True Botanicals is starting a new chapter.
Fresh on the heels of a rebrand and a slew of new products coming to market, one of natural beauty’s early modern entrants is capitalizing on pandemic-era momentum.
Hillary Peterson, True Botanicals’ founder, said the brand revamp started with the hiring of its new chief marketing officer, Rebecca Boston. “For every founder, it’s a dream to have the resources and expertise behind your brand where you can take your packaging, and the look and the feel of a brand, to a whole new level,” Peterson said. “When you’re growing as a brand, there’s a moment where you have enough scale to be able to do that.”
Boston, who hails from Fenty Beauty and Google, was keen on disrupting the clean beauty space. Her strategy started with accurately reflecting the quality of the products, she said. “The goop that’s inside the bottles is the ultimate in efficacy and the most luxurious experience, so we wanted to make sure that the packaging, the branding and the website all the way through reflected that for consumers,” she added. “Our existing customers loved it, we got no complaints.”
That strategy seems to be working. “Last year, we actually grew 70 percent and we’re on track to deliver equally impressive growth for this year,” Peterson said. Neither she nor Boston commented on specific sales expectations, although industry sources think the brand will reach between $50 million and $60 million in net sales in 2022.
The brand credits that success to a slew of different factors, from supercharged product development to shifting consumer attitudes.
“The consumer interest is caught up to everything that we stand for, and what we hear from consumers in our ratings and reviews is that we’re their most trusted beauty brand. They trust us and they trust that our products are going to do what we say they’re going to do. That trust is our biggest differentiator,” Boston said.
That trust is evidenced by the brand’s cohort of returning customers. “Another thing that’s been contributing to our growth recently is that our retention rates keep getting stronger and stronger,” Boston said. “In 2021, our retention rate was more than 40 percent, and now, recent cohorts are trending above 50 percent.”
“It’s a testament to how much people love this brand, they love everything that it stands for and it’s something they’re willing to invest in,” Boston continued.
From a product development perspective, the brand has kept its finger on the pulse of consumer wants and needs, which has informed its robust pipeline for the rest of 2022. “We hear from our existing customers all the time that they love our products enough to want to make their entire routine True Botanicals, so we’ve been listening to what they’ve been asking for,” Boston said.
With that in mind, the brand is eyeing new categories for expansion. At the end of last year, True Botanicals launched an eye cream, followed by its Shine & Protect Hair Cream Oil, which marks the brand’s entry into hair styling and treatments.
“We’re beating our forecasts on that product by 78 percent, and it’s become our third biggest new customer acquisition product,” Boston said. “We thought we would just sell this to all of our existing Pure Radiance Oil users.”
It also recently launched a retinol alternative, called the Phyto Retinol Vitamin A Booster. “We answered consumer requests with a retinol option. That one is way outperforming our forecast, and is the fifth in new customer acquisition. It’s growing exponentially,” Boston added.
Next in the docket are SPF and makeup. The brand is introducing its first sunscreen in the fall, to be followed by an Everyday Skin Tint. Although formulating posed challenges, the product is Made Safe certified. “It’s a non-nano zinc oxide that performs beautifully on the skin. We upped the ante,” Peterson said.
The skin tint is also foolproof, given the biocompatible nature of the formulation. “It’s the first biocompatible complexion product,” Boston said. “We’re formulating with ingredients that mimic the natural lipids on your skin, which is the way we’ve always formulated our pure radiance oils. It’s the easiest makeup you’ll ever use.”
Communicating around the new products hasn’t posed many challenges. Peterson said the brand’s partnership with actress Olivia Wilde is still going strong, and she’s also tapped Laura Dern as a spokesperson.
“We don’t have celebrities or influencers talking about our products who don’t use our products,” Peterson said. “It’s people like Lizzo, or Ariana Grande, who just love the products.”
The brand’s brick-and-mortar footprint is also on the upswing. In addition to existing partnerships with Nordstrom and the Detox Market, True Botanicals launched in Credo Beauty earlier this year.
“We’re dipping our toes in and seeing amazing results at retail. Consumers want a place to touch and feel the product,” Peterson said. “We’ll continue to be a primarily direct-to-consumer brand, with a strong complement of retail partnerships.”
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