Saie, the clean makeup line launched by blogger Laney Crowell, has raised a seed round and now counts Gwyneth Paltrow among its investors.
The business raised an undisclosed amount from Unilever Ventures, a previous investor, as well as Paltrow, G9 Ventures and Stage 1 Fund.
“We launched exclusively with Goop, so when Gwyneth personally expressed interest it was obviously so flattering and really exciting because she really understands clean and health. Those things are so important to us,” Crowell said. This is not Paltrow’s first beauty investment. Beyond Goop, she has also backed Juice Beauty and Blo Blow Dry Bar.
Saie — pronounced “say” — launched in late 2019 with a $24 mascara, $18 brow gel, $16 lip balm and lavender eyelash curler. The brand has since launched into lipgloss, highlighters and “Glowy Super Gel,” a sheer, sparkle-free illuminating product that retails for $25.
“The whole direction of our glow products is this isn’t your blinding highlighter, it’s not strobing, it’s a subtle, beautiful look that coincidentally looks amazing on Zoom calls,” Crowell said.
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This fall, the brand plans to launch its first complexion products, Crowell said, which will be created using information and feedback from the brand’s community, including a private Facebook group with members who test products in advance.
Since the coronavirus pandemic hit, Crowell said the brand has worked to provide different types of content for the community, and frequently hosts Instagram Live sessions with different content creators who talk about recipes or flower arranging or meditation. “That’s been really fun and it’s something I think we’re going to keep doing forever,” Crowell said.
Saie also started making hand sanitizer. It’s not for sale, but it goes out with every box, Crowell noted.
The Black Lives Matter movement and subsequent protests caused the brand to pause for “personal reflection” for a day. Then the team regrouped, made donations and rewrote the “Saie Standards” — the beliefs and goals of the brand — to reflect the desire to diversify the business across verticals, Crowell said.
Right now, most of Saie’s business comes from its web site, though it also sells with Goop and Follain. But Crowell said she expects “a targeted and purposeful rollout” in retail at some point in 2021.
In the meantime, the brand is connecting with customers through a newly launched text-based concierge service. Customers can text a certain phone number, and a Saie team member will answer questions or help with shade selection.
“It’s so cute, it’s the highlight of all of our days,” Crowell said.
“Amy Schumer put on Instagram that you could text her. I saw that post on Instagram and I was like, ‘That’s so cool.’ I’ve always been obsessed with this idea of frictionless communication,” Crowell said. “When I saw that post that Amy Schumer did, I was like, ‘I want to be able to text with my community, too.’ So we literally went out and bought a phone, and got a phone number, and you can text us.”
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