Marianna Hewitt and Lauren Gores Ireland aren’t your typical brand founders — but that may be why they’ve had so much success.
The pair of Los Angeles-based influencers have been able to translate their social media followings into sales. Their first product, the Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask, $48, was picked up by Sephora before the brand had even launched, and within two weeks it was the best-selling skin-care product on sephora.com.
Now almost a year in, Hewitt and Gores have another product that’s climbing up Sephora’s bestseller list — Overtime, an exfoliating and brightening mask that has joined Jet Lag in Sephora’s top five masks.
Since launch, Hewitt and Gores have built engaged social followings while expanding their indie brand. The Sephora debut was followed by expanding the products into all physical doors, as well as launches at Cult Beauty in the U.K. In December, Summer Fridays is launching in Australia with Mecca.
While Hewitt and Gores Ireland’s sizable social followings have certainly played into their success, it’s not just their followers who are shopping Summer Fridays. One day, when Hewitt was giving her hairstylist the mask at the hair salon, a woman started talking to her about how great the product was without knowing she was the founder, she said.
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“It’s growing beyond us…that was our reasoning for why we named it Summer Fridays and not Marianna and Lauren’s face mask. We thought about the longevity of the company and the brand and the products,” Hewitt said.
But social does continue to play a big role in Hewitt and Gores success. The pair leverage personal relationships with their respective online communities, reposting Summer Fridays-related content (like shout-outs from Jessica Alba and Kim Kardashian, as well as less-famous enthusiasts), and talk to their followers for product-development ideas.
“We call them our focus group,” Gores Ireland said. “We definitely have more products in the works…we won’t necessarily stay in masks…we’ve spent the last several months asking our community what they would like to see next.”