Creating ‘targeted routines’: Lip care startup Esho eyes rapid global growth
Founded in 2016 and launched exclusively on TV shopping channel QVC in May 2021, after an earlier short debut under DECEIM in 2017, cosmeceutical brand Esho offered an active lip care range, including an enhancing serum, lip plumper and hydrating treatment. Available on its own-brand site, QVC and Feelunique, the UK brand was now primed to launch onto Lookfantastic and ASOS and had also just joined forces with beauty subscription service Birchbox.
An offshoot of founder Dr Tijion Esho’s cosmetic treatment clinics business, the Esho consumer brand had long been a goal for the entrepreneur and now renowned cosmetic doctor via his ITV and BBC appearances and Netflix show.
“By the time I’d launched my first clinic almost ten years ago, I had a set idea on the way I wanted things to be – products, devices, outcomes for my patients. I kept always saying, there’s a bigger picture here. Ultimately, from day-dot, I wanted everything in the clinic to be derived from me, whether it’s the product or devices. I knew if I could do that, I could definitely guarantee the results I wanted,” Esho told CosmeticsDesign-Europe.
‘Targeted routines’ for the lips
Esho’s cosmetic treatment clinics were specialised in a range of non-surgical treatments, including Botox, cheek enhancement, brow lifts and lip augmentations, but over time Dr Esho had gained recognition in the field of lip treatments because of his knowledge, experience but also passion in this field.
“We don’t treat our lips like skin; it’s kind of a bit of an afterthought,” he said. “We’ve got a regime for everything, but lips – arguably one of the most vulnerable parts on our face – we don’t.”
The Esho lip care brand had been founded to “flip the script” on this and “give people a targeted routine” for their lips, providing fresh innovation in a space that had seen limited developments, outside of coloured cosmetics, he said.
Kickstarted with four hero products – ‘coat’ a treatment for dry, cracked lips; ‘pause’ a bioactive formula to maintain plumper lips; ‘sculpt’ a serum for enhanced lip shape and volume; and ‘drench’ a hydrating formula for daily use – the line provided consumers with different products that could be layered according to individual needs, rather than an all-in-one offering so common in lip care.
Esho now had plans to expand its offering, with the launch of two daily products: ‘renew’ a hydrating lip peel and ‘seal’ a hybrid lip mask in April. He said that later in the year the brand would also delve into coloured lip care offerings and extra-strength formulas. “We’ve got NPD all the way into 2023, and I’m still thinking of more.”
“…Personalisation is the way it’s going to be. We want to develop more deeper SKUs to identify and hone-in on more key targeted treatments; personalised, targeted treatments are the future.”
Clinically inspired, doctor-led brand expansion
Esho said the fact the brand was “clinically inspired” and “doctor-led” was important in driving true change and innovation in the lip category. It was also particularly timely post-pandemic where more faith had been placed in doctor-led brands and beauty consumers worldwide were continuing to want clinical results at home.
Moving forward, he said that alongside expanding the consumer facing lip care brand, efforts would also be pumped into building out the company’s professional cosmetics line Esho MD which was designed to be used by qualified cosmetic treatment practitioners in clinics, with product offerings for both lip and skin. And growth plans for both Esho and Esho MD would be global, he said.
“I have a clinic in Dubai and have a very strong following there and the US is our second highest demand market, and that’s probably due to what I do and the shows being on Netflix. So, we have a big demand. For us, the UAE and US markets are very important.”
Africa would also be an important market for expansion moving forward, Esho said. “Africa is a key player in beauty and a lot of people don’t realise that. Where we see now, a lot of black-owned brands investing abroad in the US, I think I would like to lead an example where a lot of black-owned brands invest in the core market, where we come from.”
Esho said plans were in place for solid on-the-ground expansion in some key global markets via retail partnerships, though details could not be disclosed at this time.