Fashion Retailer's Moves Into Beauty Open Doors for Up-and-Coming Brands

WWD: Fashion Retailer's Moves Into Beauty Opens doors for Ogee Organic Skincare
As fashion retailers add beauty to build out shopping baskets, up-and-coming beauty brands are seizing the opportunity to expand with the right partner. That is the case for Ogee, a certified-organic, luxury skin-care line that found a fit this year in Free People’s new online beauty and wellness concept. Ogee is also sold in select physical Free People doors nationwide.
Ogee debuted in 2016 with the launch goal of first building a digital footprint for its core collection of Certified-Organic (it carries the NSF seal) luxury skin-care products that all feature cold-pressed jojoba oil as the hero ingredient. Now a year later, using feedback gleaned from online sales, Ogee took the retail plunge into 11 premium bricks-and-mortar doors with a heavy focus on reaching luxury boutiques in metropolitan areas like New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. With the addition of Free People, Ogee is up to 70 points of distribution in the U.S., according to Abbott Stark, Ogee’s cofounder and chief marketing officer.
“From the start, we looked for and identified carefully curated, high-end beauty boutiques and spas,” added Stark. “We’ve also implemented strategic partnerships with high-end apparel, where and when it makes sense, such as with Free People.”
Following the lead of fellow Urban Outfitters Inc. retail chains Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters, Free People is offering a signature, “free and natural” take on beauty and wellness online and in select stores, with a unique product selection tailored by Shen Beauty founder Jessica Richards. Stark said it is the perfect channel for Ogee to capture untapped consumers and introduce people to the Ogee brand.
“With Jessica’s leadership and vision, they’ve kept it very indie and we’ve thus received a great consumer response. Indie beauty is definitely having its moment,” noted Stark. He added that the company is eyeing additional physical retailers that “do a really good job of making the shopping experience a true beauty destination.” The synergy with physical stores is crucial, Stark explained, because the opportunity to try and test Ogee products spark sales.
Ogee launched last year with its Jojoba Restore Face Oil, Seeds of Youth Serum, Daily Facial Cleansing Cloths and Sculpted Lip Oil. Prices range from $20 for a pack of the Daily Facial Cleansing Cloths which contain 30 face wipes, to $65 for the Seeds of Youth Serum that contains cutting-edge, Edelweiss Plant Stem Cells to help reverse the signs of aging. Ogee’s best-selling product, on and offline, is the Sculpted Lip Oil which features cold-pressed Jojoba Seed Oil and an infusion of organic Peppermint Oil, Stark said. The plant-based cleansing cloths with naturally derived Alpha Hydroxy Acids are a close second on the best-seller list, he said, because they have a competitive edge of being certified organic.
Ogee will be launching this fall an intensely moisturizing, climate-adaptive day cream to satisfy a budding consumer desire — personalization. Slated for early November, the company will unveil its Jojoba Hydration Day Cream, its first product debut since the company’s inception. Priced at $79, the day cream features custom climate-adaptive technology among other naturally derived ingredients like Squalane, Kakadu Plum Extract, Shea Butter Esters, Hyaluronic Acid and Jojoba Esters, Stark explained. The whipped jojoba cream will automatically sense humidity levels and climate conditions and subsequently adjust its moisture levels to achieve optimal and consistent hydration.
“Skin inevitably changes season to season or with travel, and this product can sense the humidity level and deliver the correct amount of hydration to the skin,” Stark explained. “Our Jojoba Hydration Day Cream will serve as a universal moisturizing solution to a plethora of hydration issues across the board.”
Natural and organic skin care is fertile territory, with researcher Kline pinpointing it as one of the fastest growing segments in the category.
“We feel our NSF certification is important and instrumental to our brand’s integrity because it means a third party is inspecting every aspect of our products, from the manufacturing and bottling of our ingredients and products, to analyzing the fields and crops where our Golden Grade Jojoba Oil is harvested in Arizona,” said Stark.
Next on Stark’s to-do list is to find ways to make Ogee’s packaging even more sustainable. This undertaking will be facilitated by the company’s recent capital infusion, which includes raising $1 million in seed money in July 2017 led by Fresh Tracks Capital.
“The investment will allow the company to capitalize on its momentum in the rapidly growing organic skin-care market, which is expected to grow to $5.3 billion by 2020. Our new financing partnership allows us to take the brand to the next level through new product development, national distribution and expansion of our successful e-commerce model,” said Ogee cofounder and chief executive officer Mark Rice.