LONDON — The restlessly creative Thea Green, founder of Nails Inc., and latterly, Inc.redidble Cosmetics, which includes sheet masks, jelly highlighters and sparkly lip gloss, is tapping into the mood of the moment once again with plans to launch an eclectic, Gen Z-focused collection in partnership with Boots.
The collection, called My Mood, has been in the works for about three years and is set to land on shelves in May, first with a pop-up at Topshop, then at Boots in the U.K. and later in the U.S. at Walgreens.
Inspired by Gen Z shopping habits and built around data and feedback from that target audience, My Mood will sell products as diverse as body washes and mobile chargers, bath bombs and phone cases, makeup bags and stickers. The plan is to come to market with about 35 stockkeeping units, and that number will rise to about 60 by the end of the year.
Prices range from about $6 for a bath bomb, to $8 for the body washes and in-shower body oils, to $27 for a mobile phone charger. Each product comes with a little swing tag that doubles as a collectible bracelet. Green was adamant, when she was in talks with Boots, that the collection be unique and reflect the way Gen Z shops.
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She said that generation consumes “in a speedy way on their phone, in a more lifestyle way. We did this very in-depth piece of customer research and most of the girls we spoke to had three or four phone cases. They want to decorate their phones, so they’re buying stickers,” Green said during an interview at Little House in Mayfair.
Green said the My Mood customer does not thinking in terms of specific product categories. Instead, she’s thinking “‘What’s cool?’ ‘What did I see on Instagram?’ ‘What am I inspired by?’ And she thinks of these categories all together.”
She describes the 14-to-24 age group as “the next most powerful shopping audience with phenomenal buying power and an unrivaled take on social-born brands. And we didn’t think there was anyone serving this girl’s lifestyle.”
With regard to branding and packaging, Green said she was inspired by “playful luxury brands” such as Stella McCartney, and by the importance of “friendship and diversity” to that specific demographic.
“We’ve had a lot of fun celebrating the abnormal, so ‘weirdo’ is one of the slogans the brand uses. My Mood is a little bit like street, but it’s very friendly and it speaks in Instagram terms with product names like ‘Bring It On’ — and nourishing ingredients. It’s like your best friend talking to you,” Green said.
The fragrance used in the products isn’t sweet. Green was adamant about that, too, adding that she didn’t want her customers smelling like cake. “It’s much more grown-up, clean and sophisticated — probably the fragrance you’d borrow from mum.”
Annabel Franks, global category director, Walgreens Boots Alliance, said: “We have taken the best of both our businesses to bring a disruptive, young, lifestyle brand to market. The vibrant collection of products has been co-created with a handpicked group of target consumers who ensured we stayed relevant and ‘on point’ at every stage.”
My Mood plays to Green’s offbeat approach to product development and to the wider trends emerging in the British beauty industry. Companies large and small are eager to cater to the specific needs and habits of Millennials and Gen Z in a way that Marcia Kilgore’s Soap & Glory — now owned by Boots — or Benefit Cosmetics spoke to Gen X and the younger Boomers.
The launch comes in the wake of Michelle Feeney’s Floral Street fragrance line, which is targeting Millennials and Gen Z with prices under 55 pounds, sustainable packaging and in-store fragrance tutorials. Salespeople have been trained to talk about notes and how they combine to make a fragrance.
Last summer, PZ Cussons Beauty set out to woo Gen Z with a range called Being by Sanctuary Spa. It launched last June with Boots as the retail partner and includes fragrances with names such as Salted Caramel & Macadamia, Chilli Mango & Tonka Bean and Cloudberry & Lychee Blossom.
It also offers bath and body products with prices ranging from four pounds for a bath bomb to 10 pounds for the body butter and wash bag. It is sold across Boots stores and at Ulta.
My Mood is also part of a bigger strategy for Green, who said she refuses to be confined by categories or defined by Nails Inc., which she founded in 1999 with $300,000 from investors. That company now turns over about 20 million pounds a year, between products and more than 60 nail salons in the U.K.
Last November she launched Inc.redible Cosmetics, which offers facial sheet masks and products such as iridescent jelly highlighters and multicolored sparkly lip glosses. You Glow Girl, a $12 jelly highlighter for eyes, cheeks and lips, is already a sell-out in the U.S. at Sephora.
Green said Inc.redible will stand alongside Nails Inc. and serve as an umbrella for all non-nail products. She’s also expecting that company to hit the same sales levels as Nails Inc., although she didn’t give a specific time frame.
The diversification into single products such as sheet masks and highlighters may defy convention, but Green said she has always wanted her products to capture the zeitgeist or respond to consumer demand.
The company launched sheet masks, she said, because “we felt there was this buzz about to happen,” while some of her best-selling nail polish duos come in colors and textures inspired by fairies, mermaids and unicorns, the stuff of films, TV shows and children’s obsessions.
At Nails Inc. she’s put kale and crystals into her formulations, created gel, leather, latex and velvet effect polishes and concocted spray paint cans that dispense polish for women on the run.
She said at Nails Inc., no one is ever obsessed with what Chanel happens to be doing, or what happened on the catwalk last season. “The catwalk is not the only point of reference. Instead, we ask ourselves what people care about. So at the moment we are making polishes that are chemical-free, vegan or cruelty-free because the customer demands that as normal now,” Green said.
Inc.redible, meanwhile, has become a mantra as well as a stand-alone brand: “Why would we put ourselves in these tight boxes? We thought that if we’re Inc.redible, we can create anything, whether we want to be in bathing or skin. Whatever we want.”