Lime Crime is expanding to Walmart and Target.
In February, the digitally-native beauty brand expanded to the mass retailers both online and across a total of 2,000 doors. All will sell its vegan hair dye called Unicorn Hair Color, as well as its hair-care and hair-prep collections. Hair dye became a significant category for Lime Crime as far back as 2018, and in 2022, the business is expected to be 70% hair sales and 30% makeup sales. In 2019, the breakdown was 85% makeup sales and 15% hair sales. Andrea Blieden, CEO of Lime Crime, said the move to mass is inspired by the brand’s younger customer demo and their interest in shopping in mass retailers. Lime Crime also sells through Ulta Beauty, Amazon, Sally Beauty and its own e-commerce site.
“Consumer habits have changed, and that has to change your brand and your thoughts on distribution. People want more convenience,” said Blieden. “This [expansion] gives us the full spectrum of retailers now, which we’ve never had before. It completes [the customer journey] in finding Lime Crime.”
Blieden said Lime Crime is not abandoning its makeup proposition, despite sales leaning more toward hair. For example, the brand’s e-commerce channel still leans toward makeup, which accounts for 70% of sales in the channel. She theorized that customers more often buy the brand’s hair dye in-store than online because vibrant hair color purchases are often an impulse purchase for in-store shoppers. Overall, the brand’s wholesale sales account for 70% of revenue, and e-commerce makes up the remaining 30%.
The mass retail expansion comes about eight months after Lime Crime was repositioned in May 2021 as it sought to spotlight self-expression and its vegan and cruelty-free products. It was designed to depart from the brand’s product-focused marketing in the past, which neglected to express the brand’s values and differentiation. Blieden said the campaign around the new positioning gathered 1.3 billion impressions in May across Instagram, TikTok and YouTube. The assets from that campaign are being repurposed for the in-store signage at Walmart and Target, where Lime Crime will have a half-palette display.
“[Storytelling] is important for us, as this is our first foray into [the mass channel]. We’re [providing] awareness, navigation and some education on the brand so that the customer’s introduction will be easier,” said Michael Trempus, vp of global sales for Lime Crime.
Trempus also said distribution to Walmart and Target would inform Lime Crime about its regional sales performance and inform the brand’s more localized ad and marketing strategies. Hair dye has continued to be a central focus of the hair-care market. Sales for at-home hair dye have continued to increase since 2020, and brands like L’Oréal Paris, IGK and Madison Reed have launched or expanded their hair dye offerings.
Concerning whether Lime Crime would also consider expanding its color cosmetics to mass retailers, Blieden said the brand is working on some ideas related to this but declined to share specific details or a timeline. Other priorities for this year include refreshing brand imagery, including with an upcoming influencer campaign for which content creators dyed their hair. They also include launching makeup products during the current, industry-wide rebound in makeup sales, and figuring out the brand’s own internal operations and whether to continue working remotely.