The household and personal care industry has undergone many changes in 2020 except for the aspect of innovation. Despite the halt of in-person networking events and tradeshows, suppliers can still mingle with marketers in virtual events and beauty editors can learn about the latest launches via Zoom parties. Consumers are still shopping for the latest wellness, beauty and home care products as self-care moved to the forefront during the past year.
All of these trends play into the strength of indie brands. These micro powerhouses not only drive trends in the industry by rolling out cutting-edge formulations, novel packaging and other creative concepts but are also chugging along as “The Little Engine That Could.” They continue to churn out small batches with limited distribution or customize products to meet their specific consumer’s wants. Or, they’ve been picked up by bigger retailers like Sephora or Credo and must meet the mark with high-standard SKUs at reasonable prices.
Either way, indie brands remain revolutionary in their own right—The New Normal just keeps things interesting for these innovators.
“Much like we’ve seen in the rest of society and the economy overall, the pandemic has accelerated trends and driven a bifurcation into haves and have nots,” Chris Hobson, chair of the Independent Beauty Association (IBA) board of directors, told Happi. “Many of these trends were already well underway, but in just a few short months the market has become dramatically more digital and ecommerce-driven, consumers are much more focused on value and wellness or self-care and brands are more focused on cash flow as opposed to just growth.”
Alyssa Behrendt, market research analyst, Kline & Company, Parsippany NJ, agreed that it’s all about wellness and self-care in the beauty market for 2020 and beyond. “COVID-19 has certainly had a major impact on the beauty market, and indie beauty is no exception. We have witnessed a significant slowdown of new brand entrants in the market, as both the economy and shopping environment made it difficult to launch,” she observed. “Of the newcomers, many were positioned as clean or self-care focused, or sold hand cleansing products, which were key product trends witnessed in the cosmetics and toiletries market.”
According to Hobson, the industry will undergo “a massive shakeout” of the many small indie beauty brands in the next year that haven’t achieved meaningful scale.
“The overall economy may be doing just fine, but there are so many brands competing for finite retailer shelf space and limited consumer attention that they all can’t survive. Only the brands with meaningful connections to their consumers, genuine product innovation, solid retail partnerships and a strong financial position will be able to survive and grow,” he explained.
Here’s a look at the trailblazers of 2021 that are making waves in the business, sorted by years in business from newest to oldest.
Year Founded: 2020
Oracle Jayne Station is a whimsical debut collection created by Emmy-winning makeup artist Andrew Sotomayor. Named after a colorful neighborhood in Tucson, AZ where the beauty expert visited family on summer vacations, the artsy personal care, fragrance and candle collection is created entirely from scratch using organic, wild-crafted and Fair Trade-certified ingredients. “Oracle Jayne Station is authentic, emotional and luxurious,” he told Happi.
Names to Know: Andrew Sotomayor, founder of Oracle Jayne Station
Major Products: The El Arroyo and Red Rocks Collections
Hero Products: El Arroyo Eau De Parfum, Hand & Body Scrub, and Hand & Body Bar. “Inspired by monsoon season and the smell of the desert after it rains, El Arroyo in Spanish is ‘the creek,’ which would run behind my parents ranch, but only after a much needed storm,” said Sotomayor.
Find It: OracleJayneStation.com
What’s New: Red Rocks, the holiday collection inspired by a trip to Sedona. According to Sotomayor, the excursion with his grandmother, aunt and sister procured the surprise of seeing pine trees in a state he’d only ever known to have cactus.
Brand Back Story: Sotomayor has been in the beauty business for 18 years. According to the industry veteran, his first job was selling perfume at the Chanel counter for the holidays or selling Lancôme products on summer vacations. He’s since worked with eight Academy Awards winning actors, received three Emmy nominations and one win, and been a spokesperson for La Mer and L’Occitane and worked behind the scenes with a dozen others. He told Happi, “I started Oracle Jayne Station because I’ve learned so much about what big businesses have and haven’t done well, and knew that to change the conversation about what consumers deserve, I needed to start my own business.”
Fragrances have always been marketed based on memories, emotions, and experiences. According to Sotomayor, usually what’s actually inside the bottle has very little to do with any of that and contains very little from the outside world. Oracle Jayne Station challenges all that.
“Everything I make is about genuine moments in my life, and a building on an authentic heritage,” he said. “My first drafts of Oracle Jayne Station fragrances were created for friends in 2014. My signature scent, El Arroyo, is inspired by the smell of the desert after it rains, and the sight of the creek running behind my grandparents’ ranch.”
