Organic 201: How Long Does It Take To Bring a New Product to Market?

First quarter is a busy time at Vermont Soap and it should be for you too.

It’s exciting to run those year end velocity reports and see what really worked and what needs your added attention to thrive. Reposition those products, add keywords to the SEO program, make those new label changes and especially start work on new products and line extensions NOW. It’s the first quarter! You may feel like, “Hey, it’s January and there’s all the time in the world. But time is a commodity often in short supply as we prioritize our days. Suddenly it’s March already!

With a large part of the work force operating from home you might expect to see increases in productivity stemming from the lack of commuting time. However, many pre-COVID studies are clear that these small gains in productivity are overshadowed by the productivity losses stemming from the lack of random contact with team members. It turns out that those random water cooler meetings spur questions, answers and creativity in ways that can’t be quantified mathematically.

How many random conversations start with,” Oh yeah, I was just looking at the current project and I’m glad I ran into you….” It turns out that many people feel self-conscious about speaking up in groups (including Zoom groups) but will reach out freely on a one-to-one basis.

In 2017 IBM began bringing its 31,000 home workers back to the office, apparently for just that reason. Long and short of it is, it takes a bit longer to bring products to market now during COVID not less.  I liken it to shaving. Sure, the first pass does most of the heavy lifting. But it is repeated gentle attention and massaging that gets the job done right. It’s not enough to pick your new products and move on to the next pressing issue. Go over it and over it again. Put the mockup label on the bottle (use shiny photography paper), and the bottle on a shelf with other similar bottles. Review your label 10 times. You will be surprised at the simple mistakes that will still occur even after seemingly endless passes at it.

Choosing packaging and product colors, fonts and font sizes, label and web copy, bottle type size and material, dispensing mechanism and the perfect scent, exfoliant and herbal ingredient levels all take time. Case pack sizes must be determined, and case labels created. Experiments take time and SEO optimization takes time to kick in. Organic certification can add 3 weeks to your timetable. Your web and emarketing people need time to produce marketing products to not look rushed. You will need awesome product and lifestyle photography, a supportive blog post and social media support.

But most of all you just need the time to do it right.

Make yourself a new product control sheet for each new item outlining each step in your product development process. And give your manufacturing partners at Vermont Soap a call. Let us help take the pain out the process of bringing your next natural product to market.

At Vermont Soap we built the factory, so you don’t have to.

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