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CVS Debuts One+Other Personal Care

The in-house personal care brand includes more than 200 stock keeping units in-store and online.

CVS Health is going big on personal care, and it’s starting in-house.

The retailer has debuted One+Other (pronounced “one another”), which came to stores and CVS’ website in late January. The offering spans personal care products, from cotton balls to nail polish remover and clippers, and ranges in price from $3 to $25.

The line was born out of consumers’ propensities toward self-care, which the pandemic accelerated. According to a poll conducted by the Harris Poll in partnership with CVS, 91 percent of Americans agreed self-care was important, while 50 percent had a daily practice. Thirty-eight percent of respondents, though, said they couldn’t afford to implement self-care practices. Furthermore, 55 percent said brands didn’t make products with them in mind.

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“I couldn’t imagine a world 18 months ago where I’d be excited about nail clippers,” said Andrea Harrison, vice president of merchandising, beauty, CVS health. “But the reality is, there’s so much foundational self-care that’s been forgotten. It’s been so aggrandized over the last couple of years and we have a position on some of the real fundamentals that matter to people.”

Those fundamentals include cotton balls, nail polish removers, tweezers, eyelash curlers and body wash brushes. Making self-care essentials accessible was the brand’s starting point. The assortment, which is genderless, “was built on being an inclusive personal care brand by CVS to give everybody the right and ability to celebrate self-expression and embrace individuality — some of those things are self-care essentials.”

Inclusivity has also informed the brand’s marketing, which will include in-store marketing, direct mail and email, as well as content on product pages and creator partnerships. The merchandising will vary depending on each store’s layout, but “you’ll see the fundamental expression together where we can,” Harrison said.

All of the products comply with the retailer’s free-from commitment which omits parabens, phthalates and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives. “We maintain really strict standards and testing practices in addition to monitoring and keeping an eye on customer feedback, but we actually do a crazy amount of quality testing,” Harrison said, adding that each item has a full money-back guarantee.

One+Other also has the potential to broaden CVS’ beauty consumer. “New brands have a lot of energy and excitement, and that starts to create options for different people based on what they look for. It’s super important in the case of beauty particularly that people can find themselves and see themselves in a brand,” said Musab Balbale, senior vice president and chief merchant, CVS Health.

Balbale was among the first beauty merchants to incubate brands during his tenure at Walmart, when he spearheaded the co-creation of Next of Us with P&G Beauty. He credited One+Other’s creation to Brenda Lord, CVS’ vice president of store brands and quality assurance, but is still no stranger to in-house brands’ benefits.

“Our ambition for this is pretty big,” Balbale said. “It has this platform, from a gender inclusive perspective, to play in so many categories across beauty and personal care… across multiple aisles and pretty loudly proclaim the type of place we are and the welcoming nature of who we are.”

It also helps focus CVS’ point of view on beauty, which focuses on that category’s intersection with health, wellness and clinically minded products. “We were really early to talk about wellness,” he said. “Wellness today is not dissimilar to the way the world became greenwashed 10 years ago. But we’re in a position to start defining wellness how other retailers defined ‘green.’

“From a store brand perspective, One+Other will be one of many brands we’ll have in store, and of our store brands across many aisles, that will help the customer see the type of retail experience we want to create,” Balbale continued.

That appeal could be evergreen. Dr. Robyn Gobin, psychologist and self-care expert, said she sees the self-care craze sticking around. “People created self-care habits that have been serving themselves [during the pandemic]. When people notice the benefits, they do stick to them as we go out into the world…self-care is here to stay. People are realizing how important it is to their overall functioning and happiness in life,” she said.