Sotomayor adds that Oracle Jayne is pushing the limits of what a perfume brand is able, and willing, to offer its customers by way of illustrious labels and premiere ingredients. “Fragrance is an art. Oracle Jayne Station is authentic luxury and an experience worth sharing.”
Why We’re Watching: Every Oracle Jayne product is made from scratch with “superior” essential oils and tinctures from organic or wild sourced plants, extracted using CO2, cold process, steam distillation and organic cane alcohol, boasted Sotomayor, who added that it’s all about the quality.
“Whenever they can be found, Fair Trade-certified ingredients are used. No animal ingredients are used and no products are tested on animals. Packaging is simple and almost entirely recyclable. Even the shipping boxes are sealed with paper tape, instead of cellophane.”
Customization is also a key feature at the company. According to Sotomayor, “As a small business, I’m also happy to customize a product for someone who is avoiding specific ingredients … that’s something small businesses can try to do that big companies normally can’t or won’t.”
The packaging is also intrinsic to Oracle Jayne’s individuality. Sotomayor has sourced genuine Native American made pottery from the United States and Mexico for his bottles and jars, with 40% of the sale price of all pottery going to American Indian Services which provides grants and educational programs, and now also emergency COVID-19 and food assistance, to Native American communities, who are among those hardest hit by the pandemic.
“Bringing their art to the luxury market, is my way of introducing their craftsmanship to people who’ve been missing out on, and using my platform to support a community in need,” he told Happi.
What’s Next: The future is looking bright for this beauty trailblazer. He told Happi, “I’m excited to do more artist collaborations. I’ve already partnered with illustrator and Broadway makeup artist Michael Clifton to create the Little Buddies Mini Soap Trio, and Brooklyn based jewelry designer Blue Bayer to bring blackened silver and rose gold hummingbird skull-shaped necklaces that coordinate with their fragrances. As I launch several fragrances in 2021, the memories of people who were close to me, and the artists that continue to inspire me, will come together to bring you luxury products truly made from the heart.”
Year Founded: 2020
Built for the digitally-native generation, Goodhabit is pioneering the movement in defending skin against artificial blue light and modern day skin stressors. According to Co-Founder Mariya Nurislamova, “We’re developing clean, conscious and effective skin care solutions that keep you connected, and your skin, protected.”
Names To Know: Mariya Nurislamova, CEO and co-founder of Scentbird and Goodhabit; and Jeniece Trizzino, vice president of innovation and physical product for Goodhabit
Major Products: Goodhabit Rescue Me Collection which includes Clean Scene Micellar Gel, Texture Magic Exfoliating Toner, Glow Potion Oil Serum and Water Jelly Dew Cream.
Hero Product: Rescue Me Glow Potion Oil Serum, a 3-in-1 elixir that combines the powerful effects of nourishing antioxidant-rich oils, a skin-strengthening serum, and a hydrating facial essence into one do-it-all formula. The formula features Goodhabit’s proprietary BLU5 technology minimizes and helps prevent future signs of aging caused by artificial blue light.
Find It: goodhabitskin.com
What’s New: Goodhabit Rescue Me Mini’s Collection
Brand Back Story: Goodhabit is the brainchild of Mariya Nurislamova, entrepreneur, CEO and co-founder of Scentbird, who noticed a change in her skin after the constant screen time involved with her work schedule. The wake-up call? It wasn’t just her computer impacting her skin—it was her phone, tablet, TV, and even smartwatch that were just as culpable.
“All digital screens emit blue light, which can cause damage similar to that of UVA/UVB rays. Because we are constantly exposed to our devices, blue light may pose an even bigger risk than the sun.
While UVA and UVB rays impact the first and second layers of skin, blue light penetrates at a deeper level and reaches the third layer, increasing the risk of dullness, discoloration, fine lines, and generally looking as tired as you feel after sitting in front of screens for hours soaking it in,” Nurislamova said.
Goodhabit is pioneering the movement in defending and protecting skin against artificial blue light and other modern-day skin stressors, she insists.
“In our extremely online world, unplugging simply wasn’t an option, and the skin care options on the market didn’t offer the level of protection to both block blue light and undo its effects, so with that, Goodhabit was born,” Nurislamova explained.
Nurislamova joined forces with Jeniece Trizzino—now vice president of product development for the company—to create clean, conscious solutions to this modern problem.
