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Vintner’s Daughter founder April Gargiulo is the first person to tell you that her product doesn’t come cheap. Consider the brand’s hero Active Botanical Serum, which retails for $185.
On the Glossy Beauty Podcast, Gargiulo insisted this price was despite leaner margins than what the beauty industry typically sticks to.
“They are criminal, as far as I’m concerned,” she said. “If I priced the Active Botanical Serum based on traditional beauty margins, it would be well in the $400 range.”
Gargiulo joined our show to talk about how she started a single-product brand before it was the norm, her Asian market distribution strategy and the pressure to make sure her brand’s second product just as much of a hit as her first.
Here are a few highlights from the conversation, lightly edited for clarity.
Pitching a single product
“People think it was this strategic marketing thing to have one product. And let me tell you, one product? No one understood at first. I knew no one, so I’m cold calling retailers, and I would finally get an appointment and show them the Active Botanical Serum, our first product, and they would love it. They’d be so excited to bring it in, and then they’d tell me ‘Call us back when you have your next product’ because they literally did not know what to do with a single SKU. They didn’t know how to merchandise or talk about a single SKU. It was all about systems, which to my mind feels very dated. It was years before we had traction in the retail world.”
Justifying the $185 price tag
“Traditional beauty margins are criminal and we’re not in that world. It is why there are also certain opportunities that we can’t move forward with because we simply don’t have the margins to pay those marketing dollars or all the different kind of programs that exist in the retail world.”
Launching a second product with big shoes to fill
“You have the moment where it’s this product you’ve been working on for four years and you’re so excited. There’s all of that fear talking. And I have to not listen to that and go forward and really understand what is the truth in this for Vintner’s Daughter. For us it was about creating the yin to the yang to serum, and it wasn’t about creating more serum, which is the skin care Bible of doing things. I would have created Active Botanical Serum for my eyes, for my legs, for my earlobe… that’s what beauty does. They just iterate, iterate, iterate. And for us, that’s not what your skin needs. It doesn’t need more of the same, it actually needs the complementary opposite.”