As the lines between premium specialty retailers and big-box stores blur, premium skin-care brand StriVectin expanded to Sephora.com on Tuesday and plans to roll out into Sephora at Kohl’s shop-in-shops in August.
Before this, the 19-year-old brand focused its attention on beefing up its e-commerce division, which it had focused on since 2017. The brand relaunched Strivectin.com in July 2019, ahead of the Covid-19 e-commerce boom. Currently, DTC e-commerce accounts for 30% of overall sales, said Cori Aleardi, StriVectin president. So far into 2021, StriVectin has grown approximately 35% year-over-year in sales, she added. StriVectin currently sells through Ulta, Nordstrom, Costco, Dermstore and select Macy’s stores, among other retailers. StriVectin has been owned by PE firm Catterton Partners since 2009.
“We had a vision a long time ago when we saw the retail lines blurring,” said Aleardi. “You see the worlds of Ulta and Target coming together, or Sephora and Kohl’s. StriVectin has had a presence in traditional premium distribution, but we want to be in the specialty retailers.”
Aleardi said the conversation to join Sephora.com was separate from the Kohl’s discussion, and that Sephora asked StriVectin if the comany was interested in selling through the shop-in-shop, as well. StriVectin’s core customer demo is wide-ranging, according to Aleardi, but she said that millennials are its fastest-growing cohort of customers.
“We’ve [created] opportunities to talk to a broad set of consumers, so it’s exciting to see the younger demographic entering the brand and seeing how that has allowed us to expand our distribution,” she said.
Sephora and Ulta are both prepping for their upcoming shop-in-shops debuts with Kohl’s and Target, respectively. JCPenney, which has hosted Sephora shop-in-shops since 2006 and will wind down that partnership by 2023, also announced on July 20 that it will work with BIPOC-focused e-commerce retailer Thirteen Lune for its revamped in-store beauty concept. Those shop-in-shops will begin to appear in early 2022. Kohl’s had also worked to build credibility in the beauty retail sector. As such, competition over offering the buzziest shop-in-shop brands will increase over the next several months. The Sephora at Kohl’s concept is expected to have a presence in 29 states by year-end, with stores in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Minneapolis. StriVectin will sell six products in-store, including its hero product, TL Advanced Tightening Neck Cream Plus, and a Sephora-exclusive “Gamechangers” kit.
“The Sephora and Kohl’s partnership immediately expanded both retailers’ physical [and beauty, respectively] presences with larger spaces and store locations, including [Sephora’s] own branded storefront entrance,” said Heather Ibberson, Edited retail analyst. “With 90% of Kohl’s locations being [outside] of malls, Sephora has been able to tackle its goal to expand its presence in these places. This enables the luxury beauty retailer to widen its reach to those in suburban areas and provide more convenient locations for its current customer base, including more effortless curbside pickup.”
Aleardi said StriVectin plans to present itself in-store as a brand that focuses on “science with a soul,” providing an easy approach to understand the science-based background of the brand. In its early years, StriVectin frequently advertised in back pages of publications like People Magazine and through direct-response television ads, where it offered limited-time sales offers to entice immediate purchases. But with its premiumization efforts since at least 2015, StriVectin’s selling points have been less focused on promotional offerings and more on its scientific backing. Its in-store education at Sephora will center on information about products provided on gondolas, and the store launches will be supported by a digital campaign focused on YouTube and Pinterest directing people to Sephora-at-Kohl’s. The brand is participating in its first TikTok gifting program to influencers, as well.
“The brand message has evolved,” said Aleardi. “[It was] once a brand that was once purely about problem-solving and it maybe [did] not make people feel as good about themselves as it could. It has turned into a brand that’s highly approachable and that consumers trust and feel comfortable with.”