Known for its oil-based skin-care products seen on the Instagram feeds of Chrissy Teigen and Hailey Bieber, Mara Beauty is making its way into Sephora.
Starting January 3, the luxury skin-care brand’s entire collection will be available on Sephora’s site. Five products from the brand will also be available at 252 U.S. Sephora physical locations starting in March. Sephora is the latest retail partner for Mara Beauty, which is also stocked at Goop, Credo Beauty, Bluemercury, Revolve, Anthropologie and Free People, among others. The brand has seen 20% year-over-year sales growth in the past year as it has expanded its product lineup and retail footprint while gaining visibility thanks to celebrities.
“Sephora was always the goal,” said Mara Beauty founder Allison McNamara, who launched the brand in 2018. “As I was putting the brand together, I went into Sephora and I was envisioning this brand being there.”
Retail partnerships have always been an important part of the brand’s distribution strategy, said McNamara. Currently, its DTC site accounts for 32% of its total sales. Its initial retail strategy focused on smaller clean beauty retailers and boutiques, launching at Credo Beauty three months after debuting the brand.
“It was important for us to get that clean retailer and that respect in the clean beauty world right from the get-go,” she said.
The brand’s current top seller is its oil cleanser, while its face oil follows closely behind. Both of these products will be at the physical locations, along with the brand’s vitamin C and retinol oils.
Mara Beauty’s oil cleanser saw a sales surge after appearing in an April 2021 nighttime skin-care routine YouTube video by Hailey Bieber, who was introduced to the brand by McNamara’s wife and Bieber’s hair colorist Cassondra Kaeding.
“I thought Shopify was glitching” due to the increase in sales after Bieber posted the video, said McNamara. The momentum has continued in 2022, as Bieber featured the product again in a video for Allure in April. Sales of the cleansing oil are up 35% year-over-year. The brand’s Universal Face Oil also saw an increase of 20% this year, gaining its own cult status after being featured on Chrissy Teigen’s Instagram feed back in 2020.
Formerly working as both a PopSugar reporter covering celebrities and an editor at hairstylist Jen Atkin’s site Mane Addicts, McNamara recognized the power of celebrities and influencers in what she calls the “new-age pop culture conversation.” While she has a following of her own of 45,000 on Instagram, she doesn’t consider herself an influencer.
“It’s really exciting that Sephora is going back to their roots and giving a chance to indie brands,” she said. “The landscape for so long was celebrity- and influencer-based brands. To have the opportunity to go so wide in their stores with a non-celebrity, non-influencer founder is really exciting.”
Using mostly glass packaging and providing support for kelp reforestation efforts in the ocean as part of the “blue beauty” movement, the brand qualifies for Sephora’s “Clean + Planet-Positive” stamp. In order to earn the “Planet-Positive” designation, the brand worked with the organization Climate Vault to earn scope 1 and 2 carbon-neutral status.
To support its Sephora launch, Mara Beauty will take part in a 75,000-packet sampling program with the retailer. For physical stores, McNamara said she plans to go on a road trip to as many locations as she can to educate store associates and managers in-person about the products.
“It’s going to be important for me to do those active sales support moments,” she said.