Contract Manufacturing vs. Private Label

Private Label vs Contract Manufacturing – Which Path Is Right for You?

Private label v contract manufacturing / MPlus Cosmetics Private label v contract manufacturing is something you need to consider before proceeding with planning your product choices for the market. In short, private label manufacturing is taking an existing product and branding it as your own. Contract manufacturing is when a unique product is developed specifically for your brand. To help make the right decision for yourself and your business, we have delved deeper into the differences to provide as much insight as possible to make the right choice for your business.

While we have given a very succinct explanation of the differences between private-label manufacturing and contract manufacturing, there are quite a few more details to understand and consider before deciding which option best suits you.

Private label

This is where you would select an existing product from our range and apply your selected packaging and brand to make it your own. The advantages of private label manufacturing over contract manufacturing include lower costs due to the product already having passed through important research and development stages. It also allows you to market a product that has previously been tried and tested, eliminating this step from your process and reducing the amount of time it would take from ordering to having your product market-ready. Private label manufacturing is the perfect way to build your brand without having to go through the lengthy process of creating your own product.

White label

White-label manufacturing is very similar to private-label manufacturing, however, there is one key difference. White-label manufacturing involves using a generic product already on the market, potentially under many different brand names. This can be a disadvantage as the only difference between your brand and the other existing brands will be the attractiveness of your packaging and marketing power.

Contract manufacturing

Contract manufacturing involves engaging with cosmetic scientists to blend a customised product that is delivered exclusively for your brand. Unlike private label manufacturing or white label manufacturing, you are creating a new product for which you have total control and a high level of input towards the final product outcomes. This is the ultimate bespoke method to produce a signature product that really captures your vision and brand.

Private label vs contract manufacturing – which path is right for you?

The decision on whether to proceed with private label manufacturing or contract manufacturing can be based on a variety of factors, such as your budget, goals, available timeframe, and personal preferences. Though not an exhaustive list, we have enlarged a few of these factors with suggested points of consideration to help you decide which option is best for you.

Your business goals

Where do you envisage your business in the future? Are you seeking to become an exclusive retailer of high-end cosmetics and beauty products, or are you interested in appealing to the general population? Are you an existing retailer who wishes to expand your collection, or are you new to the market and want to make an impact when your product is released? Though these are a lot of questions, they are definitely food for thought when deciding between contract, private-label and white-label manufacturing.

Who is the target audience

Determining who your target audience will be plays a large part in the decision-making process when considering which method of contract labelling is best suited to you. For example, if you are targeting young teens, they tend to be more attracted to the marketing aspects of your product than, say, more mature people who have a greater interest in the quality of your product and often have a greater spending capacity which they are happy to utilise for exclusivity. The answer to this question alone may be one of the most important factors in deciding on private-label manufacturing versus contract manufacturing.

What are your anticipated timeframes?

It goes without saying that contract manufacturing will involve significantly higher order-to-market timeframes than private-label manufacturing. The advantages of contract manufacturing may be outweighed by the disadvantage of extending your timeframe due to the need for adequate working hours for cosmetic chemists to create your exclusive product. Likewise, private label manufacturing means the product is already readily available, so it is a far quicker method to take to market. However, you lose the option of being unique. Your anticipated timeframes, as per your business plan, will be an important factor in deciding which way to go.

Exploring private-label manufacturing

Still undecided on the question of private label manufacturing v contract manufacturing? Every business is different and the path you wish to follow needs to match your business plan. Let’s take a more in-depth look at private label manufacturing and what you can expect to help you decide if this is the most appropriate way forward for your business now and in the future. pregnant-woman-applies-makeup-home-front-mirror_169016-27482

Product availability

Cosmetics manufacturers spend copious amounts of time developing beauty products. Sometimes exclusively and sometimes intending to provide an “off the shelf” product as is the case with private label manufacturing. This is not to imply that these products are of lesser quality, they are simply created to be readily available to everyone. There is as much care, time and quality control expended on private-label manufacturing as with contract manufacturing. The only difference is that the product is not specifically tailored to you.

Selecting your product

When you know the product has already been tested and proven, you can confidently select from the existing range. You may be looking for a mascara manufacturer or a lipstick manufacturing company that has an existing product for you to review. In consultation with your cosmetics manufacturer, suggestions can be put forward for which items are best suited to your collection. Once you have decided on what you would like to stock, it is time to create your packaging.

Creating your label

MPlus Cosmetics can assist with developing appropriate packaging and labelling for your brand. You may wish to present your product in a trendy variation to really make your product stand out or opt for more traditional packaging for those who prefer something more classic. This part of the process is where you will find a point of difference with the best cosmetic manufacturers. Care is not only given to providing a choice of superior beauty products, but it also extends to your marketing potential and the attractiveness of your packaging.

The world of contract manufacturing unveiled

Contract manufacturing is the ultimate experience in developing a bespoke cosmetics line. Make your business stand out amongst the rest with a unique range designed and created exclusively for you. It all begins with an in-depth consultation where your vision is documented, understood and expanded upon. Once an agreement is made on precisely what you require of your cosmetics line, cosmetic scientists begin working on a formula to provide you with your one-of-a-kind product.

Cosmetic science

Cosmetic science encompasses utilising the finest ingredients to create formulas that will provide you with a completely personalised product. The science does not end there. Using an example of a foundation manufacturer, once the product is perfected, the investigation then moves on to how to package it most effectively. Consideration is given not only to aesthetics but also to ease of application for the end user. There are many variations of foundation applicators, such as pump bottles, liquid brushes, purpose-designed sponges and more. The precise tools and packaging to make your product stand out will be incorporated to enhance the end user’s experience and also enhance the saleability of your product.

Customising your product

This is the exciting part of contract manufacturing. Unlike private label manufacturing, you will be a part of the process of creating your product from the ground up, working closely with a professional team of cosmetic scientists to achieve precisely the colour, texture or finish you would like to see in your cosmetics line. You may wish to add sparkle, develop a waterproof version, or use tones and colours that suit a specific skin type. The world is your oyster when it comes to deciding precisely how you would like your product to be customised.


You can be assured that you are creating a product for you and your business alone with contract manufacturing. This level of exclusivity will put you ahead of the game when you come to market. Partnering with a quality cosmetics manufacturer will ensure not only that you will have an exclusive product but also a product that successfully delivers at the customer level due to the diligent hard work, research, testing and development that went into creating it. Whichever path forward you decide is the most appropriate for your company when considering private label manufacturing versus contract manufacturing, by partnering with a reliable and trusted company such as MPlus Cosmetics to provide your products, labelling, and packaging, you can be assured you have given yourself the best opportunity to succeed in the highly competitive cosmetics and beauty market.