This article is brought to you by the AVEENO® Skin Health Start Up Accelerator. Filled with helpful resources, this entrepreneurial hub is part of AVEENO’s commitment to creating a more diverse and inclusive industry to impact the health and beauty of all skin.

Collaboration is the key to making any business successful, but it is especially true in the world of skincare and haircare. Before we get into how to leverage partnerships for your brand, there are a couple of things to keep in mind before entering any contracts.

Authenticity is a buzz word for a reason. The most successful partnerships are the ones that are organic and true to your brand—your consumer will know if it is forced and not respond how you want them to. And speaking of your customers, ask them what they want, and ask yourself whether the partnership you are considering makes sense for your brand goals and target audience.

Now that you have the framework to build a relationship without compromising what makes your brand so great, let’s get into the types of partnerships available to you in the marketplace.

Influencers. Leveraging influencers is one of the most important skincare marketing strategies. With thousands, sometimes millions, of followers, they can easily boost your brand recognition overnight, but sometimes it’s the influencers that have a smaller, yet devoted following that are most important to your brand. If you feature products on their page, it can provide you with an entire list of engaged social media users who already have an interest in beauty product—allowing you to tap into a new, take-action audience who is already excited about what you have to offer.

Media. Press mentions are a very valuable tool for your products and your partnerships. Start by taking a look at media outlets at the local and national level that jive with your brand and messaging. Consider magazines, blogs, TV, streaming and YouTube, paying attention to those who value black-owned or women-run businesses. To establish relationships with writers and reviewers, you first have to introduce yourself. Send a press release or an email showcasing your products and offer to send a sample, or if you want to be really bold, you can send a gift package straight to their office filled with your favorite things. Always be sure to show them how your product is relevant to them—maybe your new skincare line is perfect for summer or your haircare products would be perfect to have on-hand for an upcoming event.

Once you have a rapport, you can work with your contacts to send them anything that is newsworthy, from product launches to influencer and commercial partnerships. Over time, you can extend your brand beyond editorial mentions to create sampling opportunities, event sponsorships and so much more.

Distributors. When it comes to distribution of your product, you can either work with a distributor, or sell directly to resellers and consumers. They all have their advantages and disadvantages. You’ll have the most margin with direct to consumers. Selling directly to resellers or consumers is a time-consuming process, but you have more control of how your product is displayed, and the perception the consumer has of your products. But if you go for traditional distribution, you can expand your reach quicker. You also have the slimmest margins, but you don’t need to invest as much into sales. Most distributors have sales consultants and independent sales reps. They have long-standing relationships with retailers in your desired market, sales teams to rep your brand and offer marketing support to help their accounts sell your products.

For more expert advice and business tools for entrepreneurs, visit the AVEENO® SKIN HEALTH STARTUP ACCELERATOR. Click here to learn more.

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