Beauty is getting a new celebrity player: Emily Ratajkowski.
The celebrity now has a minority stakeholder in Loops Beauty, the skin-care brand that launched prior to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. The brand also named Ratajkowski creative director; her first job being shooting the company’s new campaign, featuring herself.
“Out of all major skin-care deals, this can really take us to the next level. She has substantial equity, and we’re still the majority shareholder of the brand,” said Tushar Adya, chief executive officer and cofounder of brand incubator Syllable. “Emily’s involvement is really going to help us accelerate our brand awareness in the consumer landscape, and our focus in the fourth quarter is going to be to drive our online business.”
Loops Beauty launched in February as a joint venture between content creators Shots Studios and Syllable, with hydrogel masks for face, lips and eyes. Products range in price from $20 to $55.
Celebrity involvement in the beauty industry has been on the rise, but the partnership with Ratajkowski has been a long time coming, said Colin Peek, another cofounder of Syllable. “We designed the brand with her in mind,” Peek said.
“We don’t look to find talent and throw them next to a product. We originate a brand not only behind the white space in the market, but who is a very specific person we absolutely want to work with on the project. I reached out to Emily’s manager at the time, and we were talking about her being a cofounder in the brand. She was considering different beauty deals and was in a different place. Her manager decided that maybe it wasn’t the best time. Just as serendipitous as the world is, we launched the brand, the mask ended up being in her hands, and the conversation was reinitiated,” Peek said.
Ratajkowski will have a heavy hand in the brand’s social campaigns and marketing strategies, which were paramount to the brand’s launch. “Branding is fun for me, and it came naturally when I was starting out. I’ve done it with my own brand, and even when I’m just modeling, I like to have as much creative control as possible,” Ratajkowski said. “My next step is taking a brand that already has a cool position and good products, and developing the social and brand ambassadors to build awareness.”
Industry sources estimated the brand will bring in between $8 million and $10 million in retail sales for its first 12 months, as previously reported by WWD at the time of launch, but retail plans slated for the fall have been placed on hold due to the health crisis. According to the NPD Group, prestige skin-care sales were down 19 percent in the second quarter of this year.
“We launched the brand not knowing what the world would look like. We had certain aspirations on d-t-c and retail. Retail stores have been closed, and are all dealing with their own inventory issues,” Adya said. “While we have been able to strategically expand our distribution beyond Loops.com into Kith, Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters; the bigger distribution play for us, which is where our home is going to be, is definitely delayed,“ he added.
That being said, the brand has seen strong subscription rates through its web site, and it still has plans for new products in the pipeline within the mask segment of the market. “People take care of themselves very differently now than they did in the past,” Peek said. “We’re trying to pioneer a ‘lifestyle beauty’ space.”
Ratajkowski said the brand’s utilitarian, wellness-oriented approach to beauty was part of her draw to it. “When I was a younger teenager, I didn’t know much about beauty. In the last six years, I got super into it. Loops has a very straightforward, usable ethos. I wouldn’t have done this if I didn’t really like the product,” she said. “So, it’s come full circle.”
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