“When it came to formulating Goodhabit, what was put into the products was just as important as what was left out,” said Nurislamova. Each product is formulated with effective, nature-derived ingredients at their core, with a side of thoroughly-vetted synthetics that are rigorously tested to ensure they are safe, effective and won’t irritate or disrupt the skin’s microbiome. The brand is 100% vegan and clean, right down to the fragrances used, and each formula is free of alcohol, phthalates, animal-derived ingredients, petroleum, and synthetic scents, colors, diluents, solvents, and stabilizers.
The first collection from Goodhabit, Rescue Me, features four products that simultaneously deliver blue light protection and soothing hydration for even the most sensitive skin.
Why We’re Watching: At the heart of each Goodhabit product is the brand’s proprietary BLU5 technology, which is said to essentially acts as a filter to neutralize the effects of blue light, and is packed with nourishing skin-loving ingredients. It immediately goes to work to defend skin from blue light and reverse existing blue light damage.
While some brands approach blue light protection by infusing their products with antioxidants, Goodhabit takes a more comprehensive approach with a little help from a marine active extract sourced from the cold, deep waters off the coast of Greenland. Rich in proteins and polysaccharides, it creates a protective film over the skin to prevent blue light damage, according to the brand.
What’s Next: More time on screens will fuel business, and the company is expanding into other avenues. “We have a ton of really exciting launches in 2021 that target a variety of new benefit territories,” she said. “In the back half of the year, we will be expanding into a new category outside of facial skin care.”
Year Founded: 2018
Bawdy gives you permission to relax and talk about beauty routines for body parts that others don’t dare. According to its New York City-based Founder Sylwia Wiesenberg, “We want you to activate your senses by self-touch and self-feel. We love your body and we are butt-obsessed, pampering and perfecting your assets, ensuring your body confidence.”
Names To Know: Sylwia Wiesenberg, founder, CEO and creative director
Major Products: The original butt sheet mask and a CBD Butt Balm
Find It: Ulta, Revolve, Amazon
What’s New: The Bawdy Wash, a water activated body wash launching this month. According to Wiesenberg, “We launched this product because we believe in saving water and bringing consciousness to beauty industry.”
Brand Back Story: Founded by entrepreneur Sylwia Wiesenberg, who is self-described as “the butt obsessed, fairy godmother of butt beauty.”
Born in Poland, from an early age Wiesenberg traveled and lived all over the world in pursuit of exciting career opportunities and fascinating adventures. After stints in Australia, London and Italy, she landed in New York City and quit a job in finance to follow her true passion and love for wellness and beauty.
A dedicated gymnast and athlete, Wiesenberg has always been in awe of the body. Besides Bawdy, Wiesenberg is also the founder of Dope Naturally, a wellness brand focusing on ingestibles, and Tonique Fitness, a fitness brand.
“Bawdy celebrates every body and butt. Each of our products is formulated to deliver results while providing a sensual and fun experience, creating fulfilling personal moments. Whoever you are we love your body and embrace its beauty,” she told Happi.
All Bawdy’s products are clean and cruelty-free. According to Wiesenberg, “We put an emphasis on natural and naturally-derived ingredients. The bottom line is that we want you and the environment to be safe, clean and confident.”
But…why the butt? “We celebrate butt beauty, flaws included. We’re not looking for perfect butts, and don’t obsess over stretch marks or cellulite; we all have them (or we will someday). Instead, we focus on beautifying the butt’s delicate skin and making sure you are having fun with your beauty routine. We want you to feel like a bad-ass with a great ass and embrace a full 360 beauty routine for every part of your skin with Bawdy,” Wiesenberg noted.
Why We’re Watching: Bawdy covers body parts that others don’t dare or just pretend to care about. Wiesenberg said, “We are innovative in terms of products, ingredients and packaging. We bring community together to allow you to be you. Because the butt matters. Butts aren’t going to be left behind in skin care routines, thanks to us, and we’re making it a goal for you to give your butt the care it deserves.”
What’s Next: Wiesenberg is going above and beyond for 2021 and will bring more products for the backside, as “we’re extending the butt category, bringing more conscious beauty products and me-time redefined.”
Year Founded: 2018
UK-based Carbon Theory is a skin care brand focused on simple active ingredients that target blemish and acne prone skin. The brand launched in Ulta Beauty stores and online in the US in February 2020. Its hero Facial Cleansing Bar sold out on Ulta.com within one week of launch.
