Following the likes of Burt’s Bees, Yes To and Acure before it, The Seaweed Bath Co. is expanding its reach from natural grocers to the mass market.
After about two months on Target’s web site, the sustainable seaweed-fueled personal-care brand will roll out to the retailer’s stores. Its powder baths, body creams and body washes will be housed in beauty department end caps at Target’s nearly 1,800 doors across the country starting on Christmas Day, while its shampoos and conditioners will enter natural hair-care sets at almost 300 doors in January of next year.
“Customers shopping in conventional stores are more open to natural than they have ever been. That’s changed even within the last 18 to 24 months. Our main distribution initially was in the natural channel, but we have really found in consumer research that our products have broader appeal,” said Adam Grossman, chief executive officer of Austin, Texas-based The Seaweed Bath Co. “The evolution of our brand mimics what is happening with natural personal care in general.”
Established by husband and wife Adam and Allison Grossman six years ago, Adam, who formerly worked in real estate finance, traces The Seaweed Bath Co.’s origins to the moment six years before its founding when he was diagnosed with scalp psoriasis. That diagnosis prompted him to try various pharmaceutical remedies prescribed by doctors and, with each try, there’d be a momentary respite succeeded by psoriasis spreading to another part of his body.
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Eventually, Grossman decided to take the matter into his own hands and discovered Irish seaweed spas as a possible antidote. “I found relief bathing in the seaweed. Over six months, I really saw a change in my skin. I handed out seaweed balls to people in my psoriasis support group, and they asked, ‘Can I buy this from you?’” recounted Grossman. He began importing seaweed from Ireland until running into a woman at an engagement party whose uncle harvested the same seaweed in Maine. Today, The Seaweed Bath Co. sources its organic bladderwrack seaweed from Maine.
The Seaweed Bath Co.’s first product was Whole Seaweed Detox Bath, but its most popular is Eucalyptus & Peppermint Balancing Argan Shampoo. In total, the brand’s product assortment contains 35 stockkeeping units priced from $3.99 to $49. Available on its web site and Amazon, The Seaweed Bath Co. recently released advanced skin-care products that are its priciest items. “We are offering a head-to-toe solution with seaweed-based personal care,” said Allison Grossman, a litigator turned director of marketing at The Seaweed Bath Co.
Available in thousands of doors at retailers such as Whole Foods, Sprouts and Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage prior to breaking into Target, Adam Grossman believes The Seaweed Bath Co. can strengthen its presence at both natural and conventional stores. Already, the brand has been regularly doubling its annual sales, a pace Grossman said it is attempting to maintain in 2017 and 2018. To help support its growth, The Seaweed Bath Co. raised $2.1 million from a number of investors in 2014 and, preceding that, was given a local producer loan from Whole Foods.
While bladderwrack, a brown seaweed The Seaweed Bath Co. heralds as having more than 65 minerals and vitamins, is the main seaweed used in its products, Grossman envisions the brand exploring many seaweed species and introducing products driven by other types of seaweed with significant skin benefits. “As the company and our R&D team has grown, we’re looking for the best seaweeds that we can combine to create a great experience for our customers,” he said. “You’ve seen it happen with brands like La Mer and Algenist. They’ve done a really good job at pushing scientific development on marine ingredients, and we see an opportunity to bring that to a bigger audience.”