Skin-care brand The Inkey List wants to evolve and deepen its education-focused premise with the launch of a new 1-on-1 coaching program called MyInkey.
MyInkey debuted Tuesday and is an extension of AskInkey, an existing service launched in April 2020. MyInkey provides free access to a 24-hour, 7-day-a-week hotline for anyone to ask skin, hair or scalp questions and receive answers from skin-care professionals. So far, AskInkey has served 3 million people. MyInkey is a more extensive free service tool, allowing people to communicate with a dedicated personal coach and receive personalized product or habit recommendations. They can also track their progress through time-lapse photography. MyInkey is designed to further drive the brand’s commitment and ethos that more knowledge empowers consumers.
Mark Curry, The Inkey List co-founder and lead chemist, said that neither AskInkey nor MyInkey are designed to drive sales. KPIs are based on how quickly a customer service rep can address a person’s question and how much time is spent with that person, rather than driving sales with services. The two-year-old brand is on track to triple its 2020 sales by the end of 2021, and plans to double this year’s sales in 2022, he said. Colette Laxton, The Inkey List co-founder and CEO, said the goal is that to have a combined 6 million people engage with MyInkey and AskInkey by the end of 2022.
“We found that over the last 18 months, especially in lockdown, people were using AskInkey as a [skin] support system,” said Laxton. “That’s when we began talking about the power of AskInkey and [decided] it felt too surface-level. People were having a single conversation with an expert, and they were lucky if they got back to the same person [at a later time].”
People can access MyInkey through the AskInkey feature on the DTC e-commerce website through the dropdown menu tab labeled “Recipe Builder,” or download a standalone MyInkey app. Once people launch MyInkey, they can opt to engage as much as they want. If they wish to be paired with a skin-care coach (who are often aestheticians), they can fill out information around their skin-care concerns and are then paired with a coach for at least six weeks, with options to communicate via Zoom or DM sessions as often as someone desires. Users can also upload photos to keep track of their progress. Supplemental information, like weekly blog articles that address a person’s skin-care concerns and goals, will be available to read.
AskInkey itself will remain intact for one-off questions, but with the additional backend ability to save questions and dialogue, should the consumer or skin-care expert want to access them during a later conversation. Aside from AskInkey and MyInkey, The Inkey List has busied itself with multiple endeavors this year including the launch of sub-brand Selfless by Hyram, with Hyram Yarbro, the social media influencer known for his focus on specific ingredient education.
“When we first launched, the main question we always got was, ‘Oh, are you like The Ordinary?’ because we sell ingredient-focused products,” said Curry. “Ever since then, we’ve been absolutely maniacal about bringing knowledge in a personal way to the world. MyInkey is less about being AskInkey 2.0. It’s knowing that the most important thing to get great skin is a have the knowledge about what to do and knowing about yourself.”
The Inkey List plans to promote MyInkey during the first quarter of 2022, starting in March. Laxton said the brand will also work closely with its U.S. retail partner Sephora to figure out how to make the service “come to life” for Sephora customers. The reason for the later marketing push is to better understand what type of investments will be required to promote and grow MyInkey. Laxton said it is a “huge” marketing investment for the brand, but declined to state specifics. She added that 2022 will thematically focus on evolving the brand’s education from general skin- and hair-care knowledge to offering deeper, more personalized information.
“If we continue to put knowledge at the front of our brand, then that’s what people will know to come to us for. That’s versus [coming to us because,] ‘Oh, I saw so-and-so influencer talking about you.’ That’s not our strategy as a brand,” said Laxton.