Names to Know: Philip Taylor, founder and CEO
Major Products: Charcoal & Tea Tree Oil Breakout Control Facial Cleansing Bar, Tea Tree Oil & Citric Acid Breakout Control Facial Purifying Tonic, Vitamin E & Tea Tree Oil Breakout Control Facial Moisturizer, Charcoal & Tea Tree Oil, & Mineral Mud Breakout Control Facial Wet Mask, Charcoal & Tea Tree Oil Breakout Control Facial Exfoliating Scrub
Hero Product: Charcoal & Tea Tree Oil Breakout Control Facial Cleansing Bar
Find It: Now in the US at Ulta Beauty/Ulta.com as well as carbontheory.com
What’s New: Charcoal, Tea Tree & Vitamin E Breakout Control Overnight Detox Serum
Brand Back Story: Entrepreneur Philip Taylor made the first iteration of the brand’s now best-selling Charcoal & Tea Tree Oil Facial Cleansing Bar in his kitchen sink in North London after watching a few YouTube videos and ordering ingredients online. The results yielded the need for a new sink and a partnership with Soapworks Ltd.—a Scotland-based soap manufacturer founded by the late Anita and Gordon Roddick, the creators of The Body Shop.
In 2018, the bar was picked up by Boots’ Beauty Finds program in the UK, and a consumer “before & after” transformation in the UK’s Daily Mail soon propelled the bar to cult status, with Boots selling out of three months’ worth of stock, and over 6,000 orders placed via the brand’s website.
In February 2020, the brand launched in Ulta and on Ulta.com as part of the retailer’s Sparked portfolio, a curated and evolving assortment of up-and-coming brands that are entering US brick and mortar for the first time.
Why We’re Watching: Taylor’s quest to provide an alternative to medical intervention propelled Carbon Theory.
“Young people were going straight to the doctor for medications which can play havoc with your body,” he says, remarking that acne is on the rise because of stress, pollution and other factors. “The options were dated brands with nothing catering to new consumers.”
To stand out from the acne product masses, Taylor opted to center Carbon Theory around an affordable soap. The Charcoal & Tea Tree Oil Breakout Control Facial Cleansing Bar (a 2020 Allure Best of Beauty Winner), retails for $9.99, and the brand’s entire range is under $25. He picked charcoal because it was an up-and-coming ingredient with cleansing power, and merged it with tea tree for its antiseptic attributes and shea butter to offset the concern that soap can be drying.
“I honestly didn’t know it could do what it does,” referring the dramatic transformations achieved from use of the cleansing bar. “We’ve never paid an influencer. Every post is vetted that they aren’t using a medication. Acne breakouts are traumatic, and it would be insincere to be perceived as paying someone to say something is great.”
Those 100% honest/non-paid consumer photos on Instagram have garnered Carbon Theory a cult following
What’s Next: Upcoming innovation set to launch in the US includes: Charcoal & Tea Tree Oil Breakout Control Exfoliating Body Bar, Tea Tree Oil & Vitamin A Breakout Control Spot Paste, and Tea Tree Oil & Glycolic Acid Breakout Control Cleansing Pads.
Year Founded: 2017
In Taos, New Mexico’s vast desert landscape, anything feels possible. This inspiration compelled the founder of indie beauty brand Taos AER to create lifestyle products for those who live boldly. According to company Co-Founder/Chief Formulator Kristine Keheley, “We push the boundaries of natural product formulation. Our commitment to minimally processed ingredients requires radical experimentation and innovation. We develop each product with lifecycle awareness and sustainable practices.”
Names to Know: Kristine Keheley, co-founder and chief formulator; Krysia Boinis, co-founder
Major Products: Unisex high-performance clean deodorants with perfume-quality scents
Hero Product: Lavender Myrrh Clean Deodorant
Find It: Taos AER has traditionally been sold with clean retail partners, including Credo, The Detox Market, Follain and Pharmaca. Last month, the company launched a trial size with Target online. This month, the brand is partnering with Nordstrom in 70-plus stores and online for its wellness spotlight during the month.
What’s New: Clean Deodorant
Brand Back Story: Taos AER is a spinoff born from indie brand Vapour Beauty’s award-winning AER Next-Level Clean Deodorant. According to Keheley, in 2019, she saw potential for AER to be its own standalone brand rather than expanding Vapour beyond deodorant. Today, Taos AER is separated from Vapour and focused on elevated daily essentials that engage the senses and holistically support mind-body wellness.
The deodorant was first formulated in 2012, when Vapour and AER Co-Founder Krysia Boinis was diagnosed with breast cancer and could not find a clean formula that was both effective and pleasing to use. Keheley spent four years on creative innovation, ingredient research and product testing. In 2017, the pair introduced AER as a game-changing, luxury plant-based deodorant that combined unparalleled performance with artistic scent blends in a sophisticated gel-to-powder format.
