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The age of ongoing confinement seems tailor-made for the industry’s clean beauty segment.
“We couldn’t be in a more timely position in terms of what we’ve been pushing for as a brand,” said Kosas founder Sheena Yaitanes on this week’s episode of the Glossy Beauty Podcast.
Kosas launched in 2015 with lipstick before moving on to a full clean color assortment. It recently flexed its personal care muscle by debuting deodorant. The company closed a series B in January, on the tail of revenue in the $50 million to $60 million range in 2019. It’s expected to triple that business, according to previous reporting by Glossy.
“I have long believed that the look of beauty was changing. I have long felt alienated from the beauty conversation when you’re talking about a makeup routine that requires 15 products or an hour and a half. And I’m a makeup lover, so I know I’m not alone,” Yaitanes said.
Here are a few highlights from the conversation, which have been lightly edited for clarity.
A market for both kinds of products
“It feels to me like a pendulum swing that went all the way to conventional, to the vilification of conventional, to clean, and, ‘We must all shift to clean, it’s for the sake of our health, and the other version is doing all these things to us.’ Where I hope we actually land is that we give people a choice, just like we do with food, with beverages, with anything that’s available to us that we consume and put in, on and around our bodies.”
The challenge of selling makeup online
“I’ll start by saying we do not have the [e-commerce and pandemic] situation figured out. There’s a really compelling reason why people shop for beauty in person, and that’s because they’re swatching colors to their skin tone, and that’s a hard thing to trust in a purely online environment, [and added to that] is the confusion for people around how to use product. I sit across from all levels of different experts who still feel like they don’t know how to put on their lipstick right. If we’re talking to beauty editors who feel that way, obviously you can imagine how the average person feels. And there is a feeling of comfort that comes with having somebody show you the right way to use something, especially when it’s new format.”
The pandemic as accelerator
“Every value that Kosas has valued down to the types of products we create and the look we advocate for has all been accelerated since the onset of Covid. I have long believed that the look of beauty was changing — long felt alienated from the beauty conversation when you’re talking about a makeup routine that requires 15 products or an hour and a half. And I’m a makeup lover, so I know I’m not alone. In the era that we’re in now, that shift towards quicker, better, performance without so many layers and a dignified appearance… all of that has happened more quickly. We couldn’t be in a more timely position in terms of what we’ve been pushing for as a brand this entire time. So I have felt like I wanted to lead that change, and the environment has actually only helped that for us.”