up costs include:
- Sales Tax License– For a business to compliantly collect sales tax on taxable transactions, you must apply for a sales tax license from the state’s Department of Revenue. Visit your state’s website to figure out if you need a sales tax license to operate.
- Rent & Utilities
- Manufacturers: If you are planning on making your supplements from home, then rent as a start-up cost does not apply to you. However, for many, obtaining a facility to manufacture products will be necessary, as it requires a decent amount of space. The cost of renting a manufacturing facility varies widely state-to-state.
- Retailers: Many retailers decide to open their own brick-and-mortar to sell products. However, with a surge of online shoppers, retailers are also turning to selling products online, therefore surpassing the need to run and operate a store. Jump here to read more about where consumers are shopping for their herbal supplements.
- Hiring & Managing Staff– Unless you plan on running operations all by yourself, you’ll need to consider how much it is going to cost you to hire and manage employees to work at your manufacturing facility and/or retail store.
6 Steps to Starting Your Own Dietary Supplement Company
Make a Business Plan
Before starting your own dietary supplement company, it is crucial to create a business plan. Your business plan is the foundation of your company and provides a roadmap for how to structure, operate and grow your business. Your plan should include an executive summary or description of your business, products and services you are planning on offering, an analysis of your competitive environment, marketing strategies, financial planning, and a budget. Click here to learn more about what your business plan should include.
Raise Capital & Create a Budget
After creating your business plan, you’ll need to figure out how much funding you need to start the operation of your business. Maybe you just inherited it, maybe you have it in savings, or maybe you need to raise it. No matter where you are at, getting the funding you need is important and a lot less challenging than people think! But you can’t figure out how much capital you need until you create a budget.
Creating a budget can seem daunting at first. How are you supposed to know how much you are going to be spending each month in a year from now? With careful planning, research, and a bit of guesstimating you can set yourself up for success!
So what is a budget? A budget is a detailed plan that outlines where you’ll spend your money monthly and annually. A budget should be simple and flexible, with each dollar assigned to an “expense” based on what you believe is the best use of your funds. For example, a budget should include your:
- Estimated revenue
- Fixed costs
- Variable costs
- One-off costs
- Cash flow
Click here to learn more about how to create a simple budget for your business.
*Success Tip: Creating a budget for 1-3 years gives you a good idea of what sort of funding you need to make sure your business has plenty to deal with unexpected costs and more!
*Success Tip: Whatever your budget says is required, obtain at least 25% more funding than that.
Raising Capital: After you’ve estimated how much your business is going to cost, you can figure out how much funding you need. There are many ways to go about raising capital, whether it’s dipping into your own personal savings, obtaining a business loan, crowdfunding, finding an angel investor, or reaching out to people you may know, such as friends or family, to loan you the money. The possibilities are really endless. Get creative and don’t give up!
Licensing & Regulations
Whether you are making products yourself or working with a manufacturer to make products for you, it’s essential to learn the ins-and-outs of the dietary supplement industry and get a good understanding of the regulatory requirements and legal aspects.
What Regulations are Required to Follow to Start a Supplement Company?
The supplement industry is regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA has established a set of guidelines for supplement manufacturers to follow, known as current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMPs). These cGMPs cover all aspects of the herbal supplement processes, from ingredient sourcing to product labeling and packaging.
In addition, all supplements must be labeled with a Supplement Facts panel that includes information about the product’s ingredients, dosage, and potential side effects. The FDA issues guidance documents containing recommendations to comply with these regulations.
If you are manufacturing yourself, you may need to attain a manufacturing license depending on where your facility is located. Visit your state’s website to figure out which licenses and permits you need to operate a manufacturing facility for dietary supplements.
Manufacture Your Supplement Products
After completing these initial steps and learning the ins-and-outs of the industry, you can now focus on getting your supplement products manufactured. As a new business, it’s a given that you will have to do some research and development (R&D) to perfect your product. And, as we’ve previously mentioned several times, you have two options on how to get your products made: 1. Open your own facility and manufacture yourself and; 2. Work with a supplement contract manufacturer, or co-manufacturer.
As mentioned in the beginning of this article, it is absolutely possible to start your own manufacturing facility, but it’s going to cost quite a bit more than working with an established private-label manufacturer. We already spoke about cost, but let’s look at a few other aspects of what manufacturing your own herbal supplements entails.
Can I Manufacture My Own Vitamins and Supplements?
Yes, you can manufacture your own vitamins and supplements. However, it is important to note that manufacturing your own vitamins can be a complex process which involves following FDA standards, understanding how to manufacture supplements properly, operating a facility and equipment, and much, much more.
How Long Does It Take to Manufacture Supplements?
It depends. For custom supplements, it can vary anywhere from 1-12 weeks. The time-frame can vary significantly based on type of extraction methods, testing, formulation, quality control, batch size and more.
What Is Needed To Start My Own Supplement Manufacturing Facility?