In 2019, as part of spinning Taos AER off into its own brand, Keheley reformulated the original three deodorant scents. She explained, “We were able to take advantage of some newly available organic ingredients that enhance performance and elevate texture. Our ingredient purity, product performance, and gel-to-powder format remain revolutionary in the clean deodorant category.”
According to Keheley, to solidify Taos AER as a leader in curated daily use products, the company’s creative team is working on several non-deodorant product categories that will launch in 2021. “We are forging a vision for the cleanest, most sustainable personal care products that you crave using every day,” she said.
Why We’re Watching: Keheley is intent on making waves in the personal care sector. She told Happi, “Our commitment is to revolutionize the way you experience product use throughout the day. We want to give you an adventure of the senses as we elevate daily use products. It’s the opposite of mindless routine. Taos AER is about taking a pause in the day to promote the mind-body connection.”
She added, “Our belief in the power of plants and the use of scent as a mystical, emotional connector are truly our guides. We love doing our best to provide something extraordinary in place of previously utilitarian product use. Taos AER’s values, formula innovation, and our scent artistry combine to forge something greater than each of those parts. Genuine self-care is about providing comfort and support to reach your highest potential. Any experience of presence and beauty is a major stress reliever. Each Taos AER product reflects intentional sensorial design to make each use a meaningful pleasure in your day.”
What’s Next: Company goals for the next year include taking Taos AER into the curated lifestyle space. According to Keheley, “We’re adding two new performance-specific deodorant formats in Spring 2021. Then, we begin the expansion into several non-deodorant daily use product categories in Fall 2021. It’s thrilling to have this opportunity to build a brand with a fresh vision that speaks to the complex stressful times we’re in by manifesting the products we need.”
Year Founded: 2017
Hims & Hers is a digital health platform that connects users across the US to licensed medical professionals, enabling them to access products and care from the convenience of home. Along with its prescription offerings available via telemedicine appointments, Hims & Hers offers a variety of OTC products addressing skin, hair, sexual health and more.
Names to Know: Andrew Dudum, co-founder and chief executive officer; Hilary Coles, co-founder and VP of merchandising; Dr. Patrick Carroll, chief medical officer; Dr. Leah Millheiser, senior vice president of medical affairs.
Major Products: Hims & Hers products fall into three key categories: hair care, sexual wellness and skin care. During the past few months, the company has introduced several products including a new Scalp Scrub and Hair Mask created in collaboration with Jennifer Lopez as well as new lines of customizable prescription skin care regimens focused on anti-aging or acne for both men and women.
Hero Product: Hair care products, specifically those focused on hair loss, continue to be top sellers. This includes shampoos and conditioners along with minoxidil formulas and the Rx finasteride available to patients on Hims.
Find It: Online at ForHers.com and ForHims.com as well as select products available in Target stores and on Target.com
What’s New: Hims & Hers Rx skin care expansion (acne and anti-aging customization formulas) and a Rapid Repair Hair Mask and Detox Scalp Scrub created with JLo.
Brand Back Story: According to Hilary Coles, co-founder of the San Francisco-based company, “We founded Hims & Hers because we believe everyone should have access to high quality healthcare.
No one should be denied the care they deserve because of who they are, where they live, or how much it costs. Hims & Hers offers a modern approach to care that aims to eliminate stigmas and enable access to treatments for dozens of conditions. People deserve the same level of control with their healthcare that they have in many other parts of their lives. That’s why patients on the Hims & Hers platform have access to licensed providers at times and from locations convenient for them. We saw an immediate response from the very beginning, with one million dollars in sales the first week.”
According to Coles, when the brand launched in 2017, the focus was on highly stigmatized conditions for which there was an unmet need. “We were able to create a space where people felt confident starting conversations about their health and wellness—free from the awkwardness that can come with talking about tough topics face-to-face. In doing so, we also served as a critical first touchpoint to care for many who had never before spoken to a medical professional about their symptoms. In the process, we created a healthcare experience that our customers now trust and continue returning to with confidence.”
Hims & Hers has continued to grow by leaps and bounds, expanding its health and wellness offerings in a number of different ways and ultimately powering over 10 million touchpoints with people to-date. In October 2020, just three years after introducing the brand to market, Hims & Hers also announced it will be a publicly traded company, valued at $1.6 billion, according to Coles.
Why We’re Watching: Hims & Hers is a comprehensive connected care platform that’s reimagining healthcare by rebuilding the experience from the ground up.
