Meant for the face instead of the kitchen, Rodial Baking Powder and Brush, $48 and $46, respectively, mark Rodial’s latest commitment to cosmetics. The set is designed for implementing the baking technique — where powder is piled on top of skin with the intent of baking makeup into place using the skin’s heat — popular in YouTube and Instagram makeup tutorials. The process is normally done with translucent or setting powder. Rodial’s baking-specific powder launches in January.
“There hasn’t been any brand out there that has a powder specifically for baking,” said Rodial founder and chief executive officer Maria Hatzistefanis. “People take any powder and say, ‘oh, I’m going to bake with it,’ so we’ve researched the market and found a powder that’s the best possible powder for the baking effect, and we’re launching it with a baking brush. I think it sounds hilarious because it’s baking powder — where did you get it from the grocery store? There’s a lot of innovation in makeup that’s really exciting.”
The baking powder is the latest product to join Rodial’s makeup lineup, which includes Instaglam Highlighting Powder, Sculpting Lip Kit and airbrush concealer. That cosmetics line will be the catalyst for Rodial’s growth going forward, Hatzistefanis said, along with selective skin-care launches.
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The business will grow about 20 percent for 2016, with an estimated $30 million in wholesale sales for 2017, according to industry sources. During 2016, Rodial expanded in Saks Fifth Avenue. Plans are in the works to move into Korea as well, Hatzistefanis said.
“The big potential for the business right now is the U.S. and growing the distribution further. It’s also our cosmetics range,” Hatzistefanis said. “We have 2,000 doors worldwide and makeup is in about 50 of them, so there’s a potential and there needs to be some decisions on which stores could be the right ones, or even different stores than the ones we have. The opportunity for the business is to grow makeup to a similar level of distribution as skin care.”
The brand’s skin-care range, known for its unusual-sounding items (Snake Booster Oil and Bee Venom Serum among them) will keep growing its product lineup, but very selectively, Hatzistefanis said. “We are looking into novelty ingredients and there are some new launches in the future, but we don’t want to suddenly come up with a lot more other product — we like to nurture the classics as well,” Hatzistefanis said.
She started the business more than 15 years ago with the idea that skin care didn’t need to be boring and generalized, and instead could feature interesting ingredients that targeted specific skin concerns. The led her to launch the Bee Venom, Dragons Blood, Glamaxy Snake, Super Acids, Pink Diamond and Stemcell skin-care lines.
“I was really surprised that no one from the mass market had copied Rodial,” she said. “I thought, ‘you know what, this hasn’t happened yet so this is an opportunity to take some of the DNA of Rodial and bring it into a mass brand.’”
So five years ago, she launched less expensive skin-care brand Nip & Fab with a similar thesis to Rodial and a similar solution-focused product lineup. Nip & Fab makes Bee Sting Fix, Viper Venom Fix, Dragon’s Blood Fix, Kale Fix and other lines. Eventually, one of the Nip & Fab products made its way into the hands of a then 17-year-old Kylie Jenner, who Nip & Fab eventually brought on officially.
“She came across some products — we work with some of the makeup artists of the family — and she came across the Nip & Fab pads, and she put them on Instagram, and on the basis of this, we got a lot of attention,” Hatzistefanis said. “When we first started working with Kylie, obviously she was very famous, but she wasn’t who she is right now,” said Eliza Wells, head of Rodial’s public relations. “We were the first to do anything larger with her and we were amazed by the power of her fan base.”
Partnering with Jenner was just one step in the brand’s social strategy, which for the most part, focuses on smaller influencers. “Sometimes we see better results from some of the smaller influencers that have anything from maybe 5,000 to 20,000 followers because their followers are more engaged, they’re more genuine,” Hatzistefanis said.
Nip & Fab is a big growth driver at the overall company, Hatzistefanis said, driving a significant amount of expansion. Next year, however, it may be driving even more as the brand launches its first color collection, which without unveiling details, Hatzistefanis said would launch in 2017.
“It’s going to be a little bit different while still maintaining quality. We would be looking more at the trends, having a younger consumer we would need to make sure that we just capture the trends and come up with products that are what they’re going to be looking for — we’re working on a range that’s going to be a lot more trend-driven, but still in keeping with the philosophy of the Nip & Fab girl,” she said.
And as for investment as the brand expands, she insists it’s not needed. “The business runs by itself, it’s profitable and we put the profits back into growing it,” Hatzistefanis said, noting the virtues to autonomy. “At some point, I decided we needed to do cosmetics and that was important for the business — but if I had an investor maybe they would say ‘no, you can’t do this,’” she said. “There is no reason whatsoever to add complication.”