Yes To — the popular, natural-leaning skincare line found on the shelves of CVS and Target — is making a large push toward millennial consumers with a revamp that involves trendier products and an updated marketing strategy emphasizing digital. The initiative first began brewing with the appointment of Ingrid Jackel as chief executive officer in 2015, who was tasked with growing the company’s business from $50 million dollars to over $100 million. With new products finally on deck, the transition may pay off, with industry sources predicting at least 25 percent growth in the coming year.
Jackel’s first move was to make a name change, scrapping the vegetable from Yes to Carrots in an effort to expand beyond the brands’ strict association with fruit- and vegetable-based products. “We’re not moving away from fruits and veggies — they are still very relevant. But as a natural brand, it would be irresponsible [to avoid other ingredients],” Jackel told WWD. Nitpickers will note that the brand is only 95 percent natural, but it’s banking on the introduction of buzzy ingredients like charcoal, coconut and primrose to attract today’s discerning young consumers who rely largely on beauty blogs and their promotion of more obscure tips.
But whether the new additions, all of which were displayed prominently on shelves this past year, are exciting enough to drive up sales remains to be seen. Yes To’s lower price points, compared to brands like Dermalogica and SK II that use the same ingredients, certainly don’t hurt. According to the retail analysis firm Edited, the median global price of charcoal masks has decreased from $32 to $25 in the last three months, compared to the first quarter of 2016. Meanwhile, Yes To’s new Detoxifying Charcoal Peel-Off Mask is priced at just $15.99. The mask’s customizable version, delivered in powder form and meant to be mixed with a household item like yogurt or honey, is also positioned well, given a recent report by the Institute of Personal Care Science endorsing customizable skincare as a major trend for 2017.
To better connect with the social-savvy consumer, Yes To also began transforming its overall marketing strategy last year. On platforms like Instagram, that meant incorporating more influencer-created imagery and of-the-moment product flat-lays, while campaigns began featuring younger models goofing around with products. The website also underwent a redesign, privileging bright, poppy colors and more emotive imagery. The goal, according to Jackel, is to emphasize having fun with beauty.
“I think Yes To’s brand overhaul is not only smart, but necessary,” said Faith Xue, the editorial director of popular beauty website Byrdie. “The younger millennial consumer is so much more well-informed at her age than the previous generation, thanks to the internet and social media. She cares about ingredients, she’s curious about anti-aging before her first wrinkle even develops, and she’s fascinated with beauty trends and products from other countries.”
Indeed, two new introductions to the line are international favorites: sheet masks, inspired by K. Beauty trends, and micellar water, a makeup removing staple popular in France. Although options already abound stateside for both items from brands including Sephora and Estee Lauder, Yes To’s versions, true to form, are meant to stand out for their lower price tags — the micellar water, for example, will retail for $8.99, while the market average is $15 (according to data from Edited).
“The sheet masks and micellar waters are a smart move, as is the focus on ingredients that aren’t so run-of-the-mill, like cottonseed,” said Xue. “I think the brand has the potential to fill the space for the younger customer who grew up buying more mainstream brands but is [now] interested in something more natural, buzzy and ingredients-focused.”
Kathleen Hou, who heads up beauty for New York Magazine’s The Cut, agreed, noting that the purchasing convenience was also a boon. “Sure, you can find Korean sheet masks online at SokoGlam, Peach & Lily or Glow Recipe for the same price point (between $2-3), but they’re not going to be available around the corner, at your local Duane Reade or CVS.”