The Outset, the skin care line cofounded by Scarlett Johansson, has inked its first retail partnership.
The brand is entering into all U.S. Sephora doors on Tuesday, as well as on the retailer’s website. Prices range from $32 to $54, and the lineup includes a micellar cleanser, a vegan collagen serum, a squalane moisturizer, niacinamide night cream and vitamin C eye cream.
The Outset drew inspiration from French pharmacy staples, and its value proposition is meant to stand alone from its cofounder’s fame.
“We see ourselves as an indie brand with a superpower, as opposed to a ‘celebrity brand,'” said Kate Foster Lengyel, the brand’s cofounder and chief executive officer, which informed the decision for the brand launch direct on its own website. “We’re really looking at getting some data, and taking it one step at a time. But we do think there’s potential, we’ve seen a lot of interest in the brand.”
Consumers range across genders and generations, though Foster Lengyel said between ages 25 and 45 were The Outset’s sweet spot. Star power aside, what attracts customers is its versatile nature.
“We were trying to go back to the basics with this perfect white T of skin care, since there are so many actives out there,” Foster Lengyel said. “That’s what that consumer was missing, and that seemed like an opportunity in the Sephora portfolio, this foundation of everyday skin care that can work with any other products out there.”
Although beauty has seen a surge of celebrity entrants, Foster Lengyel said saturation created a need for no-fuss products. “It’s undeniable there’s a ton of traction happening in celebrity beauty,” she said. “It also feels like noise. That clutter is really where our opportunity lies, creating a brand that is really about paring back and returning to the essentials.”
Echoed Johansson in an email, “What we are offering from The Outset is what we’ve heard that the consumer is missing in their routines: a clean, nonirritating line of essentials that is the everyday foundation for great skin.”
It’s that ethos that attracted Sephora. “We’re always looking to make skin care simple for the American market, because when you look at Asia, the U.S. is not a very advanced skin care usage or knowledge-based market. So when we have a brand that simplifies skin care, where the founder is willing to tell the story, that’s a compelling one,” said Priya Venkatesh, senior vice president of skin and hair care merchandising at Sephora.
Although Sephora has several brands founded by celebrities, such as Selena Gomez’s Rare Beauty, Gwen Stefani’s Gxve Beauty and Fenty Beauty by Rihanna, Venkatesh stressed that a big name wasn’t enough to score shelf space.
“There are a lot of celebrity brands out there, and for every 10, we take maybe two or three,” she added. “It’s not like we’re launching these brands because they’re celebrity brands…the first thing we look for is if the product is disruptive, superior quality, innovative, and going to surprise our customer as a stand-alone without the name.”
Foster Lengyel declined to comment on sales, although industry sources expect the brand to reach $10 million at retail for its first year on the market.
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