Field Botanicals Takes Root At Urban Outfitters And American Eagle Outfitters
If you have a stinky “friend,” tell your “friend” to head to Urban Outfitters and American Eagle Outfitters.
Field Botanicals has gone live on Urban Outfitters’ website and is rolling out to 16 stores at American Eagle Outfitters as part of its new beauty selection in November with its odor-busting merchandise trio: aluminum-free deodorant Smell My Pits, body spray Smell My Bod and foot spray Smell My Feet. About a year after their launch, the retailers represent the playful products’ debut on a national stage.
“If you would have told me last year that I would be launching in Urban Outfitters and American Eagle by the end of the next year, I would have said, ‘Shut up!’ My head is spinning from it,” says Jennifer Tinsley, founder of Augusta, Ga.-based Field. “To get in on the ground floor of what they are doing at American Eagle is really fulfilling for me. It’s perfect for me because American Eagle just gets it and their customer will get it. At Urban Outfitters, the buyer told me, ‘You fit right in,’ and I agree. That’s what I was aiming for. It’s validation that I’m moving in the right direction.”
The direction Field has moved in as a brand is squarely targeting millennial and gen Z shoppers snapping up dry shampoo to tide them over in between showers. Its gender-neutral formulas are designed to foster a healthy skin microbiome—layers of tiny organisms that ward off infection—with natural ingredients and allow customers to skip a shower or two (or more) if they prefer not to shower daily or they find it difficult to squeeze excess minutes out of their packed schedules for showering each day.
“If you would have told me last year that I would be launching in Urban Outfitters and American Eagle by the end of the next year, I would have said, ‘Shut up!’ My head is spinning from it.”
“Bathing and showering isn’t necessarily good every day, but nobody wants to stink. I live in the South and, face it, it’s so hot that body odor is an issue,” says Tinsley. “I wanted to do products that were good for people on the go, and for gen Zers and millennials for whom bathing is low on the priority list. They’re busy with their friends and jobs. So, just out of convenience, it’s not always a daily thing any more, but no one wants to stink. These products use plant adaptogens to neutralize odor instead of just covering it up.”
Field’s bestseller is Smell My Pits, a creamy deodorant packaged in a tube that has kaolin, arrowroot powder, shea butter, ylang ylang, calendula, lemon peel and a smattering of baking soda. Tinsley is highly sensitive to baking soda, and the small amount of the baking soda in Smell My Pits doesn’t irritate her. She made Smell My Feet to be able to stand her feet when she practiced yoga. The witch hazel, aloe leaf, glycerin, tea tree, thyme, vetiver and peppermint in it keep feet dry, soothed and fresh. It’s big with soccer and ballet moms, not to mention Downward Dog doers. Smell My Bod is a fresh floral body mist with neroli, lemon thyme, aloe vera, ylang ylang and palmarosa garnering diehard fans.
Before Field, Tinsley didn’t think her career would ever lead to the beauty industry. She worked for regional government as a community planner and had no plans to stop. In 2015, she vacationed in England and, while there, developed severe eczema. “I thought I must be allergic to England,” she recalled. She wasn’t. Tinsley was having a bad reaction to antibiotics, and a holistic doctor instructed her to make body oil home remedies to address the eczema. She enjoyed the process of concocting the oils, and began making facial oils along with body oils to sell at craft fairs and farmers’ markets.
“I wanted to do products that were good for people on the go, and for gen Zers and millennials for whom bathing is low on the priority list.”
At first, Tinsley says, “I didn’t have great ambitions. The oils helped me, and I wanted to help others locally. I spent a lot of time and made a little bit of money.” Two years into her small beauty business, Tinsley’s strategy shifted. Why couldn’t she turn Field into a bigger enterprise? She left the government in January 2017 and dedicated herself to the brand. She invested $70,000 in repositioning and repackaging Field.
“I call it a rebrand, but, even though it’s the same name, I think of it as a new brand,” says Tinsley. “I loved doing facial care, but deodorants are something everybody can and does use. I didn’t want to be afloat in the skincare world that’s highly saturated, even though I can make great skincare. I wanted to carve out a corner in the deodorant niche.” She hired Kruhu, a design studio that added the “Smell My” to Field’s product names, to create packaging that didn’t take itself too seriously. The brand’s recyclable plastic containers are white with black and white lettering, and splashes of color. Smell My Bod has a blue cap, and Smell My Feet has a yellow cap. As the founder of a beauty boutique as well as a brand, Tinsley understands that aesthetics matter. She says, “I’m not going to put an ugly product on the shelf.”
Following Field’s overhaul, Tinsley set out to build the brand in direct-to-consumer distribution, but quickly learned it was extremely expensive to pursue that route. Switching to retail, she felt lifestyle retailers were a natural for the brand. Her feeling was apparently accurate because American Eagle Outfitters and Urban Outfitters reached out to Field once they spotted it on the exhibitor list of Indie Beauty Expo Dallas in April last year. (Indie Beauty Media Group, the operator of IBE, owns Beauty Independent.) Revolve and Free People are on Field’s retail wish list, and Tinsley believes it could also stretch into clean beauty stores like Credo and mass-market retailers like Target.
Tinsley has been pleasantly surprised by the willingness of large retail chains such as the ones Field has partnered with to cooperate with the brand on terms. Urban Outfitters budged on margin a bit to assist Field. The retailer compensated for that budging by increasing the price of Smell My Pits on its site to $19 from its regular retail price of $18.50 for a 2.7-oz. size. Tinsley says, “They know indie is where it’s at and, without negotiating, they wouldn’t get nearly as many indie brands on board.”