Proactiv is rolling into retail with Ulta Beauty.
In its first major move since Nestlé Skin Health took over majority ownership, Proactiv will launch in 375 Ulta Beauty locations on Thursday. For most of its history, Proactiv built a huge business via infomercials on TV. The Nestlé deal put Proactiv under the ownership of a joint venture that is controlled by the food giant, with previous majority owner Guthy-Renker holding around a 30 percent stake, industry sources previously told WWD.
“There are 40 million people in the United States who suffer from acne, and when you look at the consumer, they have the exact consumer who we are looking for,” said Kimber Maderazzo, executive vice president of global brand and product marketing for Proactiv.
“We have been talking to Ulta for several years,” Maderazzo said. “Their customers have been asking for Proactiv.”
“Our guests have been requesting Proactiv by name, given its reputation for helping people achieve clear, healthy-looking skin,” said Dave Kimbell, Ulta Beauty chief merchandising and marketing officer. “This is the first time Proactiv will be available at a national beauty retailer. Another exciting first for Ulta Beauty.
“Offering exclusive products that excite our guests is a key part of our strategy and something our guests expect us to deliver,” Kimbell said. “We have more than 87 skin-care brands across our prestige and mass categories at Ulta Beauty. While many of our skin-care brands have products devoted to acne treatment, Proactiv will be the only prestige skin-care brand we carry that specializes solely on acne skin-care solutions.”
Proactiv’s three-step acne system is among the items that Ulta Beauty will stock. X Out, which is also owned by the joint venture, will be launched on ulta.com on Thursday. “X Out is really for the true Millennial who is young and buys on the Internet,” Maderazzo said.
By the end of the year, Proactiv should be in about 660 Ulta Beauty doors, according to Maderazzo. While X Out will start online, the brand may eventually move into retail. “If it does well on the web we’ll probably then bring it into the stores,” Maderazzo said.
“The Ulta environment and ecosystem can really speak to the consumers and share with them and tell them how Proactiv works,” Maderazzo said. “We will be working with Ulta in having their users work directly with Proactiv…telling us their stories, and we’ll be telling those stories on TV.”
While Proactiv and Ulta Beauty had been in discussions for years, new ownership at Nestlé really “embraced” the idea of selling in the specialty retailer, according to Maderazzo, especially because it aligns with Nestlé’s goal of bringing skin health to more people. While Ulta is the exclusive retail partner for the brand, Proactiv has also been sold in mall-based kiosks for about 20 years, according to Maderazzo.
When Proactiv’s ownership shifted, the joint venture planned to focus on selling Proactiv and developing non-Proactiv acne-treatment products, while growing Proactiv’s global distribution.