After pulling out of retail in November 2018 to focus on its direct-to-consumer business, True Botanicals is ramping up marketing efforts with a new, celeb-studded campaign called Truth Revealed and a new editorial site called The Ritual.
On Wednesday, the ongoing Truth Revealed campaign debuted on True Botanicals’ social media channels, including Instagram (where the brand has 144,000 followers). It features actresses Laura Dern and Zazie Beetz and actress-director Olivia Wilde discussing through photo captions and video spots why they like clean beauty and the True Botanicals brand. In their roles as brand ambassadors, the three women received an undisclosed portion of equity in lieu of a paycheck, which Hillary Peterson, founder and CEO of True Botanicals, credits for bringing authenticity to the campaign. The Ritual, a new wellness editorial site, also launched in September and is meant to help connect readers to the brand through articles on topics like sustainability, personal wellness and beauty. In 2018, 5-year-old True Botanicals grew revenue by 200%, and it’s forecasting another 200% growth in 2019, said Peterson.
Peterson spoke with Glossy about the brand’s choice to offer equity, its plans for The Ritual and the new positions it’s added since going DTC.
What was behind the decision to pay ambassadors in equity?
When we were looking at bringing in new activists and considering the pros and cons of equity versus cash compensation, we decided it aligned us all in terms of our desires and efforts toward changing the beauty industry. We could have expeditiously expanded our group of [activist-ambassadors] through cash compensation, but this made more sense. When someone decides to get involved in a company and take equity as compensation, they need to believe in the success of this company and our ability to achieve our goals. That’s a longer-than-usual process because we have to share who we are, what we have planned and how we plan to grow. It takes more work and education and sharing of information.
What’s the goal for your new editorial platform, The Ritual?
We have a front-row seat to the information they are interested in and the types of questions they have. Based on what they read and comments they leave, we can build content around that. It’s basically about becoming a customer’s personal support system for wellness, and then it becomes a conversation. One of the first pieces we published was also about breathwork, for example. We’ll be [publishing] stories twice weekly on topics like personal wellness routines, skin-care tips and tricks, and information around environmental sustainability. It’s about building a community around our shared values relative to wellness.
How has the shift to DTC changed the company?
It has allowed us to consistently focus on the things that offer the best support to customers. It starts with consulting on what the right products are for them, and then after they receive them, it’s about following up through email and social and having that direct relationship. We can be there for them in a way that’s more challenging to do with wholesale. We are building a customer experience team to support those efforts; plus, we’ve roughly doubled the size of our [overall] team [to 30 people] and plan to expand it as the company grows.
We are also putting our energy into understanding how we can serve customers with products. We are doing more surveys for that. For instance, through them, we found there are certain times of the year and certain skin types where an extra boost of moisture is needed; that was based on information directly collected from customers. That inspired us to develop the Moisture Lock Overnight Mask [launched in January].
How have your rethought your customer acquisition strategy since pulling out of retail?
In July, we hired a new vice president [Kate Kittredge] for our brand team, who was head of brands at ThirdLove. We’re also building out our growth team, which is responsible for our direct-to-consumer advertising efforts. Altogether, it’s about doubling down on how we can best connect with consumers. I see [our goal] as linking up with consumer trends. Today, they expect to be able to buy natural and non-toxic products, they expect companies to be transparent, and they are looking for products online. It’s also about building our team to meet customers where they are: online. And that’s certainly where something like content from The Ritual comes into play. What’s hard about selling your products at wholesale is that you can’t do the same level of storytelling and information that you can online.