Founder Annie Tevelin Is Taking SkinOwl Beyond The Bottle With A Podcast, Self-Care Supper Series And More
SkinOwl founder Annie Tevelin has a team of three who make, fill and ship the brand’s 19 stockkeeping units out of her kitchen. With a presence in clean beauty shops like Credo and The Detox Market, bigger retailers calling, and sales tripling in each of the five years SkinOwl has been in existence, Tevelin could easily outsource the operation or at least move it out of her home, but she doesn’t want to.
“Over the last year, it has dawned on me that I don’t want to go the Target or Sephora route. I don’t want to sell my company in two years, and I don’t need to make millions. I’d rather have a small team and work with small, special experiences,” she says, adding, “Just because I’ve created a skincare brand that caught the attention of Anthropologie, one of the biggest, most integrity-based retailers in the world, which, whoa, was awesome, didn’t mean I needed to do it. Once I told myself I don’t need to grow that way, I felt relief.”
While Tevelin may not be doubling down on distribution, she’s laser-focused on turning SkinOwl into a lifestyle brand. “2018 has been all about digging into how we can help people on a deeper level than skincare,” she says. “That’s always been my main concern, not necessarily creating product, but it is about how can I show people that I care deeply for them? It’s even in our tagline, ‘Where skincare becomes self-care.’”
Her first step to expand SkinOwl beyond skincare was to create an intimate dinner series dubbed Parliament Project, a name derived from the term for a group of owls, bringing together like-minded entrepreneurs, influencers and others. Each month, Tevelin invites 18 Parliament Project inductees to different locations around Los Angeles for a night of eating, drinking, self-reflecting and connecting. After dinner, guests are split up into breakout groups for 90-minute psychological workshops delving into topics such as active listening and the importance of play.
Interested individuals can apply to be a member of the Parliament Project on skinowl.com or be nominated by a past inductee. Tevelin explains, “We nominate people that we think are hustling and bustling, and leaving a mark on the world and doing amazing things, but aren’t slowing and actually patting themselves on the back or processing or appreciating the life that they’re living.”
“Over the last year, it has dawned on me that I don’t want to go the Target or Sephora route. I don’t want to sell my company in two years, and I don’t need to make millions. I’d rather have a small team and work with small, special experiences.”
Once someone is accepted into the program, there is a $209 fee for a seat at the table, which includes food, open bar, a parting gift, a contact list at the end of the night, and a goody bag filled predictably with SkinOwl products, among several items. Previous inductees are welcome to come after dinner for the activity portion of subsequent events. November’s dinner will be the Parliament Project’s fifth installment, and the endeavor has yet to turn a profit, but Tevelin notes that’s the goal. She says, “I would like this to grow and grow and maybe it could be a summit or a retreat.”
Josh Rosebrook of Josh Rosebrook Skin and Haircare and Beauty Heroes’ Jeannie Jarnot have been among the Parliament Project’s participants, but involvement isn’t limited to the beauty industry. Tevelin shares, “It’s people that would normally never have met each other from all walks of life from all different genres and fields sitting at a table. Everybody shows up as strangers, and everybody leaves as friends.”
Many of the Parliament Project inductees, notably Rosebrook, have popped up on Tevelin’s second business extension, the “Off the Record” podcast. “It’s an opportunity for people who are seen in a particular way to be seen for actually for who they are and to be seen wholly,” she says of the venture launched in January that airs weekly on Mondays. “The podcast is inspired by the fact that vulnerability begets vulnerability. We talk as if you’re off the record and not being recorded. What would you say? What would come out of your mouth if you were given that opportunity? It’s freedom for a lot of the guests, and it’s another way for me to start inspiring people on a deeper level. There’s a comedy aspect to the podcast and, then, there’s a very raw and real aspect to the podcast.”
“Off the Record” is currently on episode eight, and episodes have featured The Detox Market’s Merrady Wickes, Thoughtfully magazine’s Brandie Gilliam, Eric Bigger from “The Bachelor” and Luke Storey from “The Life Stylist.” Tevelin is beginning to pursue potential sponsors to support it.
“Nobody needs to be just one thing. Sometimes showing your wholeness can create a bigger brand story personally and professionally.”
Although Tevelin is busy building SkinOwl beyond skincare, she promises she’s not abandoning its skincare line. Earlier this year, she partnered with students at Marlborough School, an all-girls prep school in LA, to develop a Teen Starter Kit. The kit contains Lemongrass Beauty Mist, Ylang Ylang Beauty Drops, Howlite Beauty Wand, Peppermint Beauty Balm, and Avocado and Blood Orange Beauty Bar.
“The kids did all the market research. They created the products. They created what they wanted it to smell like. They told us how they wanted it packaged,” she says. “Then, to their surprise, we actually brought it to market.” The project was noticed by teen clothing retailer Aerie, where SkinOwl has agreed to sell online and in select concept stores. Tevelin says. “We’re not going be sending products to 172 American Eagle or Aerie stores. Again, the goal is not to be on every single corner, but to be in places that matter and actually have a good story behind the retail business.”
SkinOwl also released four crystal-inspired body oils this year, and onboarded with Café Gratitude in Southern California, meditation lounge Inscape in New York City and Lane Crawford in Hong Kong. “The product line is not going anywhere. I love skincare. I’m obsessed with it. It’s still a huge passion of mine, but it will be complemented by these other things,” says Tevelin, emphasizing, “Nobody needs to be just one thing. Sometimes showing your wholeness can create a bigger brand story personally and professionally.”