Founded in February 2020, Faace offered a line of six face care products targeting very specific use states, including a beauty face mask for use during or around periods; an active beauty mask and primer for use when sweating; and a daily treatment cream offering hydration and anti-inflammatory effects for women going through menopause. The indie brand was stocked in several high-end department stores across the UK and US, including Harrods, Liberty and Neiman Marcus; a number of retail stores and sites internationally; and it most recently launched in British supermarket store Planet Organic and on luxury beauty e-tailer Lookfantastic.
Jasmine Wicks-Stephens, founder of Faace and brand consultancy and services firm The Known Community, said designing products for very specific need-states and plugging gaps had been central to breaking into the market.
“A lot of brand founders will say they found a miracle ingredient and it changed their life forever. Our story is we’re passionate about the beauty industry, we do great work helping to build other brands, so could we create something really stand-out using our experience? It was much more about being a research-led brand,” Wicks-Stephens told CosmeticsDesign-Europe.
She said the team behind Faace had identified how well skin care was performing, but also how popular beauty sheet masks had become, and so the goal had been to develop more targeted alternatives but also more sustainable aware options. All Faace tubes used 60-70% recycled plastic and were sold without outer boxes, for example, and for every Period Faace product sold, the company donated period products to those in need, she said.
TLC for ‘key’ life moments – appealing to the ‘everyday consumer’
Wicks-Stephens said Faace had opted to target very specific use-states like period care, menopause, sweating and tiredness to offer consumers a fresh way to shop. “We’re talking to consumers a bit differently, asking: what are the other life moments where you want to give your skin some good TLC, but you’re too busy, that speaks quite realistically to the everyday consumer?”
In the beauty market today, she said whilst there were a plethora of face care brands leading marketing with ingredient and chemistry messaging or encouraging the layering of different concentrates, these were concepts that didn’t speak to the majority of consumers.
“That’s when we came out with Tired Faace and Sweaty Faace because we wanted to pick a handful of key moments in life where consumers are wanting to care for their skin but don’t necessarily have the capacity.” And back when the brand was founded in early 2020, she said there had been a clear gap in period care, hence the product designed for skin changes pre, during and post menstruation.
NPD in 2022 targeting consumer routines now ‘more achievable’
Importantly, Wicks-Stephens said the line catered to a selection of “real life” skin and body changes and helped women in “owning those”.
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Faace, she said, was designed to be “really straight-up, easy to shop, understand and use”. And whilst the company had plenty of other product ideas, from products to help hangover skin or formulas for busy Mums, she said Faace had opted to “creatively create” rather than invest in too many products at once. The company was, however, looking at a handful of new skin care ideas for 2022, she said.
“What we want to do is create more routines for our customers. Initially, we started off as a mask brand and then we developed cleansers last year. So, this year, it’s looking at tapping into key moments – where you haven’t got the time or inclination – and looking at creating more routines.
“We recognised when we first launched that asking a consumer to trade-up to a whole routine is a tall ask. Now we’re growing as a brand, it feels more achievable to ask people to introduce other products from our range into their routines,” she said.
A luxury twist – ‘if I’m being honest, we would have liked to make the range more affordable’
Priced at €28 for the 100ml tubes and €13 for the 30ml masks, Faace sat at the premium end of the face care market – an aspect not entirely in the planning, according to Wicks-Stephens.
“If I’m being honest, we would have liked to make the range more affordable. But due to the standard we wanted to maintain, it meant we had to obviously sell the products at a certain price. So, that sort of influenced where our demographic sat, because as much as a period mask would be really great for someone who is 16, it’s highly unlikely she would have £24 to spend at once on a product.”
And whilst the launch onto Lookfantastic would help broaden the brand’s reach beyond high-end department store customers, she said the brand would likely maintain that luxury appeal because of the price point but also because it had a “young, fun and colourful” but also “chic” aesthetic. On top of this, the active-packed products also worked, she said.
However, long term, she said Faace would like to broaden its appeal demographically over time, particularly given the extensive opportunities in the younger skin care market.
European expansion a ‘key focus’ for the brand, plus the US
The brand also wanted to grow internationally, Wicks-Stephens said.
“I think our first ever retailer was in Spain. We hadn’t necessarily planned to branch out of the UK, but we were being approached by retailers. Rather than it being a big strategy piece, it was an opportunity given to us that made us realise [the brand] doesn’t need to sit within the UK, because it does resonate with other markets as well.”
Faace therefore wanted to continue deepening its presence in Europe – a “key focus” for the brand in the coming months – and also widen reach in the US eventually. Whilst the brand would always remain slightly “quirkier” in the face care category, with some consumers not resonating with period- or menopause-targeted products, she said growth potential remained extensive. “There’s no limit for that worldwide customer.”
“…I’d love it if we had a hero product that was almost like a staple in everyone’s arsenal, whether that be the period mask or something else, and of course it would be incredible if we became more of a household name.”