Millie Bobby Brown is one decisive 15-year-old.
The “Stranger Things” star, who is launching her first brand — Florence by Mills — said she knew in a matter of seconds when products were right (or not) during the development process for her Gen Z beauty label, which will be sold at Ulta Beauty, Boots and online.
“I’m very decisive. As soon as I make a decision, that’s my decision, and I will do it. There’s not regret, usually,” Brown said in an interview. “Every decision I make with Florence has been literally made in two or three seconds.”
“‘I hate it, I love the color, I hate the texture, what is going on,’ — it’s like immediately in my brain,” Brown said. “I don’t think about things very long, I know exactly what I want.”
Brown’s gut instinct for things that she — and others of her generation would want — has amounted to a clean skin care and makeup range with products like Zero Chill Face Mist, Swimming Under the Eye Gel Pads and Like a Light Skin Tint. The gel pads are Brown’s personal favorite, she said.
Her own line is PETA-certified, cruelty-free and vegan, and products are priced between $10 and $34. Florence also donates part of its proceeds to the Olivia Hope Foundation, which was founded in honor of Brown’s late friend, Olivia Hope LoRusso.
“I’ve been in a makeup chair since I was 10, 11 years old, and I have really been introduced to all types of products. I’ve had special effects on my face, blood, all different types of foundation…I wanted to come into the space because there was a gap in the market for young people,” Brown said.
“I guess I could never find anything that I liked to put on my face and it felt good. I’d take off my makeup and boom, another pimple would appear,” Brown said. “There are multiple different products I’ve put on that weren’t good for me. Some of those were antiaging, and I was 10 years old.”
Her message is that line would simply “be good” for Gen Z’s skin, Brown said.
Brown was interested in beauty before she started sitting regularly in makeup chairs, but wasn’t always encouraged to play with products.
“I actually wanted to be really involved [in beauty] but my mum wouldn’t allow me because obviously I was really young. I was begging my mum to let me try it, and she would not,” Brown said.
Florence is named after Brown’s great-grandmother. Mills is Brown’s nickname, something that her family and a lot of Americans have taken to calling her, she said.
“[Florence] was a really unique woman and embraced her individuality and who she was as a person. I’ve been told I’m a lot like her,” Brown said. “I felt like a brand about individuality and bravery and being truthful should be named after somebody who was all of those things.”
She included her own nickname in the line in order to be more connected to her fans, she said. “I like to be personal with my fans. I want my fans to think we have a relationship, we’ve known each other close to three years…I wanted to make them feel like it was a personal message — you have the honor of calling me my nickname,” Brown said.
And while her fame came fast after “Stranger Things,” Brown isn’t letting it go to her head, and insists that most of the time, she’s a pretty regular teenager.
“I don’t surround myself with people that tell me I’m great; I think that’s the key, that’s something everyone should do,” Brown said. “My parents, my whole family, are with me, and I come home and they treat me like I’m normal, which is exactly what I want.”
“If you’re in my house and you saw what I’m doing every day, you would say, ‘that’s every other 15-year-old girl.’ I play Mario Kart. I do my school every single day. I’m told off,” Brown continued.
That normalcy — and consistently being herself — have helped Brown stay down to earth, she noted. “What you see is really what you get. I can’t pretend to be anyone else by myself. I’m outspoken, I’m really loud, and I never let anyone silence me,” Brown said.
While she’s worked on product collaborations before and fronted different brands, Florence is Brown’s first business endeavor.
She’s launching it with Beach House, the company that’s also behind Kendall Jenner’s oral-care brand Moon, and Shay Mitchell’s luggage line Béis. As part of the model, all celebrities working with Beach House have an equity position in their brands, said Shaun Neff, Beach House founder.
Beach House focuses on product collaborations with celebrities and influencers who have dedicated follower bases and distinct points of view. Mitchell, for example, has been vlogging about traveling for years, Neff said, making a luggage collection a natural fit. As a model Jenner is always on the move — that’s why she needs the on-the-go, teeth-whitening pen she helped conceptualize for Moon, he said.
With Florence, Beach House saw “a perfect opportunity to focus on creating a color and skin-care brand for Gen Z created by one of their own,” Neff said, noting that Brown “probably has more influence over Gen Z than anyone else in the world.”
“Nowadays, I feel like all celebrities want a brand, personalities want to be a part of something, because there’s this massive opportunity there to create meaningful companies,” Neff said. “It sounds crazy, but if I went through the list of celebrities and personalities that we’ve met with that have wanted to do brands with us, doing four would seem like we’re passing on everything…we want to work with people who understand this is a business.”
Another Beach House brand is expected to launch this fall, and several more are in the pipeline. Beach House is backed by a group of friends and family investors, including founder Ido Leffler, the serial entrepreneur behind Yes To and Brandless.
“If you look at the traditional brands in all industries — whether it’s food, beauty, apparel — a lot of these older models are dying and a bit dinosaur-ish,” Neff said. But today, there’s an opportunity to create products with personalities as part of the marketing arm, he noted.
“The world’s changing to where as long as we can hire the right people and put best-in-class talent on these teams, like a Shay Mitchell or a Kendall Jenner or a Millie Bobby Brown, it can instantly get global awareness and scale these things,” Neff said. “That’s kind of our model.”
Over the next 12 months, industry sources estimated that Beach House brands would be doing about $100 million in sales.
“It’s not a new concept, matching a known person with product,” Neff noted, calling out the Michael Jordan Nike collaboration, “but I think there are very few people who can do it right.”
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