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Erin Kleinberg likes to say that she’s lived four professional lives. Twelve years ago, in 2010, she was one of the three founders of the Coveteur, then a site known for getting inside looks at the closets of glamorous celebs and fashion industry types. In 2013, she left Coveteur, co-founding Métier Creative two years later. The branding agency has worked with Chanel, Saie, Oribe and Maybelline, among other fashion and beauty companies. All this to say, for years, Kleinberg has been a purveyor of all things “cool.”
Most recently, in 2020, Kleinberg launched Sidia, a lifestyle brand named for her grandmother, a Holocaust survivor who passed away in March 2020. For Métier Creative, the start of the pandemic was a particularly uncertain time, and the company was forced to undergo layoffs as its production clients paused the partnership. “I needed to do something to re-channel my creativity and steer the grief, and do something that felt different,” Kleinberg said. “Even though the agency was continuing, I needed that creative outlet.” At the same time, as her grandmother had been embarrassed by her name, Kleinberg aimed to “put [it] in lights” while “building a modern-day luxury heritage brand in her honor,” she said.
Sidia, the brand, kicked off with a line of caftans, which were gifted to Eva Chen, who has been seen wearing them on her Instagram. Matching sets, worn by Gabrielle Union, followed. Sidia’s also launched bathroom accouterments, in the form of a towel wrap and a perfect-for-face-masking headband. In January, inching toward beauty, the brand introduced two candles, cheekily named “Wired,” a scent meant to wake users up at the start of the day, and “Braless,” a scent made for winding down. The candles are sold at Goop, The Webster and Maxfield, in addition to Sidia’s own website.
Now, Sidia is more intentionally entering the beauty space with its August 16 release of a hand-care duo: an exfoliating soap and serum. Back in February, Glossy reported on the growing category of “hand care” as an extension of both body care and the sanitizer boom.
To launch the hand-care duo, Sidia sent early lab samples to some of its most loyal customers, as well as a smattering of influencers and friends of the brand selected by Kleinberg and her team, which is shared with Métier and offers a full-suite of branding services, which it itself was able to utilize. In addition, they’ll be sending the hand-care duo to about 100 TikTokers this week. Sidia started teasing the launch in mid-June, driving followers to a waitlist for the products, where they could enter their email addresses to be informed of the launch.
“We were hyper-focused on education and awareness, given we are launching an entirely new category. We wanted to have enough lead time that it sunk in and made customers not only aware, but also hyped for the drop. I love the surprise element of seeing the packaging for the first time right at the drop, but for something this new, we had to build trust in our community’s eyes,” Kleinberg said.
Sidia allotted a quantity of the products to pre-sell, providing its towel wrap as a gift with purchase. It sold out of that allotment within a few days.
Of the brand’s trajectory, Kleinberg said, “The whole time that I’ve been running this creative agency that’s worked with all these beauty brands, I’ve wanted to be in the space. But it’s so saturated, and it’s so overcrowded. So I was like, ‘Let’s begin with clothes.” Kleinberg sold an eponymous Erin Kleinberg clothing collection at Barneys in the early aughts, marking her first professional life.
“The candles were the first foray [into beauty] — and Braless and Wired sit pretty on so many women’s countertops,” she said. “Now, hand care is here. There’s such a focus on products for the face, but how many more products can we use on our face?”
When it comes to hand care, there are products by brands like Aesop, Malin + Goetz and Le Labo, but “there’s room for more players,” said Alex Assaraf, Sidia’s director of brand and production, noting that these brands are all helmed by men. “There’s room for a female perspective, there’s room for something different.” That includes, but is not limited to, shelfie-worthy branding.
“Fragrance is such a big part of our company; it’s an emotional storyteller for us. It’s transformative,” Kleinberg said. The exfoliant features notes of bergamot and vetiver. Rambutan extract acts as a natural retinol, while avocado oil hydrates the skin. In the hand serum, amber and citrus notes are the heroes. The product itself is a fast-absorbing, non-greasy, lightweight formula made with avocado butter, shea butter, aloe vera, prickly pear and cactus flower extract.
“Our goal is to have people turn their bathroom into an oasis,” Kleinberg said of the brand’s overall goal. She notes that, as the brand continues to expand into new categories, its products will continue to tie together a pleasing aesthetic, and a calming or therapeutic scent.