- A facility that meets 21.CFR.111 FDA regulations
- Local and state manufacturing licenses
- FDA registration
- Extraction, processing and shipping equipment
- Personnel familiar with dietary supplement regulations and requirements
- Labware, ingredients, solvents, sinks, worktables, and more!
Alternatively, you can go through a supplement manufacturer that is already certified and has the required resources for manufacturing and labeling your line of supplements. This allows you to completely forego the need for licensing and logistics. If creating and starting your own manufacturing facility doesn’t really seem like your cup of tea, the best advice we have for new businesses is to find a supplement co-manufacturing company that aligns with your brand’s mission and goals. This gives you the time and resources to focus on your branding and marketing.
Working With a Supplement Co-Manufacturer
What Is A Supplement Contract Manufacturer?
A supplement co-manufacturer is a company that manufactures products for other companies. You may also hear or see this type of service being called white-label or private-label manufacturing services. Working with a supplement co-manufacturer means you can focus on your brand, marketing, and website while they perform all of the production, testing, and formulating as well as make sure you are meeting regulatory requirements.
Supplement co-manufacturers usually have the ability to produce a wide range of products, and they often have more flexibility when it comes to customizing products to meet the specific needs of their clients. Additionally, supplement co-manufacturers usually have extensive experience and knowledge about manufacturing high-quality products, which can be beneficial if you are not familiar with the manufacturing process yourself.
What are the Benefits of Working with a Supplement Private-Label Manufacturer?
There is a reason why fulfillment and white-label manufacturing services have become so popular in supplement manufacturing. There are many benefits of working with a manufacturer, but some of the most important ones are:
* High-quality products: Private-label manufacturers typically have high standards for the quality of their products.
* Custom formulations: Private-label manufacturers can create custom formulations of dietary supplements to meet your specific needs.
* Knowledge & Expertise: Established manufacturers already have the knowledge and expertise to make an awesome product, saving you a lot of time and money in the long-run.
How Do I Choose a Dietary Supplement Manufacturer?
If you are diving into the herbal supplement industry and are serious about making money in it, you should consider working with a manufacturer that is seasoned in the industry. There are a few, very important things you should consider when choosing a dietary supplement manufacturer, including:
* The quality of the products: Make sure to choose a dietary supplement manufacturer that has high standards for the quality of their products.
How Can I Ensure the Quality of Dietary Supplements?
There are a few different ways you can test the quality of a dietary supplement. When researching and talking to manufacturers, you should:
- Ask where and how they source their ingredients– Ideally, you want to find a manufacturer that uses certified organic, sustainably sourced and harvested ingredients.
- Learn about their extraction methods– Not all methods are created equal! A lot of extraction methods use processes that oftentimes lead to the damage or deterioration of plant compounds, ultimately resulting in a less effective product. Click here to learn why spagyrics is the best extraction method!
- Ask if they conduct third party testing– Third party testing is used to indicate the quality, purity and potency of a given sample, and ensures customers that companies are selling what they are actually promoting.
- Check for certifications– Manufacturers that hold certain certifications, like USDA organic and GMP, have to follow fairly strict guidelines to meet quality standards.
* The manufacturing process: Make sure to choose a dietary supplement manufacturer that uses current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMPs). These are regulations enforced by the FDA that provide for systems that assure proper design, monitoring and control of manufacturing processes and facilities.
* Customer service: Make sure to choose a dietary supplement manufacturer that has responsive customer service. Great customer service can look like anything from rapid response time and easy-to-access customer support options to a willingness to be flexible and open and honest communication.
Read more about how to choose the best custom supplement manufacturer here!
5. Branding & Marketing
Making an awesome product can only take you so far. Without proper branding and marketing, you most likely won’t see the sales you wish to see. Once you’ve figured out how you want your brand to look, the message you want to get across and how you’re going to do it, the next step is to get it online to your customers.
Creating a Website For Your Supplement Business
Your website is often the first impression of your business to your customers. Which, as they say, first impressions are everything! There are a couple things to consider when creating your website including:
- Choosing a Platform: While there’s many out there, we highly recommend using Squarespace or Wordpress. They both look amazing and Google really likes them, meaning you have the ability to rank higher.
- Design: Will you be creating it? Or hiring someone else?
- Blogs & SEO: Jump to the SEO for Supplements to learn more!
Why is Branding Important for Your Supplement Business?
First, let’s talk about what branding is. Branding is the process of communicating a unique selling proposition, or differential, that sets a product or service apart from the competition. Essentially, it’s what makes your brand stand out and, as you can probably imagine, this is incredibly important to establish right off the bat.
Branding is important for two reasons:
- To ensure the message you are sending out to your consumers through your online presence and advertisements is cohesive throughout all platforms and avenues.
- To ensure what people read or see when they are presented with your brand actually represents and aligns with your mission and vision.
*Success Tip: Branding Advice:
- Choose unique outer-packaging. Learn more on How To Upgrade Your Outer Packaging to Make Your Herbal Brand Stand Out.
