Stratia, made in Los Angeles, has received a $2 million investment from Fable Investments, the venture capital branch of Natura & Co (which has previously funded the likes of Aesop and The Body Shop).
“Customer acquisition is really the biggest hurdle we have, just getting them to try it once, and so that’s what this money is for,” said Stratia founder and chief executive officer Alli Reed. “It’s to make sure that as many people as possible are able to try Stratia.”
The brand has a customer return rate of close to 50 percent, she added. “I started the brand out of my fairly meager savings and all the profits got reinvested back in. It grew kind of bits and pieces over time.”
Launched in 2016 and currently a team of six, Stratia is averaging 50 to 75 percent growth year-over-year, she revealed.
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Her hero product is Liquid Gold — a formulation that began getting traction on Reddit. Reed, who minored in chemistry at University of California, Berkeley, was “reverse engineering” her favorite products in her kitchen and began creating her own.
“Stratia wouldn’t exist without the internet,” said Reed. “I’ve been a Redditor for a really long time. It’s sort of my chosen social media platform. I was just really involved long before Stratia came about on the skin care addiction subreddit, the DIY beauty subreddit, and just, you know, learning a lot and sharing what I have researched and being a really active part of that community. And so, when I launched Stratia, people kind of knew about it. I also had a blog where I was sharing my skin care journey and some research.…People knew that this was something I was working on and wanted to try it out.”
Liquid Gold is made to strengthen the skin’s natural moisture barrier.
“The outermost layer of the skin is sort of a brick-and-mortar structure where bricks are these flat skin cells called corneocytes and the mortar is this fatty mixture that keeps it all kind of waterproof and healthy,” Reed explained. “And that mixture is made up primarily of ceramides, cholesterol and fatty acids. And so, I was researching about that mixture in particular and found one study on the ideal ratios of ceramides, cholesterol and fatty acids in topical products for the greatest increase in barrier repair and barrier health.”
She added ingredients like hyaluronic acid, niacinamide and panthenol to “help soothe and hydrate and strengthen.” Her product offering has since grown, driven by research and testing.
“We definitely want to be able to reach as many people as possible and a lot of people just don’t shop for their skin care online,” Reed said of expanding into stores. “That said, an entrance into retail would be really strategic. It would be finding the right partners who can help tell the story, who can help maintain that level of education — who can really be partners in that expansion.”