New year, new frontier.
Dove, the Unilever-owned mass beauty brand, is weighing new ways to ignite purpose, in addition to introducing product innovations for the new year ahead, said its director, Leslie Miller, who started at the brand last year.
“I came to a business with a very pleasing performance. As a team, we’ve been very happy with how we’ve been able to navigate COVID[-19], and skin care and body care are really fun categories,” Miller said. “We’re taking advantage of the fun that’s coming from self-care as a movement and trying to bring constant newness and innovation to our consumers who are always, in beauty, looking for the next new thing.”
The brand’s command on cleansing was already strong — WWD reported last year that it sells 26 of its hero beauty bars per second — and only stood to benefit from the pandemic.
“Hand wash had its day in the sun,” Miller said. “At a humorous level, cleansing had its heyday for all the right reasons. Everything from our beauty bar to body wash was used as a means to keep yourself clean,” she said, adding that Dove also launched an antibacterial range.
Moving forward, though, the brand has turned its attention back to purpose. Two years ago, it created the CROWN Act, an acronym for Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair. It is designed to protect employees from discrimination on the basis of race-based hairstyles. This year, Dove is focusing on body positivity, an area that it has had a dominant voice in with its campaign for real beauty which started in 2004.
“We all have our own personal journeys, and my sister unfortunately had a pretty significant fight with an eating disorder. At the heart of my mission and the brand’s mission is the self-esteem movement, and everything we do sits in the lens of making women’s lives better,” Miller said.
To that end, the brand added to its Body Love collection last month — seven stock keeping units targeting concerns from acne to anti-aging, all priced at $7.99. “We’re bringing face care to body,” Miller said. “The hyaluronic acids, the salicylic acids for those that have acne concerns, the peptides, and the serums — all those powerful ingredients that make your skin feel luxurious on the face can now be luxurious on the body.”
Miller is also eyeing new ways to package products with sustainability in mind, especially given its parent company’s promises. In 2020, Unilever promised to become carbon neutral by 2039.
“We are looking every day at what does beauty mean to the polycultural consumer, the ‘Gen-Zennial,’ the Boomer, and how do we bring them a confident, powerful way to look at beauty,” Miller said. “It’s a post-COVID[-19] world where sustainability is an extremely important topic. Beauty has become even more present because of what TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat have done in terms of personal presentation.
“We’re looking at innovations and movements, and how do we commit as part of Unilever’s commitment, and the brand’s commitment to truly look at plastic reduction in a new way,” she continued. “It’s about investing in telling these stories, so that we can truly change the women’s self-esteem movement and, frankly, sustainability for the future of the world.”
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