How to Start a Supplement Business in 8 Steps

Man holding a handful of supplements with vitamin bottles in the background.

Starting a supplement company can be challenging as you navigate finding a manufacturer, partnering with a co-packer, and designing your product labels following current regulations. We’re here to help you start the journey!

While there are many guides out there detailing the general (and financial) aspects of starting a business, we’ll be looking at the finer points of creating a supplement company. Use the steps below as a guide to help you establish your new supplement brand and pave your way toward success.

1. Choose Your Target Audience

Identifying and choosing your market is a great place to begin when looking to start a new business. You need to be sure that you’ll have customers that want to buy your product; otherwise, your supplements will sit on shelves or in warehouses collecting dust. 

Consumers have arguably never been more health-conscious than they are right now, and the demand for health and fitness supplements is only growing. That being said, simply targeting “health-conscious people,” or even “health-conscious men” is too broad an audience. The more specific choice you make here, the better, as it allows you to focus your marketing efforts on a smaller group of people who are more likely to buy your product. By getting granular with your target audience, you can spend time identifying their pain points, their needs, and even who they’re currently buying from, thus making your marketing efforts all the more compelling.

2. Evaluate the Competition

Once you’ve identified your target audience, you’ll need to check out the competition to determine what products are already offered in your chosen market. Knowing your competition will clue you in on ways you can stand out, fill in the gaps where others have fallen short, and the general price point of what your supplement product should be. 

3. Develop Your Product

A collection of various vitamins and supplements on a marble countertop.

After deciding on your market and identifying what already exists in that space, it’s time to start developing your product. Formulating your new product can be an exciting step in the process, whether you’re developing the formula yourself or partnering with a private label supplement manufacturer. By pairing the needs of your intended customers with your company’s values, you can create a truly unique and impactful product.

If starting out on your own without the help of a manufacturer, it might be best to focus on one to two products at the beginning. A narrow focus will allow you the ability to hone in on crafting the perfect product, and a higher quality product generally performs better than others developed with little care or effort. Starting small doesn’t mean you’ll always be small; taking the time to build a strong foundation means your brand has both scalability and sustainability.

4. Determine Your Production Model

If you partner with a supplement manufacturer, you won’t be responsible for the actual production of your product, giving you time to focus on other aspects of running your own business. However, if you choose to make your own supplements, you have more control over the process and a stronger connection to your product. You may eventually consider partnering with a co-packer, especially if your business grows to such a scale that you can no longer produce the supplement on your own.

5. Establish Your Brand

Brand creation is often the most creative and challenging aspect of starting a new business. Your company branding should be influenced by your product as well as your chosen audience. For example, if you are developing an all-natural supplement for homeopathic-focused consumers or are committing to be an environmentally responsible company, then you might consider choosing eco-friendly packaging to match your values.

While branding, be sure to research the requirements for supplement packaging. We’ve already done a good bit of research to give you a great jumping-off point.

Label Requirements

At face value, a label’s purpose is to communicate to the consumer 1) what the product is, 2) who made the product, and 3) how much of the product is included in the packaging. Simple, right? 

You’ll need to follow specific guidelines mandated by the country in which you intend to sell your product. In the United States, the FDA regulates all supplement manufacturing, so you’ll need to follow their guidelines when designing your label. Reputable manufacturers run a very tight ship when it comes to meeting FDA requirements and should be a great partner when gathering information for your labels. 

Learn More: How to Design an FDA Approved Supplement Label

Packaging and Label Design

Simply meeting the proper requirements is great, but what truly makes a product stand out is an eye-catching design. Companies rely on design to tell their customers who they are as a brand. Your product’s outer packaging and label are your chance to directly interact with your customers after purchase. A plain label that meets the mandatory requirements is certainly legal but will not do you any favors when it comes to attracting new customers and connecting with existing ones. We recommend partnering with an experienced graphic designer specializing in supplement label design for packaging that’s both legal and high-quality.

Label Printing

Once you’ve got your designs finalized, you’ll want to partner with a label printer that produces high-quality supplement labels. Finding a printer with little to no setup or artwork changeover fees is significant for supplement businesses keeping up with frequently changing FDA regulations. Fast turnarounds are also invaluable in a printer; being able to quickly get labels in hand for new products provides you with a competitive advantage when distributing new products into the market.

Press operator printing a supplement label.

6. Decide on a Marketing Strategy

Now that your product is created, it’s time to get the word out! Remember your target audience? Think about the most practical way to reach them. For example, if your ideal customer is an active person in their twenties, social media is probably the best way to connect with them.

You can market your product by creating compelling content on your website and optimizing it for search engines, pay for ads to appear on other websites, generate relevant social media posts, participating in events, and even visiting gyms and gifting your product for them to try.

7. Pick a Sales Platform

Online shopping on Amazon

Finally, decide where your customers will purchase your product. If you’ve been working with a private label manufacturer, they’ll likely be able to take on the distribution of your new supplement brand, making e-commerce sales the most convenient choice. Since e-commerce sales are on the upward trend, selling your supplements on Amazon, or exclusively on your website may be the most lucrative option for you, whether you’re partnering with a manufacturer or making the supplements yourself.

You also have the option of going retail or even selling your products through your own brick-and-mortar store. Either option comes with added challenges of managing inventory, paying for overhead, decreased profit margins, and in some cases, being positioned directly next to the competition. At the same time, you can also gain increased visibility and connect with new and existing customers more easily.

8. Get Started

Starting your own supplement business can be challenging, but it is an achievable goal all the same. With research and dedication, you can create a successful supplement business and become the entrepreneur you always wanted to be.

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