XO Balm: new naturals indie brand launch

By Lucy Whitehouse

- Last updated on GMT

XO Balm: new naturals indie brand launch
XO Balm is an indie, clean and minimal skin health product, combining natural ingredients with sustainable packaging. The brand says it aims to appeal to those who want to care for their skin and the planet. We caught up with founder Charlotte Libby.

Quickfire facts & figures on XO Balm

  • Launch date: July 2017

  • Products (how many): one, XO Balm; matte, waterless and natural multipurpose balm

  • Retail channels: XOBalm website and independent boutiques (physical stores and online)

  • Markets you operate in: Europe, US and Canada

We sat down with Libby to hear why she founded the brand, and the challenges and opportunities that come for an independent brand in the naturals space.

What is the defining ethos or idea behind XO Balm – as a product and as a brand?

XO Balm​ is beauty for minimalists: minimal products, minimal ingredients and minimal waste.

This minimalistic approach is focussed on not stressing sensitive skin, streamlining product collections and reducing landfill waste.

Going back to setting up the company: can you explain any major challenges or hurdles that you had to overcome?

I think it was harder to gain traction with consumers and retailers with a minimal offering; without a wide variety of products to tempt people, we are trying to convert with just one.

XO Balm began as very much a passion project and has grown organically. We have most listings with Independent boutiques with simple on-boarding processes, as it can be a barrier for larger retailers to undergo the procedure of bringing on a new supplier for just one product.

Can you describe a major high point in your story so far?

The reaction from the press has being amazing, as a tiny startup without huge marketing budgets, the press reviews have been instrumental for our growth so far.

Receiving emails from customers who XO Balm has worked wonders for has always been a joy.

What makes your standout product special, and what trends does it respond to?

XO Balm is a multipurpose balm to nourish skin and treat any dry, rough or sensitive areas with an effective combination of natural ingredients.

It can be used on all areas of the body; face, lips, hands, feet, nails, hair and more. With the mirror and spatula, XO Balm is the travel essential for those seeking pure, minimal skincare.

The packaging is one of our main selling points, the metal tin is designed to be reusable once the product is finished.

With minimal branding and the mirror in the lid it is an ideal travel case for jewellery. Starting exclusively as an ecommerce business we also sized the product to fit through mailboxes, meaning no missed deliveries.

XO Balm has no outer packaging and the shipping materials are recycled and recyclable. This focus on considerate and minimal packaging is aligned well with the importance of sustainability and eco consciousness.

The four ingredients in the waterless formula are all recognisable to consumers, a big factor of the clean beauty trend. XO Balm provides skin with only what it needs to be healthy; replenishing and strengthening with natural ingredients.

Most exciting trends you’re seeing in the industry for 2019?

Sustainability continues to grow with a big focus on packaging waste. Documentaries and the growing discussions around fast fashion is also impacting the beauty world. Packaging is having to evolve to be necessary and justified to continue to win consumers.

I see beauty becoming increasingly holistic and blurring boundaries with health and wellness. Beauty ingredients and treatments are aligning more with diet and mental health.

Are you expecting any key challenges in the coming period?

As with many U.K based companies who sell into Europe, the possibility of border disruption when moving goods is a concern this year.

Charlotte Libby is on our panel of expert judges for this year’s Beauty Industry Awards​, organised by Cosmetics Design. Find out more and enter your ingredients, brand and products here​.

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