Two-month-old personal care company Recess, which makes clean and biodegradable face, body and hair wipes, is fueling growth by using Instagram and pop-ups to form and promote new product strategies.
Today, the direct-to-consumer brand is launching mix-and-match packs of its existing and newly launched products at its first Soho pop-up, aiming to give the customer a more bespoke buying experience. The product packs will be available online next week.
For Recess, over half of its revenue comes from traffic driven by Instagram. CEO Jackie Stauffer believes that customizing its product mix will help build on that momentum, since it will play well on the platform’s explore tab, especially through user-generated content.
“People are finding out about us very much by word of mouth and through friends, so we want to engage with them in a personal way and show customers how the product works for them,” she said. In a consumer survey, 60 percent of Recess users said they are more likely to discover new brands on social media, specifically Instagram.
Recess’ social media followers have grown 30 percent since launching in May, driven largely from event content and unpaid influencer marketing partnerships.
“It usually takes about seven brand impressions for a lead to become a customer and make that first purchase. Since before launch, we partnered with influencers to generate buzz and feedback on the products,” Stauffer said.
Offline, pop-ups play an important role in teaching new customers about the brand. Stauffer said the new mix-and-match packs will educate the customer about the new product launches in the Recess line, including a total body wipe, which will be previewed at the pop-up, a bacteria fighting wipe that will launch at the end of August, and a recently launched aloe wipe.
Of the the tailored product packs, Stauffer said it was about giving the customer more choice. She noticed an uptick in sales when the company began offering free sample packs of two on its site — the brand saw a 30 percent lift in conversion from launching the aforementioned samples. “We wanted to offer choice of what you buy, how you buy and where you buy,” she said.
Recess is on trend as the category of cosmetic wipes is growing; new entrants like Goodwipes landed in CVS earlier this year and are also trying to take market share from incumbents like Neutrogena. Between 2016 and 2017, research firm Euromonitor International saw growth of 10 percent in the category, to $473 million.
This personalized product strategy that Recess employs also extends to its first partnership with fellow startup Skin Allies, which specializes in Birchbox-like kits for clean beauty — a message that Recess is keen on storytelling. The dermatologist-tested skin-care service that is meant to last 14 days began testing Recess wipes the second week of July and will continue to carry them on an ongoing basis.
Though Recess can’t offer wipes tailored to specific customers, these mix-and-match packs and Skin Allies kits are a way for the brand to customize product assortment, as well as test Recess’ own success at an eventual subscription service. It follows the same model of other DTC brands like acne companies Curology and MDacne, and hair-care line Prose which have banked on the rising personalization trend in wellness and beauty.
The pop-up is instrumental for the same reason.
“Retail isn’t going anywhere, and for those that don’t know about us, coming into the pop-up gives us a way to connect and learn about us,” said Stauffer, who cites ingestible beauty brand The Nue Co.’s recent move from online to physical retail as an example. Recess will also start its first third-party partnership with activewear brand Bandier this weekend in its Southampton store.