“Our business model is unique within the healthcare space as it’s truly optimized for a start-to-finish consumer experience. We take a fundamentally different approach than you see traditional players in the space taking and one they can’t always compete with,” Coles told Happi. “We provide consumers access to a wide range of healthcare services as well as Rx and OTC health and wellness products.
From mental health support to solutions for acne, hair loss, birth control or even a simple primary care visit, our inclusive platform is able to serve as an all-encompassing resource for people in an accessible and approachable way.”
What’s Next: According to Coles, new avenues for wellness are planned for 2021 and beyond. She told Happi, “As we continue to build and grow, I’m looking forward to Hims & Hers finding new ways to provide access to care for a wider swath of consumers, particularly within the mental health space as there is such a huge need for it right now.”
Year Founded: 2016
Tiege Hanley is changing the face of skin care for men. Created just for guys and spanning all skin types, Tiege’s high-quality products are formulated to work in tandem with one another to maximize results. The uncomplicated subscription is delivered to guys’ doors every month, taking the guesswork out of good skin health for men.
Names to Know: Kelley Thornton, founder and CEO; Rob Hoxie, co-founder; Aaron Marino, co-founder.
Major Products: The indie brand’s Level 1 System includes the core Tiege Hanley regimen: Wash, Scrub, AM, PM for $25/month.
Hero Product: AM Morning Daily Facial Moisturizer with SPF 20. This product has earned The Skin Cancer Foundation’s Seal of Recommendation.
Find It: Tiege.com and Amazon
What’s New: Tiege’s new deo is a budget-friendly, natural deodorant that rolled out last month. It is available in an all-natural eucalyptus scent formulated with soothing eucalyptus, lavender and mint, as well as in Unscented for those who prefer to keep things simple or have sensitive skin.
Brand Back Story: Tiege Hanley specializes in the direct-to-consumer e-commerce approach, which propelled the brand to profitability just five months after its launch.
With more than 20 years of experience in consumer goods, CEO Kelley Thornton is a veteran of creating new and innovative ways to connect consumer packaged goods companies to retail customers, boasting annual sales in the millions. Thornton insists that any successful enterprise requires creativity, hard work, honesty, people and data—the building blocks behind the Tiege Hanley brand. This philosophy is also the driving force behind his global enterprise, Purchase Point, a POP/POS research and solutions provider that improves merchandising platforms for CPG companies to develop meaningful and engaging retail experiences for shoppers.
Rob Hoxie is a technology expert with nearly 30 years of business experience. He was the head of business development at DataViz, Inc. and helped to successfully navigate the company through three reinventions of itself in the software industry. Previously, he worked in business development with Motorola, Reqvu and Atimi Software.
Tiege Hanley as a whole expanded its outreach on digital media. Brand awareness and sales grew quickly when men’s grooming and lifestyle YouTube sensation (6,000,000+ subscribers), Aaron Marino joined the team as a co-founder. This partnership ushered in a loyal following for the brand and it’s “Ferrari formulas.” With roots in the fitness and nutrition industry, Marino has spent the past decade in the business of building confidence in men through all aspects of personal grooming and appearance. Armed with skills in fashion, entrepreneurship and marketing, he has become a grooming, fitness and lifestyle role model for men world-wide, boasting more than six million followers on YouTube.
Using this D2C strategy, Tiege Hanley built its company out loud, bolstered by YouTube to carve out a robust voice in the marketplace with its educational and friendly online presence. The company says it made 8-digit revenue in 2018 just two years after launching and has achieved 40-50% year over year growth while Tiege Hanley increases in size and scale.
Why We’re Watching: The concept behind Tiege Hanley is simple—regular guys inspired by real life experience, insight and a desire to do good for fellow men. This dedication has led to a trend of giving back.
With more than five million cases of skin cancer diagnosed each year, it’s no surprise that this issue hits close to home for several team members. The father of one of the co-founders passed away from melanoma at age 54. Making products that protect guys from the sun’s harmful rays and donating to The Skin Cancer Foundation has been core to Tiege Hanley since day one. Its first donation to The Skin Cancer Foundation came within a few months of startup and every year since; as the company grows, so do donations.
During the pandemic, Tiege donated 36,000 ounces of hand sanitizer to the Chicago Fire Department to help keep Chicagoans and first responders healthy during the initial COVID-19 outbreak. Tiege Hanley has expanded the scope of its donation, providing free 2oz bottles of hand sanitizer to all fire, police and EMT first responders.
