When she launched Testament Beauty last year, Sophia Chabbott started small with two masks. Now, she’s thinking bigger.
The former editor, who counts experience at Saks Fifth Avenue, WWD and Glamour under her belt, is bringing her beauty brand’s Mediterranean-diet-for-the-face mentality to new product categories. Testament is introducing its first daily-use products, the Ancient Vine Vitality Serum and the Damascena Rose De-Stress Moisturizer, which will debut respectively for $120 and $88 online with Neiman Marcus, Macy’s, Anthropologie and the brand’s own site. The serum will bow in October, with the moisturizer to follow in the winter.
Just over a year in, the brand’s DNA has proven resonant with consumers and retailers alike. “I have always been super into skin care and as an editor for over 15 years, I had a unique vantage point across different categories,” Chabbott said. “When I opened my vanity, all these little jars and bottles were about antiaging, preventing, correcting and that kind of language left me with a ‘gotta-fix-this’ mentality that didn’t feel great. There was a lot of clutter and complication right there in my vanity. I had an epiphany that I wanted a skin care practice that was intuitive, products that use garden-grown ingredients, one that felt positive and provided results. It was a eureka moment.”
What Chabbott has coined the “Mediterranean diet for the face” informed every step of the brand’s creation, from naturally minded ingredients to the packaging itself. “The Mediterranean diet and culture aspect, it connects to so many people across so many different cultures. Over past years, the conversations I’ve had with customers, retailers and influencers — there’s a sense of familiarity,” said Chabbott. “It’s like this idea of sitting down at a table, enjoying a meal with friends and family. This idea makes people feel comfortable, it brings people together. I want customers to feel like they’re coming home when they’re using my products.
“I also went back to my heritage,” she continued. “I remember going to my great-grandmother’s house — that kitchen, garden, the Mediterranean diet experience was a foundational part of my childhood. She used plants from the garden to make skin care. The Turkish coffee mask is a direct reference to her, she had the most amazing Turkish coffee.”
Testament launched in July 2021 with the two masks — an exfoliator with Turkish coffee, and a Moroccan chamomile sleeping mask — as a Saks exclusive. Tapping into the strength of the store has been integral to scaling the business. “Even when you think of the power of search engine optimization, those partnerships even boost the ranking of testamentbeauty.com. Digital touch points are so powerful, and our retailers have partnered with us to scale,” she said.
Chabbott didn’t rule out expanding Testament’s brick-and-mortar footprint. “We have talked with some of our partners about testing in key doors across the country,” she said. “Everything is designed to pop on a website and on social [media], but there’s nothing like seeing and feeling a tactile product in person. Both are important.”
From an innovation perspective, Chabbott’s game plan was to launch with the products that came with instant results and gratification. With shoppers hooked on the brand, she’s focusing on daily-use products to boost retention rates. “Replenishment rates on masks just aren’t what they are for daily use products,” she said. The focus is on “getting Testament Beauty into our routines, morning and night,” she said.
“I wanted [consumers] to know they were getting value with Testament Beauty, you could see the results right away and increased results with continued use,” Chabbott continued. “With daily-use products, it takes a week, two weeks to really get that impact. We’ve proven ourselves with our two products, they’ve become cult favorites. With these new ones, Testament Beauty will be in our customers’ everyday lives.”
Industry sources estimate the two launches will surpass $1 million in retail sales for their first 12 months on the market, though Chabbott didn’t comment on the projections. Given consumers’ initial response to the brand, though, she is bullish. “The directness of our approach with the first two products resonated with customers. People saw results right away and they enjoyed the experience,” Chabbott said. “While we’re about a direct approach, our packaging speaks to us giving a holistic approach. The packaging doubles as decor. Customers post on Instagram about using our vessels as jewelry catches, I sometimes grow herbs in my jars. The formulas having the impact that they do, and that holistic approach, is working.”
The moisturizer includes damascena rose, along with chamomile extract and probiotics, and was developed with all skin types in mind. The Ancient Vine Vitality Serum, a multipurpose face oil, includes grapeseed oil, vitamin C, raspberry seed and pumpkin seed oils for a nutrient-packed punch of moisture.
Chabbott’s top priority is supercharging Testament’s brand awareness, given that her client runs the gamut across ages, demographics and geographies. “We’re a brand that doesn’t currently take outside investment. The biggest challenges lie with building up to gain brand recognition,” she said. “What’s sticking is that holistic experience, plus the idea of people connecting to the brand in an intuitive way.”