From Typos To Misprints, Beauty Brand Founders Lament Label Mistakes

In this edition of Beauty Independent’s ongoing series posing questions to beauty entrepreneurs, we ask 12 brand founders and executives: Have you ever made a mistake on your label?

Ada Polla CEO, Alchimie Forever

We sure have, from typos to labeling mistakes. We handled typos by improving our pre-printing approval process to ensure more eyes on the proof, in particular, fresh and different eyes. Now, I have my sister Rachel, who is the CEO of our spa company, Forever Institut, reread all proofs before I sign off on them. She knows our business, but is not involved in the copywriting or design of the label, so she does not know the text the way I do, which is so helpful to avoid reading what you think you wrote versus reading what is actually written.

Once and luckily only once we made a mistake on the INCI ingredient listing on a box. We forgot to include one of the key botanical ingredients of one of our products. In this case, we created a label to apply over the bottom of the box with the correct ingredient listing. [It was] expensive, labor-intensive [and] not aesthetically pleasing, but 100% necessary.

CAMILLE OBADIA President, Camille Obadia

Yes, of course I did. I forgot to add my logo. It happened because I do so many different things at the same time. I had to order new labels. It's always best to ask the printer to send you a final copy of the stickers before he starts printing it so you can make sure that you didn't forget anything.

JULIE PEFFERMAN Founder, The Lab and Co.

Yes, funny story! Label errors do occur from time to time, especially when you are new and wearing all the hats. On our first Butt Acne Clearing Lotion labels, it said "exfoliate. moisturize. treat." Well, that's what it should have said! On the first print, it actually said “exfoilate.” I was mortified when I found the error. I was already shipping these out to customers and retailers. 

To me, it felt like I had misspelled my own name on a thesis or a resume. Walgreens was our first retailer at the time, and I had just paid a tech fee that included pictures of the product. There it was a beautiful picture on their website with a glaring mistake. I really wanted to pull it from the shelves and my website, but my husband talked me out of it because, at the time, we couldn't afford new labels. 

Since it wasn't on the ingredients or directions, we decided to let it be until our first opportunity to replace it. To this day, no customer noticed, and my product sold, mistake and all. I still hang on to the labels to remind myself how far I have come. Now, I always have at least two sets of eyes review before print.  My mom always tells me, "Anything worth doing is worth doing badly.”

JAMIKA MARTIN Founder, Rosen Skincare

Adobe Illustrator can be a pain since there's no spell check (haha), and that has come back to haunt a few times. Usually, it's not a huge deal, and we're honestly pretty chill with letting a label that says "moisturizr" like once in the directions stay out in people's hands. We just update the label, order new ones and make sure to catch it early! We have never had a huge issue though, and customer's generally haven't really cared if we did have a spelling mistake.

Ozohu Adoh Founder, Epara

We did not make a mistake per se, but, on the eve of sending our artwork to print for our outer packaging, we found out that one of the key ingredients that ran across the entire line had been discontinued. At this point, we had to proceed without the INCI list on the outer packaging printed. 

What we then did was to print adhesive labels with the INCI list, which was then added onto the final product at manufacture. The correction was to then update the artwork for the next order of packaging to include the revised INCI list. Of course, this led to additional costs and a lot of stress to say the least.

SELMIN KARATAS Co-Founder and CEO, Kazani

Doing everything by myself was the biggest mistake I have made with the labels. My first packaging didn't convey the brand, and I needed to have a look that was representing it. We dived in and worked on the branding for many months, and I was lucky enough to meet Hector Garcia of mbn creative through a friend working in the beauty industry. They redesigned everything, from packaging, branding, logo to some of the writing. Working with a professional company who understands your needs is the only way to correct it unless you are an expert in branding and design.

Danielle Gronich Co-Founder, CLEARstem Skincare

We sure did! When we first started to design our label, we got really excited. We wanted a super fun pattern that attracted people’s attention, but we also wanted to convey the values of our products and brand. We went with too much text along with a busy backsplash pattern. We loved the idea of a baller background for our signature vibe and, objectively, it looked sleek and cool. 

In reality, on the bottle, it clashed with the amount of verbiage in the label. The user's attention was pulled in too many directions. We have identified this and are in the process of simplifying our entire look so that value is heightened while the noise is calmed. In fact, we just launched a redesign challenge on our IG so our own fans are coming up with the new label!

MELINDA HERRON Founder, 103 Collection

Looking back, our very first labels were horrible. The colors were not right for our brand, we ordered too many, and I promised myself to really think through the design and make sure it's exactly what we wanted for the next round.

We went to beauty supply and big-box stores, and walked the aisles and studied the product labels in the same category and developed new concepts for designs. It took about a month to finalize the new design, but we were so pleased and continue to get great feedback about the new labels.

SIRKKU HAHN Founder and CEO, Inari Arctic Beauty

We made a mistake in cooperating with some partners that didn’t meet our expectations when starting the company and producing our first products. This led to severe quality issues with our product labeling, which we are now in the process of changing and correcting.

Since our launch in the summer of 2018, we gathered a lot of feedback through the ongoing dialogue and regular communication with our loyal customers. We got to know them as well as their expectations better over the months and are very thankful for their valuable feedback. As not only the product label on our glass bottles is essential in communicating what and who we are as a brand, but all aspects of our brand, we took the chance to use these insights to adapt other areas of our brand, too.

An ever-changing marketplace is challenging, with competitors constantly launching and changing their products, which makes a regular rebranding critical to continued success. So, we are going to have a deeper look into our package, logo and design. We will launch a new website that tells our brand story in a much better way in the spring.

LISSETTE MONZON Founder, Lilly Be

My first label was a handwritten mailing sticker when I sold it at local farmers' markets. I had no idea I would turn Lilly Be into a full-time business or the intricacies involved in labeling. Since that first market, I have changed my labels many times.

They have evolved from handwritten notes that would be illegible because the oil got on them to the water and oil proof labels they are today. Besides the type of label to properly use, other challenges have been in design and ensuring I meet all the labeling requirements. I hired a team to help me in this area, and it has been one of my best investments.

Anya Kudrjasova Creative Director, Glowdust Beauty

During our product innovation period, we had months of back and forth with our manufacturers to get to the label that we were most comfortable with and, even after that, during the production process, we still ended up having issues with the labels. We ended up rejecting the products from our manufacturer that didn’t meet our level of quality as that is something we will never compromise on.

LAUREN NAPIER Founder, Lauren Napier Beauty

I have indeed made a mistake on my labels. The honest answer is pay attention before things go into production! In this case, I used glossy, shiny sparkly adhesive to solve this sticky situation.

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