Unisex skin-care brand Context is making its move into color.
The business, launched by David Arbuthnot in September, will debut eight demi-matte lipsticks on its web site and the Spring mobile app Thursday. The shade range includes: Come Clean, a peach nude; Sweet Emotion, a mauve pink; Say Love, a neutral pink; Seek & Destroy, a hot pink; Round & Round, a bright red-orange; Cherry Pie, a classic red; Fire Starter, a blood-red, and Looks That Kill, a deep plum. Each $20 lipstick contains vitamin C, vitamin E, sunflower seed oil, sodium hyaluronate and Canelilla Wax, and is hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, paraben-free, sulfate-free, phthalate-free, cruelty-free and made in the U.S.
“Context, in terms of the skin care, was about not having a thousand items in the line…just really having these critical go-to essential items in your medicine cabinet for your skin-care routine,” said Arbuthnot, who was previously the chief executive officer at Gant U.S., and handled merchandising for Christian Dior and Gucci. “So the same [goes] really for your lips and nails. That’s how I wanted to launch, with a palette that every color is a go-to color.”
The lipstick shades mirror correlating nail polish pigments, which are slated for a September launch and will retail for $15. “If you’re only launching with eight shades, I really wanted them to work with each other,” Arbuthnot said.
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The price points are also a key point for Context, which is striving to make its mark in the affordable luxury market. “I wanted to be able to target the customer who would see the product on a blog or shop us on Instagram, and then be able to afford the products. I didn’t want to alienate that consumer that might not spend $120 on serum or cream,” Arbuthnot said. “The price point that I target was really to be at a volume price point.” The brand’s advertising comes mainly from social media and through influences, Arbuthnot said.
Context’s skin-care products range from $30 for Daily Facial Cleanser to $50 for Antioxidant Serum. Other items include Intensive Daily Moisturizer SPF 15, Oil-Free Daily Moisturizer SPF 15, Vitamin C All Day Eye Cream, Restorative Night Cream, Micro-Derm Regenerator and Hydrating Toner.
The move into color could as much as double Context’s sales, Arbuthnot said. The brand is primarily sold online, but has slowly started expanded in retail outlets, including Hamptons pop-up Knock Out Beauty and Story, in New York. The company will send its first samples out — its Micro-Derm Regenerator — through Birchbox Man in July. Context is currently available at Birchbox.com, plus the online stops the Dreslyn and the Stell.
Arbuthnot anticipates further expansion will likely come from more retail distributors as well as more products – new colors for the color lines, and non-beauty products too. Context launched candles, $40, last month, and may eventually add other lifestyle-type items that suit the brand ethos, Arbuthnot said.
“I would be open to investors so that we can scale the business and expand and develop new products and increase our distribution,” Arbuthnot said. “I’m sure that’s a step for us.”