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The D2C Disruption

...In Personal Care and Beauty


Aesthetician And Entrepreneur Charlotte Cho Launches New Premium Skincare Brand

Charlotte Cho, co-founder of Soko Glam, an e-commerce site specializing in Korean beauty products, has launched her own DTC brand of premium skincare products, called ‘Then I Met You.’ The brand’s positioning centers on taking time to treat the skin, with a two-stage cleansing regimen, consistent with jeong, a Korean cultural concept. The range comprises two products, the Living Cleansing Balm and Soothing Tea Cleansing Gel. Cho promotes the brand on social media via the #SelflessSundays. [Image Credit: © Then I Met You]

Personalized Haircare Brand Has Sold A Millions Bottles

Function of Beauty, a DTC customized haircare brand, is celebrating its millionth sale, about three years after its launch. CEO and co-founder, Zahir Dossa, said that brand is now targeting a billion. The brand’s first line extension is a purple shampoo for blondes, to reduce “brassiness”. Dossa says that the brand wants to strengthen its e-commerce offering, to provide an experience that’s more “immersive”. It also has a physical store, in New York, which is now more focused on R&D. [Image Credit: © Function Inc.]

Dollar Shave Club Is Evolving To Generate Better Momentum

Direct-to-Consumer subscription grooming brand, Dollar Shave Club, is launching a cologne brand in collaboration with Ann Gottlieb. BluePrint will launch with six fragrances, ranked by complexity and sophistication, and DSC is also trialing sample boxes containing all six scents. The new brand is just one of the brand’s recent initiatives. It is also trialing selling products in vending machines. The brand has expanded beyond monthly deliveries of blades and now offers other shave products as well as hair, skin and oral care items. New customers are encouraged to choose the Full Service offering, which includes a starter box of products from all the categories. The moves come as the competitive environment intensifies and the company’s sales flatten. [Image Credit: © Dollar Shave Club]


New Subscription Platform Brings Squarespace Closer To One-Stop E-Commerce Offering

Squarespace was launched around 15 years ago as a web hosting service. It now offers a subscription platform to its Commerce Advanced clients. Within five days of the launch, around 400 of its merchant clients had started using it, with beauty one of the top categories for adoption. Lauren Napier Beauty in the UK is one of the brands. It launched LaurenNapier.com on Squarespace in 2014, but focused on selling through third-party retailers, including Net-a-porter.com and Harvey Nichols. In the last few months, it has started to sell DTC. The brand sells facial wipes, a product suited to a subscription offering. [Image Credit: © Squarespace, Inc.]

Gillette Showing Signs Of Recovery

Gary Coombe, who heads up Procter & Gamble’s Gillette unit, said that although the company’s grooming business has encountered major challenges, things are getting better, with US sales and volume growth in the double digits in the latest quarter. Globally, organic sales were up 4 percent versus the year-ago period. Coombe also said that the brand was growing its share of the DTC market in blades and razors, following a price cut in 2017 and some initiatives in its service. It has also recently launched men’s razors for sensitive skin, an innovation for which Gillette has high hopes, and is realigning its marketing with millennials. [Image Credit: © Procter & Gamble]

True Botanicals Open Flagship Store In San Francisco

True Botanicals, a luxury skincare brand, has opened a flagship store in the Jackson Square area of San Francisco. Brand founder and CEO, Hillary Peterson, calls it a “self-care sanctuary”. It features an aromatherapy bar and treatment rooms to give visitors facials, as well as a lab that encourages customers to contribute to product development. The expansion follows an $8 million Series A Round funding round a few months ago, with Unilever Ventures among the investors. The brand is also focusing more on its direct-to-consumer approach, and has withdrawn from most of its third-party retailer partnerships. Peterson said the brand wants more direct relationships with its customers, to better support their choices and aims. [Image Credit: © True Botanicals]

Glossier’s CFO Outlines The Reasons For The Brand’s Success

Henry Davis, Glossier’s president and CFO, highlighted five reasons for the beauty brand’s success. The 5Cs center on the brand’s consumers, its content, the conversations with consumers, the community it has created, and its success with co-creation. Davis says that Glossier has expanded its customer base beyond millennials and now has a much broader age following. He also said that content is the brand’s main growth driver, with a strong following for the “Into the Gloss” blog as well as a range of social media and video platforms. As a part of this effort, it encourages a two-way discussion with its customers, to find out what they think about the brand. Glossier focuses on the specific requirements of its customers, which the brand says amounts to co-creation. To improve the sense of brand community, Glossier has opened bricks-and-mortar locations: a new flagship store in the Soho district of New York City and a store in Los Angeles, as well as a number of popups. The company is now looking to build new “forums” for more conversations. [Image Credit: © Glossier Inc.]

