This week, we dive into Kourtney Kardashian’s Poosh and take a look at Sephora x Kohl’s.
Poosh, Kourtney Kardashian’s lifestyle and wellness content hub and clean beauty store, is making a push to build its community.
Poosh, which turns two this month, is celebrating on Saturday with its second annual Poosh Your Wellness virtual festival. Events set to be included are a facial yoga demonstration, a Kim Kardashian-led vegan cooking class and a future-journaling “manifestation” session. The twist: General admission tickets are free, and VIP tickets — complete with promo codes to vegan mecca Beyond Meat and grab bags full of clean beauty — are $60 less than last year’s $250 tickets.
Sarah Howard, chief content officer at Poosh, said, “It was important to Kourtney and myself that all of the content be free, so that it could be accessible to everyone. [In the past] Kourtney had an app where people had to pay to get onto [the site], and when we did our first virtual festival, we charged for general admission. We decided to remove that barrier of entry.”
Celebrity wellness and lifestyle brands, like Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop and Jessica Alba’s Honest Beauty, are grappling with demands for increased diversity and inclusion, as well as greater price-point accessibility. For instance, Goop’s signature In Goop Health event went virtual for the first time in 2020, during Covid. Because of the less experiential offering, tickets were just $50. This is a new reality for a space formerly known for its appeal to the wealthy and white.
Bo Kim, principal at global research firm Gartner said, “Consumers want to be part of a community they relate to.”
When Poosh was first announced in March 2019, its proposition was a bit of a mystery. Its Instagram bio announced, “This isn’t a monologue. It’s a dialogue.” When the site officially launched in April 2019, Kardashian and Howard said in interviews that the platform would be a place for a community of wellness-minded individuals who wanted to “live their best lives” from “the inside out.”
Despite this verbal commitment to dialogue at its founding, social media — in particular, Instagram — was the only outlet of communication for Poosh fans. The brand also seemed somewhat exclusive, given that Poosh’s first festival, in 2019, dubbed Poolside With Poosh, was an influencer-filled, Slim Aarons-themed pool party in L.A. for Kardashian’s IRL friends.
As the brand has grown over the past two years, it has built other, more accessible touchpoints. The Poosh Your Wellness Festival is a free online event that any Poosh community member can attend. The brand also launched a new community email, firstname.lastname@example.org, for fans to directly contact the brand. Project Poosh, announced in April 2021, is a more business-minded endeavor that will allow one community member to launch an exclusive product on Poosh’s online store. For the winning community member, Poosh’s marketing team promises to guide the “aesthetic” and “story” of the launch,” according to the Project Poosh website.
“We are always wanting to learn with our community — that’s really the genesis of Project Poosh,” says Howard. “We want to amplify diverse voices and give them a platform.”
Currently, Poosh’s store sells its Poosh x Vital Proteins supplement collaborations, as well as a selection of clean beauty and sexual wellness products ranging from $10-$225. With brands like Slip Silk and Saje, it sits at a lower price point than Goop.
Poosh was initially founded as a celebrity-backed brand — a way for Kourtney Kardashian to share her lifestyle with fans. And even now, as the company expands to broader content areas like sexual wellness and builds out its brand store, more Kardashians are jumping on board.
In a recent episode of the family’s show, “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” Kourtney Kardashian discussed her work at Poosh and asked her mother and famous “mom-ager,” Kris Kardashian, to try out celibacy for a Poosh article. At the upcoming Poosh Your Wellness festival, Kim Kardashian will be teaching vegan cooking, and Kendall Jenner will be leading the festival’s happy hour and promoting her new 818 tequila brand.
Celebrity, these days, is no longer a magic bullet. Kim suggested that the brand was successful in utilizing Kourtney Kardashian’s celebrity to draw an initial surge of site traffic to Poosh. However, Poosh, like other celebrity-backed brands, struggled to maintain those site numbers after its initial spike. It saw relatively flat traffic numbers of 350,000-500,000 total visits over the past six months, according to web-analytics company SimilarWeb’s site traffic data.
“[Wellness] traditionally has been a very brand-driven industry that anchored a lot of marketing around celebrities,” said Kim. “What we see now is that a lot of engagement and resonance has shifted away from celebrities to smaller influencers and advocates.”
Moreover, the clean and sustainable beauty space has grown even more crowded, as indies enter the space at lower price points and incumbents attempt to go clean. Ipsy and Neutrogena have recently committed to furthering their sustainability efforts. Meanwhile, Aveda went 100% vegan and Amyris Inc., the parent company of Biossance, further shored up its clean beauty empire with acquisitions and brand launches.
“It’s very saturated and very competitive,” said Kim. “Some of the trends that we saw around natural and organic beauty 5-10 years ago have now shifted to wellness and clean.… [Clean ingredients and sustainability] are baseline expectations from a consumer. It’s expected across all brands.”
According to SimilarWeb’s site traffic data, Poosh trails behind some of these larger clean beauty brands. Goop had almost five-times the traffic of Poosh in March 2021, for example.
However, Howard said that, while clean beauty may be saturated, Poosh’s business model operates in a unique niche.
“What makes Poosh different is that we don’t just focus on clean beauty,” she said. “It’s a full lifestyle, from the inside out. You have the content which you can read, you have the events which you can experience, and you have the products which you can purchase to complement what you’re reading and experiencing. We are really tackling all the different arms of this Poosh wellness lifestyle.”
With a further commitment to the Poosh community, Kim suggests there will be a path to success for the relatively young company.
“When I think about brands’ and retailers’ success stories, like Into The Gloss forming into Glossier or how Goop was able to transition from the newsletter community toward e-commerce, they built on the community first,” said Kim.
Inside Sephora’s Kohl’s Play
Today, Sephora announced its merchandising assortment for its upcoming Kohl’s partnership: 125 of Sephora’s brands will land in 200 Kohl’s stores in August, including Fenty, Rare Beauty by Selena Gomez, Drunk Elephant and Tatcha. 850 Sephora outposts will arrive in Kohl’s by 2023.
It’s expected that Sephora’s exclusive agreements with Fenty, Rare Beauty and other buzzy brands will be the draw, given that this will be their first retail touchpoint outside of Sephora and their respective DTC sites. Seventy-five percent of the 125 Kohl’s brands are exclusive to Sephora and Sephora at Kohl’s. Sephora will also be heavily promoting its Clean offering with an assortment of better-for-you color cosmetics and skin care.
All Sephora at Kohl’s locations will feature 2,500 square feet of dedicated space where customers can explore. Sephora-trained beauty advisors will be on hand for consultations. Knowing that convenience and price are especially important for the Kohl’s shopper, Sephora purchases at Kohl’s and Kohls.com will be eligible for Beauty Insider rewards, as well as store and curbside pick-up –Priya Rao
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