Baby care brand Pipette pivots from premium to mass distribution

Pipette, the 2-year-old Amyris Inc.-owned clean baby care brand, is reducing its pricing and pivoting its brand positioning to reach a larger, mass customer base.

After Pipette launched in Sept. 2019, it exclusively sold through specialty and luxury retailers like Nordstrom. Prices were $7-$22. According to Daya Fields, Pipette president, Pipette saw that, during the pandemic, the mass retailers where it was not carried were deemed essential and allowed to stay open; its positioning as a premium brand made it hard to serve customers for replenishment, even though baby care is a repeat purchase. As of July 12, Pipette adjusted its pricing to $5-$20, while also adding Target, 2,300 RiteAid locations and 7,000 Walgreens stores as retail channels in 2022. E-commerce sales currently account for 60% of Pipette’s sales, while 40% of sales are through brick-and-mortar.

“When you are not in wide distribution, you’re not looked at as a daily essential. You’re not looked at as a replenishment type of brand,” said Fields. “You’re almost looked at as a special occasion or special moment brand. We wanted to move away from that and become a solution for everyday use.”

The decision to pivot comes as the premium baby care sector grows more crowded, with companies like The Honest Co. proving that the clean baby care concept works in mass channels. Dr. Barbara Sturm, Chantecaille and probiotic brand Aurelia all offer their own premium baby sub-brands. There is also Versine Skincare, which soft-launched in June, and is designed for breastfeeding and pregnant women; its two products both sell for $80. In the mass category, the continued concern over Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder has perhaps turned people away from heritage brands toward newer challengers. Fields said that taking market share from those incumbent brands is part of Pipette’s strategy. Its core customer demo is 83% women ages 24-43.

“Within the online [e-commerce] industry, baby toiletries account for an estimated 14.4% of [baby care industry sales], which has been a growing segment as demand has grown for natural, environmentally friendly and non-toxic products,” said Jackie Hiner, IBIS World retail analyst. “Additionally, a majority of parents purchase baby products within a more one-stop-shop environment or online for added convenience, making these products available at mass merchandisers increasingly appealing. Mass merchandisers and online shopping platforms have become increasingly popular during the pandemic, as consumers have limited errands to reduce virus exposure.”

With its entrance into mass retailers, Pipette will offer manufacturer’s coupons, in-store promotions and signage in order to appeal to new customers in-store. Pipette informed existing customers of the change through Instagram Stories and posts. It also shared the news with an undisclosed number of email and SMS text message subscribers.

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