Direct-to-consumer men’s brand Scotch Porter thinks CBD is the future of its men’s grooming business. This week, the 2-year-old company launched a four-piece, limited-edition Cannabidiol beard collection, comprised of a wash, a conditioner, a balm and a serum.
While cannabis-related products have been a growing area in the last year among women’s beauty and wellness brands, as well as beverage companies like Dirty Lemon, men’s products have remained largely untapped, said Scotch Porter founder and CEO Calvin Quallis.
“CBD is definitely a trendy ingredient right now, but there is a large opportunity in grooming because of its abilities with skin sensitivities, like eczema, dryness, irritation and flakiness,” he said.
CBD accounted for $190 million in retail sales last year, according to Hemp Business Journal, and that is without the larger support of beauty retailers like Sephora and Ulta.
That Scotch Porter chose to include CBD in its beard products versus its other categories — like hair care and shaving, and its new body-care collection, launched in July — was a business decision, said Quallis. The brand’s beard suite accounts for 45 percent of business, and Scotch Porter had not updated that collection of products since the company’s launch. (Quallis said 26 percent of its nearly 200,000 subscribers regularly asked for a new scent or ingredient in surveys the company sent via social media and email.) According to the company, in its first year, it hit over a million dollars in revenue, and it has experienced 300 percent year-over-year growth in the last two years.
As the brand’s customers, who are 25- to 45-year-old men, are yearning for newness from the brand, expectations are high for the CBD beard collection, said Quallis. This is in-line with larger customer shifts around cannabis: Consumer insights company Toluna reported that, in a recent survey, more than 50 percent of respondents approved of cannabis- or marijuana-infused products, and 36 percent said they utilize or would be willing to use beauty and cosmetic products with those ingredients. From ideation to launch, the Scotch Porter CBD products were developed over a four-month time period. The brand’s prior release, the body-care collection, has grown to 15 percent of sales since debuting in late July.
Quallis does not plan on releasing additional scents or category updates too frequently.
“We are not the kind of company where 10 new scents or 10 new products in the same category would ever make sense,” he said. “We have to be thoughtful about what to add and when, and let our customers guide how our collections grow.” The company currently experiences a repeat purchase rate of 55 percent per month, demonstrating its existing loyalty, said Quallis.
From a marketing perspective, Scotch Porter will be pushing the CBD launch on social media, through an increased micro- and macro-influencer marketing push, and via email. (Emails drive 30 percent of the brand’s e-commerce sales.) “Influencer marketing continues to be an important piece of our marketing mix, representing 20 to 25 percent of our marketing spend. We expect that to grow to 28 to 30 percent in 2019,” said Scotch Porter senior brand director Aleesha Worthington.
Past influencer activations have included actress Draya Michele with 6.9 million Instagram followers, Kansas City Chiefs football player Orlando Scandrick with 365,000 Instagram followers and YouTube personality Giovanni Ferrer with nearly 280,000 subscribers on the platform. Quallis did not disclose the terms of those past agreements. “Leveraging authentic conversation has proven to work for us,” said Worthington. For instance, a previous Scotch Porter post by Michele garnered 128,000 likes on her feed. Additionally, in the five months since developing a full-fledged influencer marketing strategy, the company has seen 20 percent of sales come from those word of mouth referrals.
For Scotch Porter, using influencers will also help the brand remove some of the existing stigma around CBD, as Google and Facebook still do not allow drug or drug-related promotions on their sites since marijuana is still illegal on a federal level. “It’s driving results for us, and there is so much more room to grow within the influencer marketing space,” said Quallis. “We are pulling dollars away from other channels like Facebook because of the price, and because influencer marketing is more of a fit for us right now.”