This week I talk with Hydrafacial about its brand partnership strategy, and how that’s helping to boost the facial service brand’s reputation. Scroll down to use Glossy+ Comments, giving the Glossy+ community the opportunity to join discussions around industry topics.
Though Hydrafacial has been around since 2005, the medspa facial device company is having a renaissance, having inked new, high-end partnerships with luxury skin-care brand Omorovicza and Dior Beauty in just the past few months.
Partnerships have been an important part of the company’s business for the past few years. Hydrafacial secured its first partnership with ZO Skin Health, in 2017, after Hydrafacial was acquired by private equity firms Linden and DWHP. According to Jwala Karnik, chief medical officer of Hydrafacial’s parent company, BeautyHealth, the new owners came in and said, “Here’s this device people love. … It’s growing and it’s profitable, but it’s under the radar. And it’s run by two geeky old guys. If anything’s ripe for putting some investment into and growing, this is it.” The new management came in and injected “new branding and new awareness,” which led to Hydrafacial’s first partnership, she said. Under the name BeautyHealth, Hydrafacial went public via SPAC in 2021.
ZO made sense as the first brand partner, Karnik said, noting that a doctor-founded company felt synergistic with Hydrafacial’s scientific heritage. Partnerships generally involve the co-creation of a “booster,” essentially a serum that Hydrafacial’s technology is said to deliver deep into the skin during a treatment. Hydrafacial’s business operates by selling $25,000 machines to dermatologists and medspas and its corresponding booster products to operate the machines. A typical Hydrafacial service retails for about $250 per session, and the average Hydrafacial customer visits just over three treatment providers per year. Without a partner brand’s booster, a Hydrafacial relies on proprietary serums.
As of now, Hydrafacial offers 20 boosters with a range of skin-care brand partners, many in the clinical space. They include Alastin, Murad, Senté, Glytone and, more recently, JLo Beauty. In its most recent earnings report, released in February, BeautyHealth reported a 41% year-over-year net sales growth for 2022, to $366 million. BeautyHealth also operates Keravive, Hydrafacial’s scalp treatment brand, and a recently acquired micro-needling device company, SkinStylus.
Moving to partner with more and bigger brands is part of an intentional strategy to offer the end consumer more variety, Karnik said. Partner spas often offer any number of boosters, allowing customers to choose a brand that interests them or ingredients that best match their skin concerns. The strategy also comes from an understanding that the different categories of brands — like doctor-led versus celebrity-founded versus luxury, bring in different types of customers — serving the Hydrafacial business and its spa partners in different ways. One brand may provide access to innovative ingredients, while a celebrity brand may help drive awareness. All are chosen for a reason that is mutually beneficial to both Hydrafacial and the brand partner.
With regard to Hydrafacial’s partnership with JLo Beauty, which began in Oct. 2022, for example, Karnik noted that it was an organic development that made sense for both parties. The collaboration operates through a revenue share agreement, though both companies previously declined to share specifics. JLo Beauty’s core demo is Latinx women and women 35- to 55-years-old.
“Jennifer is known for her iconic glow. And she was interested in expanding her reach and her awareness within a professional community, which is what we have to offer. She’s known to the consumer, but an esthetician isn’t recommending [JLo Beauty]. [We offer] a way for her to grow and get some cachet and professional experts recommending [her brand]. For us, it was obviously a chance to grow awareness,” Karnik said.
On the heels of this launch, in October 2022, Hydrafacial saw its highest-ever month of earned media value, at $1.6 million, according to Tribe Dynamics. At the time, Lopez, who has 243 million followers, posted about the partnership on her Instagram Stories. Increasing awareness is a key goal for Hydrafacial. It last measured its brand awareness about two years prior and found that it had around 8% recognition among the public. “It’s still really a rather small brand. We want to make sure we double down with our core [user], give them what they need, and then start to appeal to a broader base to help drive that awareness very purposefully,” Karnik said.
Meanwhile, other Hydrafacial partnerships have been motivated by an innovative ingredient. A forthcoming booster from biotech company Organicell will focus on exosomes, which target inflammation in the skin. It will launch toward the end of the year.
In the case of its newest partnership with Omorovicza, the two brands found they already had overlap in their clientele: Both have an elevated and educated customer who is willing to invest in results-driven skin care.
“When you get the Omorovicza Hydrafacial, it’s cleansing, extracting, hydrating and nourishing, [thanks to] the booster. But it also includes a specialized protocol to incorporate massage. It’s fully customized for what Omorovicza is known for,” Karnik said. She noted that Omorovicza now features Hydrafacial devices at its flagship spa in Budapest, as well as at its spa at Liberty in London. That’s on top of its booster being available in some of Hydrafacial’s 25,000 distributors.
In mid-April, the brand will debut its most exclusive partnership yet, with Dior Beauty. For now, the Dior booster is only available at the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc in Antibes, France. Like Omorovicza, the treatment includes a booster that’s used with the Hydrafacial technology, as well as unique facial protocols. Dior was not immediately available for comment on the Hydrafacial partnership but stated in a press release the rejuvenating properties of the treatment, noting its use of polyhydroxyacids and niacinamide, both of which are said to improve skin texture. Dior most recently shared publicly that it had formed a scientific advisory board to explore the concept of reverse aging, further emphasizing the luxury brand’s investment in science and pushing the bounds of beauty innovation.
“[The partnership] came about because [Dior] has flagship spas, and they wanted to offer something completely unique in their spas. We started speaking and [we asked ourselves], ‘What can we do together that would be really technologically advanced, but unique and satisfying for the very discerning Dior customer?'” said Karnik of the partnership’s origin.
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