Dr Roebuck’s is riding a wave of health consciousness into beauty stores and departments across the globe.
The Australian brand built on a more than 30-year-old family skin-care recipe is entering Sephora U.S. locations in January with Pure, a face moisturizer that sold out in two weeks on the specialty retailer’s web site upon its launch a month ago, followed by its antiaging cream, Face, hitting shelves in March. Dr Roebuck’s is also headed to HSN in January, and Holt Renfrew and Selfridges in March.
“There is a big wellness movement in the world, and you are seeing the whole market move to a wellness philosophy and prevention orientation. It’s about living well and looking after yourself to live your life to the fullest,” said Kim Devin, who founded Dr Roebuck’s with twin sister Zoe Kelly. “Our brand stands for ethical and clean beauty in the truest form. It’s about having everything you need and nothing you don’t.”
Devin and Kelly’s mother Catherine Shannon and father David Roebuck, both doctors, whipped up the first Dr Roebuck’s formula to alleviate their children’s dry skin. “They wanted to know every single ingredient that went into it,” Kelly explained. “We always used it in the family and didn’t even think anything of it.” For many years, the cream was produced at a local pharmacy, and Devin and Kelly collected a personal stash to slather on themselves.
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During a ski trip, the siblings passed out their parents’ skin-care solution to their friends, and the friends couldn’t get enough of it. “We took five pots with us and, at the end of the week, it was absolutely anarchy,” Kelly said. “We decided, ‘OK, let’s see if there is legs in this.’ There was such a need for it.” Around five years ago, Kelly and Devin commercialized Dr Roebuck’s to broaden its reach into beauty retailers.
Dr Roebuck’s was embraced by David Jones in Australia early on and quickly traveled beyond its country of origin to Shoppers Drug Mart in Canada, where it initially arrived at the beauty destination Murale before rolling out to 500 Shoppers Drug Mart units this year. Devin and Kelly suggested Canada was a necessary testing ground for Dr Roebuck’s to strengthen it for a U.S. debut. The pair sorted out logistics, packaging, inventory and regulations, and it fortified its small employee team, adding marketing and sales manager Lisa Figuccio, previously of Benefit Cosmetics, and operations manager Charlene Falkenburger, formerly of Lush and Bite Beauty, to help handle it all.
At the outset in Canada, Devin admitted, “We were delayed three months. That was very difficult to manage and, thankfully, our account was accommodating. If we had done that with Sephora, I don’t think we could have survived.” To time its U.S. introduction properly, she continued, “We chose strategically to watch the market and decide when to go. We’ve been working closely with Sephora and talking to them about our brand over the last two years. We really wanted to make sure we were ready, and the market was ready for us.”
Online at Sephora, Dr Roebuck’s’ selection features seven products priced from $22 to $45. The brand touts a long list of what’s not in its products, including BPA, fillers, glycols, perfumes, colorants and petrochemicals, and highlights a clinical study centered on Pure in which participants experienced smooth, hydrated skin. “We focus a lot on our clinical studies. There are a lot of natural brands out there that are beautiful, but they don’t do much for the skin,” said Devin, elaborating Dr Roebuck’s’ appeal to Sephora’s Millennial customers is driven by its ability to nourish the face for better makeup application. “It’s a bit like you do yoga so you can have your champagne. The cream let’s them wear the makeup the way they want to,” she remarked.
Outside of Sephora in Holt Renfrew and Selfridges, Dr Roebuck’s will offer bespoke serums. Customers will get a chance to pick extracts addressing their skin-care concerns ranging from large pores to dark under-eye circles, and serums will be promptly mixed with the extracts they choose. “It’s like green juice where you pile as much as you can into it to give you a great boost,” Kelly said. “The bespoke option really speaks to clean beauty. The brands that have fillers can’t do it on the spot. Besides, it is tailored to the customer so they are emotionally connected to the purchase.”