Lawless Beauty, a clean cosmetics brand founded in October 2017, has found new success since it launched at Sephora in March 2018. The beauty brand now plans to invest more resources into this specific third-party relationship by tripling its number of products to 12, which will include 72 SKUs.
Lawless Beauty is currently featured in the Clean at Sephora shelf in 25 stores but will expand to 40 locations in March. (Sephora has 320 stores in the U.S.) It will also move to its own standalone gondola to accommodate its new products. Annie Lawless, founder and CEO of Lawless Beauty, declined to break out the company’s sales at Sephora but said that the brand is hoping to grow total revenue by up to 400 percent in 2019. Commercial data company Dun & Bradstreet estimates Lawless’ 2018 revenue was just under $1 million.
“It is a new chapter [for the brand] in the sense that more customers will be able to see, touch and feel the product alongside major beauty brands they already know,” said Lawless. “As a new brand in beauty, it is very helpful to have the visibility and credibility of the most sought after retailer in this category behind you.”
Alison Hahn, svp of merchandising for color at Sephora, said, “Following the launch of Clean [at Sephora], our client voiced a strong desire for more makeup options. Lawless is a key brand within Sephora’s makeup portfolio due to its unique positioning of using clean ingredients without sacrificing performance.”
For Lawless, expanding its product assortment allows the brand more opportunity to raise its awareness through the new Sephora setup. Not every brand with a large number of products is positioned on a gondola, and Lawless said that the partnership with the retailer has not changed since it began. Sephora declined to comment on partnership details. Currently, more than 2,000 products from over 50 skin-care, hair, makeup and fragrance brands are in Sephora’s Clean Initiative, but according to Melissa Munnerlyn, co-founder of beauty data firm Cherry Pick, Lawless was the third-most-popular brand in January 2019, as measured by consumers expressing intent to purchase across Instagram.
“When [Lawless] launched, I didn’t have intentions of launching in retail, because a retail partner brings a lot of demands and logistics,” said Lawless. “But Sephora was really excited about my brand and the clean category. [Gondolas] require more product, but is a great way to expand our footprint.”
Although Lawless does not contractually have an exclusive relationship with Sephora (its lip products are sold at Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman), the brand is only opting to grow its brand with the retailer. To help keep pace with the brand’s scale at the retailer, Lawless is exploring a Series A funding round (it is currently self-funded) and looking to hire a director of operations, president and director of marketing. Other indie brands, such as hair-care brand Playa, also had to raise additional funding in order to expand within Sephora.
To date, primary support from Sephora has been focused on social posts and custom animations on Sephora.com. In 2019, the brand will be featured in Sephora’s broader omnichannel campaigns for both color and the Clean at Sephora program, said Hahn. In March, Lawless will introduce foundation samples to its e-commerce site and to Sephora.com, which will allow the brand to participate in Sephora’s sample and rewards program.
“We don’t just take on a brand for the sake of it; we are invested in their success, as that directly correlates to ours,” said Hahn. “We look to help them build their story and grow their business simultaneously, as both are equally important.”