Savannah Sachs of TULA

Tula points to just a few key growth drivers to explain the 150 percent growth year-over-year it is on track to see in 2019: product innovation strategy, influencer marketing, and venturing into brick-and-mortar. “It’s about offering customers products that they need and want from those they trust the most and where they want them,” said Savannah Sachs, chief executive officer of Tula.

Product innovation is crucial to Tula’s growth. The company is set to launch 10 new products this year alone, including two more acne products at the end of this month, responding directly to customer feedback.

“We really think about customers in demographic and psychographic terms and as a digitally native and largely direct-to-consumer brand we’re steeped in that customer data,” Sachs said. A digital skin quiz on Tula’s site is one of the best ways to gather this data, allowing the company to gain direct insight into customers’ wants and needs and drive the customer to buy product. Sachs shared that Tula gets about 300,000 data points every month from this skin quiz, which the brand then uses to spot trends and create a roadmap for future product innovation.

Tula’s Glow & Get It Cooling & Brightening eye balm was perhaps the company’s biggest hit of the year. “What happened with this product is it just became a viral social hit,” Sachs said. The eye balm, which launched in January, sold out in 10 days of what was meant to be a four-month supply and again in March in seven days with twice the inventory. Of the sales, Tula recorded 68 percent of the customers were new to the brand.

Tula gives credit to influencer marketing as a second key growth driver. On any given month, the company sees 40 to 50 percent of revenue online driven through influencers. Sachs said Tula sees a more efficient return on investment through influencer marketing than through the rest of its performance media spend. Sachs allowed that Tula’s influencer marketing strategy is a bit different, relying on top performers from the lifestyle, fitness, and mommy blogger space over beauty influencers. The goal is to create a post holistic to the brand. The sweet spot for engagement, authenticity and trust, she said, are influencers with 100,000 to 600,000 followers.

Despite Tula being a direct-to-consumer brand, Sachs is keenly aware that 90 percent of beauty is sold off-line. While a majority of revenue remains on Tula.com, the brand recognized the power of being where the customer is. Rather than entering brick-and-mortar with a new store, as so many DTC brands have chosen to do lately, Tula chose to partner with retailers like Ulta, Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus, which already possess a large in-person customer base.

“One way to think about it is that being in the top shelf of Ulta’s wellness section within prestige skin care is almost like having 11,000 targeted out-of-home moments,” Sachs said.

Tula has continued to heighten the e-commerce experience for its customers as well. A site overhaul this month saw the addition of Afterpay and a 50 percent speed increase.

For More WWD Business News: 

Think Tank: What Traditional Retailers Can Learn From DTC Brands

DTC Brands Step-up Brick-and-Mortar Presence to Give Shoppers ‘Tangible’ Experience

What Digital Brands Need to Know When Getting Physical

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