On Tuesday, E.l.f. Beauty and Alicia Keys launched her new brand, Keys Soulcare, to provide products that address what E.l.f. hopes is a new dimension of wellness and self-care.
Keys Soulcare, at launch, offers only multimedia content on mind, body, spirit and connection. In December, it will retail three products direct-to-consumer, including two undisclosed skin-care products and a candle, all priced between $20-$39. In 2021, the company will broach retail expansion. The debut of the brand follows on the February acquisition of W3LL People by E.l.f for $27 million and helps cement E.l.f’s trajectory to become a multi-branded conglomerate.
The website KeysSoulcare.com and its weekly email newsletter are populated by articles, videos and audio from Alicia Keys, editorial staff and over a dozen “lightworkers,” who contribute to editorial content and as act micro-influencers on their social platforms. Some of these contributors include homeopathic healer and influencer Emilia Ortiz, Orenda Tribe founder Amy Yeung and Mama Medicine founder Deborah Hanekamp. Initial articles include “Alicia on What Beauty Means to Me,” “Artist Ming Smith on Aligning Path & Passion,” and “Listening to Your Own Narrative.”
“Wellness is a key component of soul care. But when I think about the core values of Keys Soulcare, [they’re] inclusivity, empowerment and this deeper view of beauty; it’s more than just wellness,” said Tarang Amin, E.l.f. Beauty CEO. “The aspect of bringing a broader community in on a mind-body-spirit connection [conversation] is broader than wellness, even though wellness is a critical component of it.”
Keys Soulcare is notably launching when wellness has reached new heights in 2020, but the appetite for holiday shopping is unknown. According to second-quarter sales data from NPD Group, the prestige skin-care category fared better than fragrance and makeup, declining only by 18% compared to fragrance at 37% and makeup at 52%. Online skin-care sales grew by 93% in the quarter, while candle sales grew by 13% overall. Beth McGroarty, Global Wellness Institute director of research, said part of this drive for these products and other tangential wellness items is that the relationship with the home sphere has changed due to Covid-19.
“We’re interrogating our homes as we’re spending all of our time at home,” said McGroarty. “Even if there is a vaccine, the value of the home is [different], and the time you spend at home and the concept of being at home is wellness. People’s wallets are going to go more and more toward [buying things for] their home.”
Keys previously made waves in the beauty industry when she decided in May 2016 that she would stop wearing makeup. At the time, she wrote in a personal essay in Lenny Letter, “I don’t want to cover up anymore. Not my face, not my mind, not my soul, not my thoughts, not my dreams, not my struggles, not my emotional growth. Nothing.” While E.l.f. Beauty owns Keys Soulcare, Keys receives cash and stock-based royalties from E.l.f. Beauty. Over time, as the brand grows, her ownership of E.l.f Beauty through vested stock will also increase, said Amin.
The launch of Keys Soulcare is not the only good news for E.l.f. Beauty. During the first quarter of 2020, E.l.f Beauty discussed numerous boons to the business. For example, new customer acquisition increased over 100% year-over-year, and e-commerce expanded to 17% of its total business, increasing 6% since the end of E.l.f’s 2020 fiscal year in March. Skin care grew to 25% of its e-commerce business, an increase of 7% year-over-year. Net sales for the quarter rose to $64.5 million, an increase of 8% since the end of the 2020 fiscal year in March.
But soul care is a nebulous concept. McGroarty was critical of how much products can aide with symptoms related to larger life-stresses, because most products do not tackle the root cause of an issue. Keys Soulcare plans to expand into seven product categories, including body and hair care over the next three years, said Amin.
“Since 2008, when the smartphone was born and completely decimated aspects of human life, there has been a creeping obsession with anything that has to do with stress, whether it’s the hygge trend or creating a kind of retreat from the world,” said McGroarty.