Cannabis Wellness Brand Plant People Makes A Beauty Play With New Skincare Range

After a successful body oil collaboration with clean beauty brand Tata Harper, cannabis wellness specialist Plant People is striking out into skincare on its own with three-product collection Plant People Cannabinoid + Botanical Skincare.

Launching today on the brand’s website, the collection contains Nourish Botanical Body Lotion, Restore Botanical Face Mask and Revive Botanical Face Serum. Featuring wild-harvested and organic ingredients, the vegan products are cruelty-, paraben- and sulfate-free. They’re each formulated with 300 milligrams of hemp cannabinoids, including popular cannabidiol, better known as CBD, and cannabichromene or CBC, an anti-inflammatory agent believed to be beneficial for acne. Other notable ingredients in the formulas are blue tansy essential oil, kalahari melon seed oil, wakame seaweed and hyaluronic acid.

“We would consider ourselves experts in botanicals, in plants and understanding how we can apply the knowledge of plants for skin solutions,” says Gabe Kennedy, who founded Plant People with Hudson Gaines-Ross in 2017. “Skincare became a very natural extension to leverage our knowledge, our skill set, listen to customer feedback and desire, and identify a gap within the market for high-quality, high-efficacy products.”

Though Kennedy and Gaines-Ross consider themselves experts in plant-powered topical solutions, they’re the first to confess that formulating facials serums is not their forte. “I’m not a skincare guy,” admits Kennedy. “I never use Chapstick. I don’t wash my hair, I rinse with really hot water.” To compensate for their lack of skincare formulation proficiency, they worked with dermatologist Lauren Hackney, food science PhD Anne Kurtz, and Linné Botanicals founder Jenna Levine for over a year to test and finalize Plant People’s beauty merchandise. Kennedy says, “With this sounding board of Jenna, Lauren and Anne, we were able to create really phenomenal products that suited a need and an opportunity in the market.”

Plant People co-founders Gabe Kennedy and Hudson Gaines-Ross

There’s no dearth of CBD skincare for sale. Still, Kennedy asserts there remains a gap in the market for full-spectrum CBD skincare products in the prestige segment with a value proposition. Assessing the available offerings, Kennedy details he discovered “very low efficacy products that were using isolates. Their ingredient panels read like a science project and, oftentimes, it’s very low doses. You have body lotions where the high-potency formula has 200 milligrams of CBD, where ours has 300.” While he says luxury skincare products from Saint Jane Beauty and Beboe Therapeutics have 500 and 300 milligrams of CBD, respectively, the brands’ skincare prices top $100, leaving them out of reach to a large chunk of the beauty audience.

Plant People’s Cannabinoid + Botanical Skincare certainly isn’t a mass-market play. Its products are priced from $55 to $82. The priciest item, Revive Botanical Face Serum, is $82 for a 1-oz. bottle. Because of their premium prices, the products are expected to roll out to a select number of Plant People’s 500 retail doors such as Standard Dose, Inscape and Clean Market. Supplements have been Plant People’s mainstay until now.

“The goal [is] to make this a very strong category for us and be able to enter a lot of the places that we would love to be, but are just not ready for ingestibles.”

“We reached out to a few of our applicable accounts where we think it will perform really well [and] where we can come out of the gate pointing people to specific places that help carry forward our ethos,” says Kennedy, adding that Plant People views expansion into skincare as a way to expand its distribution network. “The goal [is] to make this a very strong category for us and be able to enter a lot of the places that we would love to be, but are just not ready for ingestibles.” In the CBD market, ingestibles remain a hazier category on the regulatory front than topical products with CBD.

Kennedy declined to share the amount of money Plant People spent on its skincare launch, but stressed the investment was significant. “In terms of time and energy, this has really been like starting a whole new business,” he says. “Maybe a little less expensive from a capital perspective because we have some of the systems in place, but, we went out with new structures, new label design. We had to work through a lot of R&D, whole new sourcing exercises. Because we don’t private- [or] white-label anything, everything that we do is like launching a new product. It requires a completely new supply chain.”

Plant People’s Cannabinoid + Botanical Skincare, including the $82 Revive Botanical Face Serum, is available starting today on the brand’s website and at select retailers.

Kennedy previously told Beauty Independent that Plant People’s revenue increased tenfold in the year since its launch. Buoyed by its skincare collection, he expects the brand’s year-over-year sales to increase 20% to 30%.

Plant People isn’t going to be rushing to market with beauty launches every month. However, it will build skincare range beyond this trio. “The intention was to come out with three core products that were high-functioning,” says Kennedy. “We are certainly excited to see how these perform and, then, as we’re able to integrate customer feedback, we can learn where there’s opportunity for improvement. I don’t think that we’ll stop at just three SKUs within the skincare category.”