As summer arrives, Coola is attempting to move beyond it.
The sun-care brand is pushing into color cosmetics with the release of SPF 30 Mineral Liplux in a bid to extend its reach outside of the peak months for sunblocks in the spring and summer. The lip tints build on the success of SPF 30 Organic Matte Makeup Setting Spray, which launched last year and reinforced to Coola that beauty shoppers are willing to experiment with products bridging makeup and sun protection.
“In the past, our products were really geared toward seasonality. Most people didn’t perceive the products as having a daily use unless they were doing an activity like running or going to the beach. When we launched Makeup Setting Spray that for us was really huge. It opened up a whole new channel,” said Coola founder Chris Birchby. “We are looking at these SPF-related beauty products as another great expansion into year-round formulas. We want people to wear healthy sunscreen year-round.”
It took Coola two-and-a-half years to perfect Mineral Liplux. The water-resistant formula contains 70 percent organic ingredients, comes in six sheer shades and is priced at $18. “There is a limited spectrum of colors in minerals and, when you’re competing with fantastic lip products that have a lot of color, your hands are tied a bit, but we are used to those challenges,” said Birchby. “We think the colors have really great staying power for being natural.”
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In addition to Mineral Liplux and Makeup Setting Spray, SPF from Coola products that overlap with makeup are the BB cream Mineral Face SPF 30 Rosilliance and Daydream SPF 30 Mineral Makeup Primer. Going forward, Birchby suggested Coola would continue to enlarge its merchandise portfolio in cosmetics and delve into skin care with products that encourage regular application because they don’t have the pasty consistency and chalky white look of traditional sunscreens.
“We are working on multifunctional healthy products that simplify your life, and are better for your skin and the environment,” he said. “We do see a big future for the Coola brand in the beauty category. Even though there are a lot of other brands in the category, we think we have a very unique voice.”
Birchby believes the young professional women picking up the brand at the retailers carrying it, notably Nordstrom, Sephora and Ulta, are drawn to multitasking products suiting their active lives. “They are busy and, when they are on the go, they want their beauty products in their gym bags when they are running out of the office or heading to it. We are really tapping into these engaged consumers who care about what the brand represents as well as how good the products are on their skin,” he said, elaborating sun protection is increasingly a priority for these women. “The antiaging benefits can’t be overstated. They are very much aware now that, if they are going to wear one beauty product to keep them looking as youthful as possible, a sunscreen is the only product that can do that.”
Along with the crossover products, Birchby noted Coola is spreading internationally to diversify the brand’s sales throughout the year. “We are in 40 countries, and a lot of these relationships are very young with our distribution partners. Our international business is a substantial and growing portion of our overall business,” he said. “The more international and the more year-round products that we can introduce, it will really help us to flatten our seasonal bell curve, and that is one of our major goals.”