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When the term “shelfie” came into existence, largely due to Into the Gloss, it referred to a curated set of beauty and personal care products — makeup, skin care, perhaps some hair care. But, the next frontier may very well be the kitchen counter or the cabinet under the sink, cleaning supplies and home care products are finally getting their due makeover.
The reinvention of cleaning products — from laundry detergent to multipurpose spray to good old hand soap — has been multifaceted. For example, there’s a spate of brands coming at the category with a sustainability-driven mission. Blueland, launched in 2019, leads the charge with its plastic-free, just-add-water tablets. And Canadian Aromatherapy brand Saje recently entered the space with aesthetically-pleasing, refillable glass bottles — they use liquid concentrates and are mixable at-home.
And there are many other options that also trade on a more aesthetically pleasing countertop. In 2021, Kris Jenner launched Safely with Good American co-founder Emma Grede. Products are packaged in plastic, but look much more photo-ready than your old bottles of Lysol. And Courteney Cox entered the celebrity brand space in January with Homecourt, which calls its products “beauty products for the home.” In early June, Diptyque, known for its vessel-worth-saving candles, will also enter the home cleaning category.
“What’s happening is that home care is really the next evolution of self care, and that’s why beauty brands and fragrance brands, in particular, are starting to make more home-focused products,” said Sarah Jahnke, CEO and co-founder of Homecourt.
Consumers are also looking to buy into a lifestyle. “As people have begun to live their lives on social media and document every aspect of their day and their aesthetic, [it became apparent that there was] a disconnect between the look and feel and quality of the products they were using at home and [those they were] putting on their faces and hair… All of these people were using Mrs. Meyers, which is a fine product, but it’s not particularly clean,” said Nick Axelrod, Jahnke and Cox’s co-founder on Homecourt, referencing the popular cleaning brand owned by SC Johnson.
For its part, The Laundress has been selling high-end detergent for nearly 20 years. It launched in 2004, and in 2019, the company was acquired by Unilever. On March 27, it will launch a sandalwood-scented detergent in collaboration with Kith, which will be sold exclusively via Kith, online and in-stores. Other recent The Laundress partners have included singer John Mayer, who collaborated on a detergent scent dubbed “Out West,” and Aromatherapy Associates, which teamed on a collection using the latter brand’s functional scents, such as “Support Breathe.” The Laundress has also created detergent with culty fragrance brand Le Labo.
Though the brand’s most important pillar will always be efficacy in caring for one’s finer fabrics, the scent experience is a close second, according to Royce Russell, chief marketing and creative officer at The Laundress. “Fragrance is an integral part of our DNA,” he said.
At Blueland, scent and efficacy also go hand-in-hand. The brand has raised $23 million dollars, successfully brokered a deal on “Shark Tank” and counts Gwyneth Paltrow as an investor. It has also used collaborations, with brands ranging from Reformation to Disney, to introduce its products to new customers.
Unlike other brands, its DIY component means introducing customers to a new behavior — that of blending its tablets with their own water at home. Just a few weeks ago, the company made its first stride into personal care with the launch of a body wash.
For every type of consumer and every type of home — just like with skin — there is now a product option that will likely feel “on brand” for a unique user. It is, likely, only a matter of time until shoppers can scoop up their scented dish soap with their face cream in one stop.
“Even as a mission-driven brand, that, first and foremost, does everything we can to put out the most sustainable products, we also think about how many people we can reach,” said Sarah Paiji, CEO and co-founder of Blueland. “This is why we’ve been focused on branding, our vessel designs and the experience.” Scent, she noted, even impacts people’s perception of efficacy. “Our bathroom cleaner could have been unscented, but we found through consumer insights and testing that, if there wasn’t a fragrance, people had a really hard time perceiving the efficacy of the product.”