Shiseido Canada Is Joining The DTC Beauty Wave

The Canadian arm of Japanese beauty company Shiseido is launching a direct-to-consumer business next year, building on the company’s DTC experience in the US over a number of years. The aim is to improve brand loyalty and get access to consumer data. The decision comes as research from IAB concludes that legacy beauty brands are missing opportunities by lagging their startup rivals in using DTC models. Beauty is also seen as a category in which consumers are relatively comfortable about buying online, and a number of large companies, including L’Oréal and Unilever, have been active in acquiring DTC beauty startups to acquire expertise and perspectives relevant for today’s beauty shopper. Many of the new digital brands are focused on social media, partly because they lack the big media budgets of some of the larger incumbents, but also because beauty is a very social category. Personalization is another aspect of beauty that startups have been able to teach larger beauty companies. [Image Credit: © SHISEIDO CO., LTD]

Glossier Opens A New Flagship Store Where It All Began

Beauty brand Glossier opened a flagship store on New York’s Lafayette Street, at number 123, where the brand was founded four years ago. Founder and CEO, Emily Weiss, said Glossier Flagship “is a nod” to customers that were with Glossier at the start, and ensures the brand stays in the conversation. The 3,000 square feet space is a permanent location and the "the ultimate physical expression of the brand", enabling customers to meet Glossier face-to-face. A part of the experience is a unique point-of-sale system, where online and offline sales are synced to allow customers to start an order in the store and finish it at home. It also features Glossier Offline Editors, the in-store representatives, who will “act like an educated and knowledgeable friend". [Image Credit: © Glossier Inc.]

Avon’s Russian Unit Opens Eight Pop Up Stores For Its Mark. Brand

Avon opened pop up Beauty Bars in eight Russian cities, featuring the full range of products from its “mark.” brand. Visitors can discuss the mark. products with in-store Representatives and be made up by make-up artists. Anyone wanting to buy the products can order them from the Representatives via a new online mobile shoppable brochure. The stores are also proving to useful for recruiting new Representatives.[Image Credit: © Avon Products, Inc.]

‘No Middleman’ Launched To Provide A Curated Showroom For CPG Brands

Selected direct-to-consumer CPG brands now have a searchable online directory, at NoMiddleman.com, from the The No Middleman Project. Brands selected for inclusion also receive a profile on the site. The aim is to provide consumers with curated assistance to help them find consumer brands across hundreds of categories. There is no fee for the brands included on the site, which is also offers an online showroom for the brands, with prospective shoppers directed to the brand’s site for the purchase transaction. [Image Credit: © A Mark Cuban Company]

Two Experts Disagree Over Large CPGs’ Prospects In DTC

A talk by Terence Kawaja, founder of Luma Partners, an investment banking firm, and an interview with Marc Pritchard of Procter & Gamble, provided some interesting insight to the way in which new direct-to-consumer brands are taking market share from established CPGs. Kawaja sees the trend continuing, fueled as more new companies emerge funded by “rampant venture funding”. Pritchard believes that the large CPGs are countering the threat: P&G, for example, is experimenting with brands at seed-stage and has brought the direct-to-consumer startup approach to some of its brands. Kawaja is not convinced that companies like P&G can succeed with DTC brands, saying "Think about a middle-aged white man trying to dance," adding that venture funds are supporting DTC startups because of their similarity to tech companies, which P&G is trying to emulate, according to Pritchard. Kawaja called P&G’s Gillette DTC business "a copycat business model that screams inauthenticity." [Image Credit: © LUMA Partners LLC]
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