Active beauty startup Wild Science Lab eyes ‘shop in shop’ ME and UK expansion

By Kacey Culliney contact

- Last updated on GMT

Wild Science Lab is also firmly invested in travel sizes and sampling to help expansion efforts and new consumer uptake [Image: Travel-size Hair Care by Wild Science Lab Facebook]
Wild Science Lab is also firmly invested in travel sizes and sampling to help expansion efforts and new consumer uptake [Image: Travel-size Hair Care by Wild Science Lab Facebook]

Related tags: active beauty, Skin care, Hair care, CBD, Hemp, Vitamin c, sample size, D2C, Middle east, retail

Active hair care and skin care startup Wild Science Lab is expanding its retail footprint into the Middle East, opting for a shop in shop model that enables consumer consultation on its preventative and targeted products.

Founded in 2018, UK-headquartered Wild Science Lab launched its first two ranges in late 2020 after around two years of development – a leaf and seed hair care line and a root and fruit face care line. The hair care range featured CBD and hemp seed oil, designed to offer a preventative approach to scalp problems, and the skin care range vitamin C, bamboo extract and aloe vera, designed to reset and revitalise facial skin and target hyperpigmentation and dullness.

The company had since expanded its offering and was planning to add a third collection by 2024 in body care. By the end of this year, Wild Science Lab would also unveil a new skin care range targeting blemish-prone skin and a hair care range aimed at boosting hair growth.

“We intend to continue our development of Wild Science Lab products for both ranges [hair and skin] and also innovate and invest in new opportunities in ingredients,”​ said Ali Wasfy, CEO of Wild Science Lab.

As the company did so, Wasfy told CosmeticsDesign-Europe the brand would continue to work with ingredients either clinically proven or patented to ensure strong efficacy given the products were designed for daily use and prevention for a range of scalp and skin issues.

Retail expansion across Middle East

Wild Science Lab was also heavily focused on expanding its retail footprint, he said, launching into department store major Printemps in Paris this month. In September/October, it would then expand into the Middle East via this chain, he said, with a ‘shop in shop’ set-up.

Asked why the brand was focused on department stores versus mass beauty retailers or supermarkets, he said the ‘shop in shop’ strategy meant trained staff could engage with consumers on the shop floor and advise them on what products suited certain needs. “We don’t want to put [the brand] everywhere and anywhere. We want to focus on a place where the partners can invest with us, so they can support us and transfer the message to the customers.”

He said Wild Science Lab was also in conversation with two well-known departments stores in the UK, with the view to launching online by November and in stores by January 2023.

Try before you buy – the power of subscriptions and sampling

Online, the brand also wanted to maintain its reach, with products currently available via its own website and a range of multi-brand platforms, including Feelunique and Amazon. It was also working with several beauty subscription services like Birchbox and Glossybox.

Working with these subscription services, Wasfy said, was a great way of getting product out to new consumers and creating a “bigger foundation to grow the business”,​ versus relying on ads.

“We believe it’s more strategic if you’re confident about your formula because all the database grows organically from people who tested the product.”

Travel-size variants will continue to be a key lever to growth [Image: Wild Science Lab Facebook]
Travel-size variants will continue to be a key lever to growth [Image: Wild Science Lab Facebook]

Getting consumers to try and test the brand was a key lever to growth, he said, particularly as a startup in such a competitive beauty space post-COVID.

As it expanded its retail footprint, for example, it would send samples to its department store partners to distribute to consumers and, online, it would continue to offer travel-size variants.

“Because of the crisis, as you know, economically people don’t want to invest in something and then not use it. So, travel size makes sense to try the product before they switch from company to company or brand to brand. It’s more cost-effective in terms of price.”

“…There is not much space nowadays for new brands because of the competition, and the current situation – the crisis. So, the uniqueness of the brand or product needs to stand out so that you can compete against the competitors or prove you are the right product,”​ he said.

Sustainability central to growth and NPD

As the brand continued its growth plans, Wasfy said it would also remain heavily focused on sustainability. All its products were currently certified vegan and cruelty-free and packed in 100% recyclable packaging, for example, which tapped into this important beauty movement. The brand also worked with sustainably sourced, natural active ingredients.

All Wild Science Lab packaging is 100% recyclable [Image: Wild Science Lab Facebook]
All Wild Science Lab packaging is 100% recyclable [Image: Wild Science Lab Facebook]

“Everybody is focusing now on sustainability – people like to focus on getting more sustainable solutions in terms of packaging and sourcing of ingredients. And not just that, but the production itself, to improve the carbon footprint, for example.”

“…Our mission here is to provide premium, affordable solutions (…) and to completely respect the environment,” ​he said.

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