Enrico Frezza has a need for speed — be it on a racetrack or building a brand.
Peace Out Skincare, the brand he launched in 2017, has exploded in popularity — no surprise given Frezza’s affinity for rapid acceleration.
The Italian-born Frezza comes from a family of race car enthusiasts. His father loved the sport, and his brother, Marco, is a professional driver with major wins under his belt, including first place at the International Grand Tourer Open in 2010. Frezzo himself got his first go-kart when he was six years old (it was able to reach speeds of 90 miles per hour), and hasn’t slowed down since, whether he’s taking a lap around a track or driving the growth of one of beauty’s fastest-growing skin care brands. For him, there isn’t a big difference between the two.
“One of the things about racing that I find in business is the unknown — not knowing what’s going to happen,” he said. “When you’re driving, you put on your helmet, race and hope that everything goes smoothly — that you don’t crash, or that somebody doesn’t crash into you. It’s the same thing in business.”
Frezza described the feeling of going fast as one of sheer exhilaration, “the rush, when you start the engine, breaking out at the last second and turning corners with an extremely high G-Force,” he said. “It’s all adrenaline.” His brand is also quickly gaining speed. According to Peace Out, sales at Sephora’s shops-in-shop with Kohl’s are three times higher than original projections, where it’s also the top acne brand. Although Frezza wouldn’t comment on overall sales, industry sources expect Peace Out to reach a global retail sales volume of between $40 million and $50 million this year.
While the brand started out in acne, it has been going deeper into the antiaging category as of late, first with the launch of a Retinol Eye Stick, which quickly sold out and inspired the creation of the upcoming Retinol Face Stick. International expansion is also on track. Peace Out launched in the U.K. at Boots and Flannels; in Canada with Holt Renfrew, and in Southeast Asia via Sephora, all of which has helped the company drive a 90 percent year-over-year sales increase.
Frezza gave up racing competitively when he was 17, ultimately choosing to pursue his education and career outside of his native Italy. But the agility that he developed through competitive driving has served him well in business. “Coming from out of the pandemic, we’ve been transitioning in terms of consumer shopping habits,” he said, noting that the brand’s strategy has evolved from digital-first to channel agnostic. “There’s more of a balance between the two,” he said.
The pandemic was Frezza’s scariest moment as an entrepreneur, by far. “It was terrifying because we didn’t know if we were going to survive,” he said of the early days. “We didn’t know that dot-com was going to pick up the sales from in-store, so we had built a lot of worst case scenarios, like having to let the team go. Thankfully, we didn’t have to do that, and we actually doubled our team.”
When Frezza was 15, he also hit a wall in his racing career — literally. After a tire blowout, Frezza collided with a wall at 240 miles an hour. “Going from that speed to zero in such a short amount of time, your brain moves inside your skull,” he said. “I didn’t pass out, but I was really confused for a couple minutes and in so much pain.”
That wasn’t enough to deter him, though. It was only after he saw a peer break his collarbone and shoulder in a crash that Frezza decided to forgo his dreams of becoming a Ferrari Formula One driver. (It remains his favorite car today.) Still, old habits die hard. “When I first moved to Florida for college, I got caught speeding four times,” laughed the entrepreneur, who likes to tools around his hometown in Lake Tahoe in a Porsche Panamera GTS. “Now I try to be more conservative with my driving.”
FOR MORE FROM WWD.COM, SEE: