Alessandra Steinherr

LONDON — Alessandra Steinherr, who began her career at Cosmopolitan and Glamour magazines and went on to become a beauty and makeup influencer, has founded her own skin-care line, Alex Steinherr x Primark.

With 186,000 followers on Instagram and plenty of background in skin care, Steinherr is seen as a trusted source, with many fans tuning in to her weekly Instagram live-stream, “The Sunday Facial,” where she introduces products.

“I’ve been doing it for a while now, and the feedback that I’d gotten was, ‘Alex, that’s really nice but I can’t afford 60 pounds for a serum.’ So while I had always gone on performance over price, I know for a real customer, that’s a big purchasing consideration,” Steinherr said, adding that it was these messages that pushed her to create an affordable skin-care line.

Despite her love for, and ties with, luxury beauty brands, Steinherr took an unconventional route and decided to partner with Primark, best known for its inexpensive fashion.

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On the first day of the global launch in October 2018, a product was sold every three seconds. She added two products, Pollution Solution Dual Texture Exfoliating Pads and Pollution Solution City Mask, to the line last month and will launch One-Step Night Cleanse at the end of March.

Steinherr had already been consulting on Primark’s beauty line, so the retailer became a natural partner, able to produce at scale and meet her stringent quality checklist. She has set out to make products that are paraben-, fragrance-, and cruelty-free, vegan friendly and without essential oils. According to Steinherr, more and more people have sensitive skin.

“Primark has scale and the breadth to have made this possible, there are no marketing or budgeting costs, and all the money goes into the formula. And they were able to produce these products according to what I wanted. For a brand like Primark, I really commend them because they had to open themselves up to get checked constantly by regulators,” Steinherr said.

The retailer was a good fit because of its diverse demographic: Male and female shoppers who range in age from 13 to 70. Steinherr said she spends a lot of her time at stores and has created products for more than just her social media followers, who are between 23 and 35 years old. With the Primark collection, she’s looking to serve teenagers, men and mature shoppers.

Being inclusive is important to her, which is why the line launched with 17 products she describes as basics. She’s also created pimple stickers for teenagers that are thin enough to wear under makeup. Steinherr said it’s important for her to be able to speak to the makeup customer and get them into the habit of skin care.

“Primark allows me to do that from a disposable-income perspective. If you’re spending all your money on makeup and clothes, there isn’t much left for skin care,” she said. The products range in price from 3 pounds to 6 pounds.

“I’ve also got something for the skin-tellectuals and people who can only manage two steps in their skin-care regime. I also wanted something really easy, because Primark is self-service, you haven’t got Alex there and Primark is a grab-and-go place,” she added.

To cater to that, Steinherr has kept the packaging minimal with straightforward and fuss-free instructions, which are even more essential to the brand’s add-on products.

“All the products are a blend of different molecular weights, but gentle and work on helping to keep the skin barrier healthy. We developed everything from scratch, and our new sheet masks have been developed with a manufacturer in Korea,” she said.

According to Steinherr, both women and men have sought out her products. The pore balance range is popular with men, while her Plump and Glow collection is popular among older customers.

Steinherr said she is still in awe of the positive feedback she gets from her Instagram followers; however, she’s taking her success with caution and said it’s the repeat purchase that counts.

“I had no concept of what to expect in terms of response and I take it so to heart when people [direct-message] me showing me they bought a product. But it’s when people repurchase, that’s when you know they’re really enjoying it. Buying something once is great, but then you’re a one-hit wonder. It’s the repeat purchase that excites me more than anything,” she said.

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