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Clarins has joined influencer Kathleen Jennings in declaring July 16, Jennings’s birthday, National Day of Masking.
This brand-influencer relationship has organic roots. Jennings is a diehard fan of Clarins’s $67 V-Facial Instant Depuffing Face Mask. Her first post about the brand’s V-Facial line dates back to 2015 and lives on her blog.
Jennings said she first received a V-Facial product in a gift bag at an influencer event. “I started using it, and I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh. Are people talking about this? Because this mask actually does what it says it does.’ There is nothing else out there on the planet that works as well as this mask does.”
Jennings has talked to her followers (currently 189,000 on Instagram) about the line for years and regularly posts about her love of masking, in general. Her bio on Instagram reads, “Jaw-Snatcher-In-Chief 📐💋💄#nofilter 📸 I mask every day 🤩.” She is a former attorney, who, before becoming a full-time content creator, founded a company called Beauty Now, which she likened to an “Open Table for salon and spa appointments.” Writing for the company’s blog first introduced her to creating content. She sold the company to Groupon in 2016.
Despite being a micro-influencer, Jennings’s influence, particularly in terms of selling the Depuffing mask, was so undeniable that it led the brand to pay greater attention to her home state of Texas. “We’re always monitoring the sales and the search terms, … and we were wondering, ‘What’s going on in Texas? We’re always selling that product, we see more search. … [Eventually] we connected the dots. … Kathleen Jennings loves Clarins and loves that product, so we reached out to her,” said Lucas Petry, senior manager of communications and public relations at Clarins.
“I speak with conviction about the products I feel strongly about,” Jennings said. “And I think being very very picky about the products I lend that conviction to carries a lot of weight.”
When Jennings started posting about the mask on Instagram stories, it was a sleeper product, according to Melissa Reidhead, executive director of communications at Clarins. “It was probably in 20 doors. We hardly did any business [on it]. And we were barely present on Sephora as a dot-com business; we weren’t even in [Sephora] stores,” she said.
In 2020, upon discovering that the mask had sold out and hearing rumors that it may be discontinued, Jennings posted in a panic. “She went on, like, a 20-frame rampage — true to her sense of humor — saying, ‘Oh, my gosh. Call your local congressman. We cannot [let this product be] discontinued. This is the greatest mask of all time,” Reidhead said.
Jennings’s followers heeded her call. Clarins received an abundance of requests that the mask not be discontinued. “When we’d get a little bit of stock, our customer care team would let those people know … and then it would sell out again in a couple of hours,” Reidhead said, noting that the stock was very limited at the time. Clarins began to communicate with Jennings when restocks were expected, so she could let her followers know.
The product soon underwent a repackaging and, at the same time, Clarins increased its stock, based on its popularity. Today, it is one of the brand’s top SKUs at Sephora. Jennings still talks about the mask regularly — in fact, nearly daily, Reidhead said. She doesn’t always tag the brand or specify the product, but her affinity is so well-documented that her followers know what she’s talking about. “When we look at sales, [we know] she is converting new people,” Reidhead said.
As such, in 2021, when Jennings first made a plea on social media that her followers join her in celebrating her birthday with a “National Day of Masking,” Clarins saw an opportunity to show its appreciation, Reidhead said. Initially, it was an internal effort, with the company rallying its team to post using Jennings’ requested hashtag, #NationalDayOfMasking.
Last year, Clarins created a more official partnership for the National Day of Masking. It sent out a mailer of the V-Facial Instant Depuffing Face Mask to 2,000 creators, encouraging them to share using the hashtag #NationalDayOfMasking. It also got Sephora on board, with both the brand and the retailer offering a 20% discount on the mask for the day. On her birthday, with Jennings in Paris for a vacation, Clarins treated her to a Clarins facial. “We put her up at [Le Royal Monceau] hotel, and we gave her a wonderful birthday treat. She was posting, and we got great people engaging with the brand,” Reidhead said.
As a result, the mask became the brand’s No.1-selling product on the websites of both Sephora and Clarins for the month of July. Sephora sold through 4,000 units in a couple of days, and on its own site, Clarins sold 900 units on July 16 alone. The “holiday” also resulted in over 800 organic posts on social media that tagged @clarinsUSA and used the hashtag #NationalDayOfMasking.
It was enough of a success that Clarins decided to do it again this year. Another 2,000 mailers were sent out in advance of July 16. Jennings will also be hosting a giveaway with Clarins and beauty publication New Beauty, in which 10 of Kathleen’s followers will receive the mask and the brand’s $56 Resculpting Flash Roller, which is currently sold out. Again, that’s largely thanks to Jennings, who, it must be noted, used it for the entire duration of the 30-minute Zoom interview for this story.
“I feel so strongly that masking should be a part of everyone’s self-care routine,” Jennings said. “In lockdown, the whole idea took off, but we have further to go. [For example] we need to normalize public masking, where you can go out to the grocery store in your mask and your chin strap, and nobody cares. Masking is really about prioritizing yourself and taking time to do what you need to do to feel like the best version of yourself.”