While COVID-19 presented many challenges, it became apparent that guys continued thinking about skin during quarantine. The company has realized 20-30% growth each month since inception and is projected to increase its lifetime value (LTV) revenue in the range of $20-$30 million by 2022.
What’s Next: Company executives insist that 2021 will be the year to expand its role as a “trusted advisor” for guys’ grooming needs and skin health. There are new products slated to earn the Skin Cancer Foundation Seal of Recommendation in 2021. An expanded array of membership benefits is also on the way. Finally, the indie brand is partnering with the UIC Pop Up Pantry and has more charitable plans for 2021 that will empower men in underserved communities.
Year Founded: 2013
Dr. PawPaw’s hero products are a range of multipurpose balms for skin lips, eyes and cheeks that harness the power of the “wonder” ingredient pawpaw to soothe, nourish and protect skin. All balms feature the trio of ingredients: pawpaw (aka papaya fruit), aloe vera (anti-inflammatory) and olive oil (antioxidant). The products are also fragrance-free, vegan, cruelty-free (certified by PETA) and gluten-free.
Names to Know: Co-Founders Pauline and Johnny Paterson
Major Products: Original Multipurpose Soothing Balm, Tinted Balms, Scrub & Nourish
Hero Product: Original Multipurpose Soothing Balm
Find It: in the US at Ulta Beauty/Ulta.com, CVS Pharmacy (in-store and online), Amazon
What’s New: Age Renewal Hand Creams
Brand Back Story: Dr. PawPaw was created in the UK in 2013 when founders Johnny and Pauline Paterson’s young daughter was diagnosed with eczema; it was then that the need for a natural alternative to the normal steroid prescription creams turned a want into a must.
According to Pauline Paterson, “I grew up with pawpaw balm in Australia, and I knew you couldn’t get it as easily outside of Australia. Our daughter had eczema at six months old, and all the doctors were recommending steroid creams because we tried the normal products on shelf, and they didn’t work, but you don’t really want to put steroid cream on your baby. I had some pawpaw balm that I got traveling in Australia, and it worked.”
As a result, the brand launched Original Multipurpose Soothing Balm which has since become a global bestseller. The formula is for skin, hair, beauty finishing and cuticles along with lips. One of the iconic yellow tubes sells every minute worldwide!
“The lip balm market is a female-dominated market, but we wanted to appeal to men as well because they use lip balm,” Pauline Paterson told Happi. “My husband and I created it, and I had his input into whether he’d pick up the tube and use it himself. He’d pick up and use the yellow tube, and that’s why we did it. We wanted it to look heritage to appeal to all ages. We didn’t want to make it too young so only teenagers would want it, but parents and grandparents wouldn’t. We just want to be for everybody.”
She continued, “What was happening in the market back then was there were a lot of big brands around, but there weren’t any new indie brands, and that got us recognized. We also had a multipurpose product. It made you look good and improved your lips with nourishment, but you could use it for so many other things. Most lip balms were just lip balms.”
Why We’re Watching: A favorite of celebrities and makeup artists alike, Dr. PawPaw launched in Ulta Beauty and CVS Pharmacy in the US in 2020. The company continues to innovate using the hero ingredient, pawpaw, expanding the range of vegan, gluten-free, and cruelty-free products, formulated with ingredients that are sustainably and ethically sourced. Plus, the brand’s advocacy for using just one 100% recyclable tube for multiple beauty purposes supports long-term eco-sustainability.
What’s Next: Dr. PawPaw’s main mission to create multi-use skin and body products for all, but also to support organizations for social good and change; social action will continue to be at the forefront of the brand’s efforts worldwide and in the US in 2021.
Year Founded: 2009
Timeless Skin Care is known for specialty serums made with high concentrations of active ingredients, without unnecessary fillers, dyes, chemicals, fragrances or parabens. The company believes that hydrated skin is healthy skin, using hyaluronic acid-based formulas that are simple, effective and affordable.
Names to Know:
, Formulator and Founder Alex Pedersen
Major Products: HA Matrixyl 3000 Hydrating Sprays, The Calmer Vitamin B5 Serum, The Brightener 20% Vitamin C + E Ferulic Acid Serum, The Defender CoEnzyme Q10 Serum
Hero Product: The Brightener 20% Vitamin C + E Ferulic Acid Serum
Find It: www.timelessha.com, Amazon, Target.com, PepperJam Affiliate Program
What’s New: Mini bottles of 1ml serums.
