Microcurrent device brand NuFace has brought in beauty industry veteran Jessica Hanson as its new CEO, prepping the 17-year-old brand for its next growth phase.
Internally, the NuFace team is regarding Hanson’s appointment as the beginning of phase 2.0 for the company, said Tera Peterson, co-founder and former CEO of NuFace. Peterson will remain executive chairwoman and chief creative officer. The 2.0 era will focus on personalization from NuFace devices, international expansion and the creation of additional skin-care products. NuFace sells through just under 1,000 doors across the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Australia, U.K. and Ireland, among other countries. International sales are expected to comprise 30% of total revenue in 2022. The company surpassed $150 million in annual retail sales in 2021, according to Peterson.
NuFace will also open up a flagship spa in San Diego by August that will be open to influencers and media initially. NuFace and Peterson have a long-standing strategy of making personal calls to influencers to create stronger connections with public figures. They’ve included Ellenor Kim (@EllenorKim, 154,000 Instagram followers) and Maryam Ghafarinia (@Maryam.Ghafarinia, 186,000 Instagram followers). In the past, NuFace has found such housecalls improve Instagram Stories and post engagement from its own followers. It has 257,000 Instagram followers.
“It’s about having a digital-first mentality. It’s not just about e-commerce, but it’s also about bringing the brand to life at a touchpoint [on your] phone,” Hanson said.
Hanson said NuFace’s “next innovation” will arrive at the end of the third quarter. It will include Bluetooth technology and will be app-enabled and pegged the personalization experience. According to the Apple iOS app store, NuFace does have an app that it launched six years ago, but it has not been updated since 2020. That app’s features include how-to-use tutorials, self-set reminders for when to use the device and “personalized treatments based on your skin concerns,” according to the app store description. Device brands like Clarisonic and Foreo offered apps and Bluetooth-connected devices as far back as 2018. In 2019, Clarisonic followed up with a rewards program to boost device usage and gather customer data, before shutting down in 2020. Hanson said the goal is to create a NuFace-owned digital community where users can easily access educational content.
“We know how [customers] are interfacing with brands today. We want to make that more personal and [offer] a customized experience and something that drives loyalty, not just a one-time purchase,” she said. “Someone will try something once or they’ll even buy it, and they won’t be religious about it. We believe that the digital world will unlock that.”
NuFace plans to launch additional devices starting in September. It may even bring its new launches to CES in 2023. NuFace currently has four face and body devices. Peterson said NuFace has always been a brand that integrates science and technology because it is “first and foremost a device company.” But, as the company evolves, it is becoming a more “holistic skin-care company, [and] not just devices,” she said. Technically, NuFace also offers skin care products for sale, but only since 2019 has the 17-year-old brand focused on skin care as a core offering. Skin care accounts for approximately 20% of brand sales, Peterson said.
In September, NuFace will expand further into Asian markets like China, Hong Kong and South Korea. Hanson said the idea in Asian markets is to fine-tune NuFace’s communication strategy to be more brand-led than product-led. To her point, one device is only as good as the next, and protecting the brand’s intellectual property in those markets is also a priority. NuFace will launch more extensive campaigns and sign up brand ambassadors in Asian markets in September. It will focus on younger consumers, namely Gen Z and young millennials.
“There’s a multi-pronged approach to NuFace 2.0. We’re not just about the next product launch. The products have to be meaningful, and we have to continue to listen to our customers,” said Hanson. “But more than that, we have to continue to build the brand in the most [business] sustainable way.”