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The Inkey List Cofounders Discuss Powering Growth Via Personalization

The trending skin care brand that aims to demystify the beauty category through knowledge-driven solutions shares insights into its hyper-personalized strategy.

As former retail executives, cofounders of Inkey List, Mark Curry and Colette Laxton did not come into the start-up with a digital-first mind-set and, in fact, didn’t even have a website until two weeks into the pandemic.

Still, the duo is very much holding their own in the digital space. At just three years old, Inkey List is already one of the most trending skin care brands of 2021 and, according to self-proclaimed non-tech geniuses Curry and Laxton, it’s completely due to their overwhelming, consumer obsession.

Putting people at the center of everything was a decision made even before the brand’s concept was born, Curry said. To illustrate the point, he shared a note scribbled down in May 2017 that had 10 clear values including “every (people) thing,” “hold nothing back,” “start at you” and “enjoy every f* second.”

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The Inkey List brand values were written in May 2017. Courtesy Image.

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“Putting people at the center of everything is the Inkey way,” Curry said. “Whether it’s our team or Inkey family, our customers, our partners or, most importantly, consumers. Consumers are at the center of everything.”

For Inkey, this starts by communicating with consumers what’ is in a product in an easy-to-understand way, while personalizing the consumer’s journey to find the right products for their concerns.

“We wanted to be the brand to answer any skin care question on our brand or otherwise, one-to-one, with actual humans,” Laxton said. “Our service offers a 24-hour skin care support service to help those who need completely agnostic help. We’ve answered over 600,000 questions in just two years and have over-invested in our humans to ensure consumers have skin care experts on hand whenever they need — even if they don’t purchase from us.”

Recently, the brand did a TikTok campaign asking people to ask Inkey questions and quickly received engagement with more than 2,000 preteens asking about cleansers. The company has also launched My Inkey to offer a personalized experience that allows consumers to engage with the brand in a way that is unique for the individual from answering simple questions to providing support and tracking progress.

The magic of My Inkey, Curry said, is two-fold, allowing the company to be human-driven while data backed. First, it enables a personalized consumer experience while growing the company’s first-party data. Every interaction will therefore inform the platform to make even better experiences in the future. Second, My Inkey provides the human touch.

As a brand, the ultimate goal, Curry and Laxton said, is to provide a hyper-personalized seamless experience from stores to e-commerce to social media. Personalization, they said, “cannot be a moment, an activation, tag line or anything other than a principle that lives and breathes in every facet of the company.”

“We believe in our purpose and personalization so much that we do it relentlessly every single day, every single minute, every single second in everything we do,” Laxton said. “It’s exhausting, but it’s worth it. relentless execution is 90 percent of the outcome.”