Brand Back Story: Husband and wife team Alex and Veronica Pedersen started Timeless in their kitchen during The Great Recession. Based on their research and results with hyaluronic acid, Alex formulated the first Timeless HA serum to promote vibrant, healthy skin. At the time, HA was not widely available and was considered an exclusive, expensive ingredient, they recalled, but Alex and Veronica were dedicated to creating skin care products that were effective and affordable, giving everyone access to quality skin care.
Without taking out a loan or relying on investors, the Pedersens grew the brand organically online, starting with Etsy, and letting the products speak for themselves through word-of-mouth, testimonials and online distribution.
Each product uses simple formulas with key active ingredients including hyaluronic acid, Matrixyl 3000, vitamin C, vitamin B5, squalane, coenzyme Q10 and Matrixyl Synthe 6 to boost skin health, reverse the signs of aging and protect from future damage.
Customers can use products alone, layer them or incorporate them into any skin care routine. Today, Timeless Skin Care is a global brand, having served millions of dedicated skin care lovers around the world.
Why We’re Watching: At only 35 years old, CEO and Founder Veronica Pedersen is a veteran when it comes to running a beauty business during tough economic times. The daughter of Guatemalan immigrants, Veronica’s story is one of overcoming tremendous obstacles to build a successful beauty brand with a global following.
Against a devastating retail landscape for many new and legacy brands, Timeless has successfully navigated the pandemic. By increasing online engagement with customers, launching on the marketing affiliate program, Pepperjam as well as Target.com, Timeless is recording the highest sales ever in its 10-year history.
Led by a proud Latina, Veronica Pedersen cares deeply about creating a legacy and partnering with like-minded retailers. Big news for the indie brand was its retail distribution deal with Target online in 2020.
“We are excited for the opportunity to partner with one of America’s leading retailers, who aligns with our values, allowing us to meet our diverse customers where they shop,” said Pedersen. “Target is forging new pathways to make emerging, clean beauty brands more accessible.”
Green initiatives include Timeless’ recent partnership with TerraCycle, offering consumers an easy, complimentary recycling service. In fact, Timeless is very committed to reducing its carbon footprint. The serum and pure line products are packaged in recyclable glass or porcelain bottles, while the rest of the packaging can now be recycled through the brand’s partnership with TerraCycle. Any Timeless customer can participate in the free program, which involves completing a simple form to receive the free envelope and mailing label, and then filling the envelope with up to three Timeless plastic products to mail in, postage free.
What’s Next: New products will launch in 2021.
Year Founded: 1963
Some indie brands have been at it for some time…five, 10 years. RCMA, a professional makeup company, has been in business independently for 57 trips around the sun! RCMA was founded by makeup artist Vincent JR Kehoe to better serve the professional makeup needs in film, television and fashion industries. RCMA products are vegan, cruelty-free, and created with stringent, small batch conditions and exact color standards for consistent performance. It is a favorite among professionals for its adherence to standards, high-quality and performance, according to the cosmetics company.
Names to Know: Vincent JR Kehoe, founder; JR Kehoe and Christian Kehoe, grandsons to founder and current owners
Major Products: The 18-part “VK” foundation palettes are professional makeup kit staples, No-Color Powder, 5 Part Palettes, Cream Cheek Colors, Highlight/Contour Palettes, Illuminating Sticks.
Hero Product: RCMA’s “No-Color” Setting Powder has become a cult favorite in the industry. According to JR Kehoe, it is a universal setting powder that won’t alter your final look and won’t cause flashback.
Find It: Beauty stores internationally and in the US, full list of retailers available at RCMAmakeup.com
What’s New: “The Original” No-Color Powder and Translucent Powder were recently released in new packaging
Brand Back Story: The Research Council of Makeup Artists (RCMA) was organized to serve the betterment of professional makeup in the film, television, and stage industries. In doing so, company founder Vincent JR Kehoe developed and designed Color Process Foundation, a special foundation formula for professional makeup artists, which is still considered the number one choice for professionals today. RCMA products are all vegan and cruelty-free, and are created with stringent, small batch conditions and exact color standards for consistent performance each time. RCMA’s product line is a favorite among professionals for its adherence to standards, high-quality, and performance.
Why We’re Watching: RCMA Makeup can be found in nearly every makeup artist’s kit and is a favorite among professionals for its adherence to standards, high-quality, and performance. According to JR Kehoe, “We are family owned and operated for 57 years. We make everything in house, right here in California, no third party labs. That way we can keep our standards high.”
What’s Next: 2021 will be a big year for RCMA, as according to Christian Kehoe, the indie beauty brand has many new products in the works, specifically formulas that blur the line between professional and consumer use. “They will be made for the pros but with more of a consumer appeal,” he said.