- If your budget allows for it, hire a professional team to get your brand designed and set up.
- Don’t try to copy other people. Create your branding from what makes you different and your passion behind your company.
Marketing Your Supplement Products
You may have heard the phrase “build it and they will come.” Well, we’re not so sure that this applies to your new company and products. Many new companies don’t put enough emphasis on marketing, thinking that their amazing product just existing will be enough. However, marketing is a crucial component to your company’s success. So, let’s take a look at the best places to market supplements:
- Utilize Social Media: Using social platforms that are very visual, like tiktok and instagram, are a great place to advertise your products. Oftentimes advertising on social media leads not only to sales, but to brand awareness which is a key component to growing your brand.
- Get Your Products in Stores: About 70% of supplements are bought in store. That said, getting your products into stores can significantly increase your sales and company growth.
*Success tip: The best way to get into stores is to use a B2B (business to business) website platform. Many of them like Faire and Abound allow you to sign up for free and connect you with retail stores all over the world! And if you’re looking to get into some bigger stores, like Whole Foods and Natural Grocers, you will use a platform called RangeMe where you can submit your products to be reviewed. If you are looking to get into some bigger chains you will need SKUs, outer packaging, the ability to produce large quantities, and certifications.
- Buy Google Ads: As you probably know from your own experience searching the internet, you don’t really go past page one of Google too often. Buying ads on Google is a great way to get your brand and products to the top of the first page to reach the most customers!
SEO For Supplements
Search engine optimizations (SEO) is a combination of different methods that all help boost your ranking on Google, with the goal to bring you to the top of the home page without even having to advertise! Great SEO is key to long term success in selling supplements online. It takes a lot longer to see results than an advertisement (think 6 months to really see substantial growth), but in the long run it helps your business sustain growth. SEO involves things like keywords, blog posts, coding into your website, backlinks and more. It’s best to hire someone to help!
6. Launch Your Product
You’ve made it! Your prep work is done, you’ve created a product (or a few), you’ve devised a plan and you know how you’re going to execute it. Now it’s time to launch your product to the world.
*Success Tip: 3 Tips to a Great Launch
- Perform a couple test runs on your website before launching. Make sure to test all the way through checkout so you can see if there are any bugs in the ordering process.
- Use suspense to build excitement. Create a buzz by launching a teaser on social media 3-4 weeks before you launch your product.
- Run a promotion. This could look like an introductory offer that runs for a limited time, giving your product an air of exclusivity and pushing people to buy it ASAP.
Some common product launch mistakes include:
- Not doing enough market research
- Not having a realistic goal
- Failing to stick with your marketing plan
Where and How to Sell Supplements:
Where is the Best Place to Sell Supplements?
Market research shows that the majority of consumers are shopping for their herbal supplements in stores–specifically at supermarkets or hypermarkets and health stores–as well as online. Click here to learn more about where consumers are shopping for herbal supplements in 2023.
Best Place to Sell Supplements Online
One way to sell your supplement products online is to create your own ecommerce platform. While creating your own website is a great way to create brand identity and personalize the shopping experience for your customers, it does take some time and resources to get your website looking professional and ready for consumers.
If you are wanting a more direct means to sell your products online–rather than make your own website or even while your website is in the works–you can sell your products on online marketplaces. Some of the most common marketplaces to sell herbal supplement products are Amazon, Etsy, and Faire. While these third-party ecommerce sites will take a fee or commission, they are a good way to provide exposure to your brand.
Manufacture Your Supplements with Vera Herbals
As one of the only manufacturers of spagyric remedies in the U.S., we can guarantee a product that will stand out from the competition. Not only does choosing the spagyric process give you an upper hand in terms of uniqueness, but it also maintains a high standard of quality by using techniques that create a biochemically preserved and mineral rich product. Not only can you expect a one-of-a-kind and first-rate product, but by working with us you can expect unwavering dedication and support to the success of your brand.
At Vera Herbals, we treat our clients as partners. That means we provide unparalleled service to not only ensure we make your dream product(s) come true, but also so that you have all the tools in your toolkit to achieve success. From the initial meeting to well after the launch of your product, we support you throughout your entire journey. Through thick and thin. So, what does this look like?
We believe in fast and easy communication, sharing industry experience and connections, and being the most fair and flexible wherever possible. We believe in working as a team to overcome various obstacles with creative solutions. And, most importantly, we believe in your success as a company, because your success is our success. Simply said, you support us and we support you. That’s just how we do business.
For more information about who we are and what we do, please contact us.
Although starting a natural supplement manufacturing brand or company can be daunting, there are ways to improve your chances of success. When done properly, you can tap into a market that is expected to grow to 220.8 billion by 2027. If you are serious about starting a business in this industry, we highly recommend considering private-label supplement services, since it is the fastest and easiest way to get your foot in the door and swing it wide open.