True Botanicals has opened a flagship this month in San Francisco, its first brick-and-mortar outpost.
The digitally native natural beauty brand’s move into physical retail is part of a larger strategy to focus on its direct-to-consumer business. While the majority of its growth has come from its e-commerce business, True Botanicals has maintained wholesale accounts with retailers such as Violet Grey, Barneys New York, Follain and Auberge Resorts spas. With the exception of Goop, the brand is pulling out of all its retail partners.
“Part of our overall mission is to have a direct relationship with our consumer both online and in person,” said Hillary Peterson, founder and chief executive officer of True Botanicals. “We want to deliver a sensorial experience that you can’t get online, and learn from consumers in the store and apply that to our digital relationships.”
The San Francisco space, located at 522 Washington Street in the city’s Financial District, will carry the full True Botanicals product assortment, which includes mostly skin care, along with hair, body, and the latest addition — aromatherapy. Personalized facials will be available in the store — there are three treatment rooms — and there is also an aromatherapy bar. Interior designer Jeremiah Brent, husband to interior designer and “Nate & Jeremiah by Design” costar Nate Berkus, designed the space.
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The True Botanicals store is meant to act as both a sales-driver and a showroom, Peterson said.
“Our suspicion is that it will be a great driver for our business and be something we want to replicate in key markets,” said Peterson of the brand’s brick-and-mortar strategy.
Unilever Ventures, the venture capital and private equity arm of consumer goods giant Unilever, took a minority stake in True Botanicals, which was designed as a natural alternative to luxury skin-care brands. Since then, the brand has signed on Olivia Wilde as its ambassador, or “chief brand activist,” the first major celebrity deal involving a natural beauty brand. In 2017, sales quadrupled. The products are Made-Safe-certified — Made Safe is a third-party organization that certifies products as made with nontoxic ingredients.
“What has become clear to us is this is a moment in time where consumers are demanding to buy quality, effective products from transparent brands like ours, that both deliver results and at the same time are considering the safety of people and the planet.