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Personal-Care Brands Are Evolving From Commoditized to Cool

Loey Lane of Love AnyBody, Aaron Paas of Wildist and Lauren Steinberg of Queen V spoke at WWD BeautyVest.

The personal-care category is evolving from consisting of commoditized utility products purchased mainly on the basis of price to a diverse segment with a wide array of sophisticated, specialized offerings for many different, specific consumer groups.

Loey Lane of body-positive body-care line Love AnyBody, Aaron Paas of Wildist and Lauren Steinberg of Queen V are all new founders in the personal-care arena. Each brand, from stretch mark creams and chafe ointments to natural deodorants and toothpaste to vagina care, is innovating in the personal-care space, bringing new offerings to what was until very recently, a stale category monopolized by big CPG companies.

Here, Lane, Paas and Steinberg speak to why they founded their brands.

Loey Lane, influencer and founder, Love AnyBody

Love AnyBody is a body-positive lifestyle brand founded by Lane through the incubator Brandable. It launched in Target in April, and has since expanded to Amazon. Products are inspired by Lane’s work as a body positive influencer, including a stretch mark serum, $10.99 and antichafe stick, $8.99. “Growing up in the middle of Georgia, I was fascinated by all things beauty and fashion, but I had never found anyone who looked like me to look up.” As an influencer, Lane once hid her true size and never showed her full body to her followers. “I thought it was a huge secret that I was a plus-size woman.” She ultimately became comfortable with, and is now associated with body positivity. Lane’s idea for her line was inspired by herself as a young girl. “That girl didn’t have access to products like these, and the more we expand the more improve the ability to reach people and expand our community we can learn more about what people want from these products. [Consumers] are really the bosses. They say, ‘These are the things we struggle with and the products we need to care for our bodies.'”

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Aaron Paas, chief executive officer and founder, Wildist 

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Wildist was founded by Paas, a former executive at Procter & Gamble and Etsy, as a modernized personal-care brand. Wildist, which sells direct-to-consumer on its e-commerce site and launched in 2018 with toothpaste and deodorant, is developing skin care and has plans to launch into “eventually every category of personal care.” Said Paas, “For over 100 years, personal-care products were seen as a commodity, something you bought on autopilot with basic claims to basic branding. Over the past 10 years, we’ve seen the concept of chemistry customization take hold, formulas customized for you with your name on it at prices that communicate this item is definitely not a commodity. At Wildist, we think the market is going in a different direction within the multibillion-dollar personal-care categories, and we’re just at the beginning of the hyperproliferation of the long tail by emerging brands, targeted enough to feel like they were made specifically for you at a price you can afford.” Paas this year also launched a private label contract manufacturing business to help the new wave of personal-care brands get to market faster.

Lauren Steinberg, founder and CEO, Queen V

Steinberg has spent her entire life talking about vaginas — her father is a gynecologist. Now, she is looking to liven up the women’s intimate health category, which for years has been dominated by brands like Summer’s Eve and Vagisil, and has recently seen modernized entrants such as Lo Bosworth’s Love Wellness. Steinberg’s Queen V is another Brandable-incubated brand. The products, such as the Swipe Right feminine wipes, $7.99, and the V Bar, a pH-balanced cleansing bar, launched in April 2018 in 4,100 Walmart doors, and are now sold at retailers such as Target, CVS and Urban Outfitters. The packaging is a bright neon, meant to “stand out on shelf and empower women to buy the products and use them. Also key are the formulas, made with better-for you ingredients,” Steinberg said. But mainly, “Queen V’s main mission is to destigmatize the word vagina.”