Natural skin-care brand Derma E has hired Brenda Wu, formerly U.S. general manager for SkinCeuticals, as chief executive officer.
Derma E makes natural, vegan and cruelty-free skin-care products. Wu joins the business shortly after it was acquired by Topix Pharmaceuticals Inc., which also owns physician channel brands Replenix Glycolix and Resurfix.
“I was really attracted to the authenticity of the story,” Wu said of Derma E. “They were one of the pioneers in terms of cruelty-free, vegan, non-GMO, no soy, no parabens, and they really pioneered this term eco-ethical — [meaning] products that are good for you and the environment.”
Wu, who will be in charge of the brand’s overall strategy and growth, joins from L’Oréal, where she worked for a variety of brands. During her time at SkinCeuticals, the brand became the number-one professional skin-care brand in the U.S. She also worked at Giorgio Armani Beauty, Lancôme and Kiehl’s. Before that, she worked in retail merchandising at Banana Republic, in digital marketing at AOL Time Warner and in consulting at Bain & Co.
Derma E is sold through natural grocery stores, including Whole Foods, as well as through Ulta Beauty. The brand recently launched hair and body products, Wu said, and is looking at potentially adding new categories.
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“We have a tremendous opportunity to grow the business through digital as well as through more traditional retailers as they take more of an interest in clean beauty,” Wu said. [We’re focused on] accelerating the rate of product innovation, new ingredients, new technologies, new categories and really accelerating in digital and social.”
One example is ramping up its influencer strategy, Wu said, which has existed but not in a large way. At a recent event, Derma E brought together 100 influencers in California for a day of hair braiding and skin analysis to showcase the brand’s lifestyle tie-ins, she noted.
“We’re looking to do a lot more influencer marketing,” Wu said. “There’s so much interest in the lifestyle that the brand represents.”