Thanks to the rise of clean beauty and buzz-generating brands, drugstore shelves are seeing a shakeup.
Today, skin-care brand Boscia is officially announcing on social channels its launch in select Walgreens locations across the U.S. The brand began distributing to stores on October 16, offering eight products in total. The lineup consists of four cleansers, two moisturizers, a mask and an eye cream, including two products from its flagship charcoal collection. The distribution is exclusively brick-and-mortar at roughly 2,500 Walgreens beauty-focused locations. Boscia’s expansion marks the latest in a wave of beauty brands hitting the shelves of top drugstore chains, highlighting “essential” retail channels’ heightened importance during the pandemic.
The pandemic “definitely did change our retail strategy,” said Lan Belinky, the co-creator of Boscia. “Boscia was definitely no exception when the pandemic hit, and with the brick-and-mortar stores closing, it definitely did hit us.” She also noted that “one of the key things in order to survive is to be flexible. And this was definitely our best way to be flexible with what’s been happening.”
A botanical clean beauty brand, Boscia is stocked at a wide range of upscale beauty retailers and department stores including Sephora, Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom. But according to Boscia parent company Fancl’s annual report, the brand’s growth is coming from its newer retail partners, Ulta, Amazon and Costco. For the fiscal year ending in March 2020, Boscia saw 7.5% year-over-year sales growth due to these channels, despite “struggling sales at our major business partners.” The report also said that the brand is focusing on improving Amazon and Costco sales, as well as launching products in “major U.S. drugstore chains” in the fall. For now, the brand does not have other drugstore launches planned.
Locations like drugstores, grocery stores, and big-box stores have become especially desirable for brands during the pandemic, when being an “essential” retailer means being able to avoid store closures and attract higher foot traffic. Belinky noted that it was especially beneficial to be in stores where people are stocking up on other essentials.
Boscia is not the only new beauty brand making its way to drugstore shelves. On October 22, Drew Barrymore’s makeup brand Flower Beauty celebrated its launch at CVS in over 3,000 doors across the U.S. as well as on CVS.com. To promote the launch, Barrymore made an appearance at a CVS location in Manhattan, and the drugstore chain offered a redesigned rainbow bag for the occasion. The line is also available at Walmart and via its DTC site.
Other new brands joining the CVS lineup include several trendy K-beauty brands. Korean skin and hair brand Lapcos launched in 3,500 CVS stores and online this month, expanding from Amazon and DTC. K-beauty makeup and skin-care brand Touch in Sol launched in 850 CVS doors and online on September 24, after entering the U.S. market in 2015 through Sephora and expanding into Ulta in 2018. Brands blurring the line between personal care and beauty are also joining drugstore shelves — Spotlight Oral Care, which is also available at Ulta, launched in CVS this summer.
Walgreens is “looking to ramp up beauty” and “clean beauty, as well,” said Belinky. “Individuals are becoming much more savvy, and that’s probably one of the reasons why we’re seeing such a big trend in this clean beauty movement.”
Brands see the expansion into drugstore doors as part of a long-term trend as they work to pandemic-proof their businesses.
“Right now, there is no vaccine. I don’t know when there will be one, and who’s to say this isn’t going to happen again?” said Belinky. “Really just looking down further than 2020 and 2021, I do feel that the retail shopping patterns may change.”