Fourth Ray

Seed Beauty is launching a second brand of its own.

The first — ColourPop — has gained a cult status (and 6.1 million Instagram followers) for its trend-driven, value-priced makeup offerings. Seed Beauty cofounders Laura Nelson and John Nelson are hoping that Fourth Ray Beauty, set to launch Aug. 23 on fourthraybeauty.com, will do the same for the skin-care category.

Fourth Ray is the second “wholly owned” brand in Seed Beauty’s portfolio, following four-year-old ColourPop. Oxnard, Calif.-based Seed Beauty also manufactures KKW Beauty and Kylie Cosmetics, but does not have a stake in either company. The firm is known to produce on-trend products quickly, due to its completely vertically integrated operational structure.

“We absolutely plan to build [Fourth Ray] out into a full-scale line,” said Laura Nelson, Seed Beauty’s president. “The approach is similar to ColourPop — listening to our community, getting that feedback and going in those directions in terms of what people want.”

“There may be crossover [customers] with ColourPop, naturally,” she said. “In both cases, it’s really about the beauty enthusiast who is looking for an amazing price. They really know great products and are savvy and astute enough to weed through the noise in the marketplace and see and appreciate great formulations.”

Fourth Ray consists of five skin-care products, priced from $10 to $14 — BFD Cleansing Oil, AM to the PM Gel Cleanser, Keep Clear Clarifying Tonic, The Lightweight Hydrator and Later Hater Spot Treatment. Three bundles — the Ritual Box, the Full Collection and Come Clean Cleanser Duo are priced at $150, $54 and $22 respectively. The ritual box is described as a “self-care experience” and includes a sage bunch, candles, bath bombs and crystals.

There are also accessories and tools — a rose quartz roller, $18; a silk scrunchie set, $6 for 3; and a cat ear headband, $6.

The line is wellness- and self-care-inspired, said Nelson, and relies on natural ingredients such as ginseng, willow bark, papaya enzymes and botanical oils. It is 100 percent cruelty-free and vegan.

“Our personal beliefs definitely coincide with [those of] our consumer community,” she said. “Going out the gate from Day 1 being 100 percent vegan, we think that will really connect with our customer.”

Laura Nelson said inspiration for the line started with her. “I was trying to find really clean products that are 100 percent cruelty-free and vegan,” she said. “This was layered with so many customers asking ColourPop [on social media] what kind of skin-care we were using. It was incongruous [with our brand] to say we were using a $150 moisturizer or $200 serum. We knew we had an opportunity to have amazing, effective products at really accessible price points.”

This kind of white-space opportunity is what Seed Beauty looks for in incubating brands, she said. The company is not focused on building a portfolio of owned brands to a specific number. That said, they do have other projects in the works.

“It’s really organic and the market is changing so quickly,” said John Nelson, chief executive officer of Seed Beauty. “We think skin-care on the business side is really ready for disruption. Just as ColourPop [disrupted] color cosmetics, we see that opportunity for Fourth Ray in skin-care. We’re looking at other categories within beauty and have other ideas in the incubation process.”

The Nelsons approach ideas for incubation separately. Laura spots overarching cultural trends, while John focuses on identifying white space opportunities in the market. “When I’m feeling something and he’s seeing something, that’s when we really converge and it’s amazing,” said Laura Nelson.

Fourth Ray is intended to be kept as a direct-to consumer brand for now, just as ColourPop was for its first three years in existence. Now, ColourPop is in 185 Ulta Beauty doors. Seed Beauty does not plan to enter Fourth Ray into retail anytime soon. “Definitely not in the short term,” said Laura Nelson. We really want that authentic connection [with consumers] while we grow and develop the brand.”

Industry sources estimate Fourth Ray could do $10 million to $15 million in retail sales in its first year. Seed Beauty would not comment on specific sales figures. Instead, Laura Nelson offered this statement: “It’s less about sales estimates and more about the ability to connect on a spiritual level with the community.”

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