Former “Power Rangers” actress Jennifer Yen charged into the beauty business 10 years ago with the launch of Purlisse. The line was inspired by her grandmother’s Asian beauty rituals that harness ingredients to restore her skin’s health aggravated by heavy on-set makeup. Purlisse resonated with consumers looking for Asian beauty and sales are on path to do $10 million by end of year.
Yen hopes to find success again with the debut of Yensa, a new brand infused with eight superfoods. She’s stacking the deck using the number eight (her favorite number and one that is associated with prosperity and infinite possibilities in Asian cultures) on her packaging, in the number of superfoods — and the first item in the line debuts on Oct. 8. The launch extends her reach beyond skin care into color cosmetics fused with skin-care properties.
“There are a lot of superfood-derived skin-care brands, but there’s not superfood-infused complexion cosmetics,” Yen stated. “Ours is superfood science infused into cosmetics. It is creating an entirely new category,” she said.
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Industry sources estimated Yensa can achieve sales of $2 million in the first year. Yen did not comment on projections.
The inspiration for Yensa (which means color and face in Chinese and passion and desire in English) once again came from a need to improve her skin health, this time after having a baby. “I was exhausted and again I was faced with skin issues,” she said. Although her family had always lived a superfood lifestyle, her mom showed her how the black superfoods could restore her energy. “That gave me inspiration to start a superfood cosmetic.”
Yensa is centered on complexion products versus Purlisse’s skin-care focus. First up is the Tone Up Primer-Essential Glow ($35). “It is a luminous, essential glow primer using the eight black superfoods. It gives you a glow-from-within look. It is skin hydration — but it also prolongs foundation wear.” Beyond the Black Superfoods Collection, November will extend into Orange Superfoods with Pumpkin + Turmeric-2-in-1 Radiance Polishing Mask ($48). Yen has a goal to keep Yensa affordable with plans to not exceed a $65 price point.
Additionally, Yen plans to provide clinical research supporting key items in the lineup. “We are really targeting a woman who wants to know ‘what is this product really going to do for me?’ We want to be able to back that up with scientific and clinical claims.”
Each superfood was handpicked by Yen for a specific benefit such as pumpkin to boost collagen, turmeric to soothe skin, honey sugar blend to retain moisture and papaya to help with discoloration. Next year, Yensa will expand into a full complexion range.
While Asian beauty may have gained traction in America recently, the concept is more than just a trend, Yen said. “I’m glad to see beauty focusing on it. Asian beauty rituals and superfoods are not researched for 10 or 15 years, rather they have been used by generations of women for over 5,000 years and what’s better than beauty secrets that have been time-tested for this long?”
Yensa is starting out direct-to-consumer with plans for a retail rollout next year. “We believe in direct and digital first in this day and age,” Yen said.
Based on past success with Purlisse, Yensa is being launched in conjunction with beauty subscription service Ipsy. “Their customers have grown up with Purlisse and have been really loyal, so we believe that the customers’ journey has changed and is looking for results-oriented products.”
Ipsy’s hybrid platform allows us to engage with consumers in a rich and dynamic way.” Yen said the Tone Up Primer will be samples in 500,000 bags via Ipsy’s October Glam Bag. “Ipsy creates awesome content and they provide data and real feedback. They are able to generate a lot of reviews in a short amount of time. And their customers are no longer just Millennials —they’ve grown up.”
Yen said she’s learned a lot through trial and error over the decade she’s been a beauty entrepreneur. “I can bring my new brand up bigger and faster,” she said.