How Ingestible Collagen Is Unlocking The Potential For Wellness Sales At Prestige Beauty Retailers
Known as the body’s scaffolding, collagen has structural importance for the beauty industry, too.
The ingestible protein provides beauty retailers, particularly department stores and specialty chains, an opportunity to build supplement sales and acts as bridge to the $4.2 trillion wellness industry. Without the pharmacies that are present at drugstores and big-box locations, prestige beauty retailers need a pivot point to push into health and wellness.
“Collagen is a simple story. It is easy to understand and can be a gateway into more supplementation,” says Amanda Chantal Bacon, founder of Moon Juice, a plant protein and adaptogen product specialist sold at its own three stores, Sephora, Nordstrom, Free People, Urban Outfitters and The Detox Market. “The popularity is another indication people are ready to make the step to add beauty supplements to their regimen.”
Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman are making statements in supplements. Neiman Marcus has erected a large merchandise display in six stores anchored by Shore Magic, an emerging collagen powder and skincare brand available at Violet Grey and Saks Fifth Avenue as well. Rounding out the supplement selections are items from Gryph & IvyRose and The Beauty Chef. Other collagen brands prominent in the beauty retail mix are Vital Proteins and Hum Nutrition.
Shore Magic’s founder and certified health coach Joy Harari was on hand at Neiman Marcus recently to train its staff and commiserate with shoppers. Harari, a psychology of eating and GAPS or gut and psychology syndrome expert, suffered from celiac disease when she was young, and went on an impactful special diet that informed her of the strong connection between nutrition and health. Later in life, digging into why bone broth assisted autistic children, she uncovered the benefits of collagen. From there, she sought out a resource to produce a pure form of collagen with no additives, fillers, synthetic vitamins or herbs.
The result is Shore Magic’s sustainable marine collagen from wild fish skins. Harari highlights testing showing the bioavailability of her brand’s hypoallergenic, odorless and tasteless collagen is 19 times greater than marine collagen alternatives. A one-month supply of Shore Magic’s collagen powder is priced at $120.
“Collagen is a simple story. It is easy to understand and can be a gateway into more supplementation.”
“During our first training at Neiman Marcus in Roosevelt Field, we sold out in less than an hour,” says Harari, adding Shore Magic was promptly reordered by Violet Grey following its debut at the upscale online and offline retailer. Bolstered by early success, the brand has extended to an organic skincare line with micro-engineered marine collagen made in France. “We are also working on some other exciting ingestibles.”
Harari credits collagen’s rapid rise to word of mouth. “The more people are educated about Shore Magic, the more sales we have,” she says. “Typically, women start, then give it to their husbands, children and parents. You would be surprised how many elite athletes take Shore Magic.” Beyond word of mouth, collagen is buoyed by scientific studies indicating the supplementation of it holds promise for a variety of ailments and the appearance of skin. In a supplement field often devoid of evidence for product claims, the studies are rare sources of validation.
Collagen is certainly spreading aggressively. The Nutrition Business Journal describes sales of collagen as “on fire” and, last year, estimated they’re climbed 30%. In contract, sales of products with mushrooms, another hot ingredient, rose 10.1%. Overall, the supplements market in the United States is kicking into high gear, with the compound average growth rate for sales increasing 25.1% compared to only 3.6% globally, according to Euromonitor.
“America has to go through evolutions,” says Sally Olivia Kim, CEO of Crushed Tonic, purveyor of a probiotic- and biotin-loaded collagen blend that broke into Sephora last year, where a 30-pack of its Anti-Aging Collagen Elixir packets is priced at $105. “We had to get through no trans fat and, now, there is intermittent fasting and Keto. America is behind the rest of the world, but catching up. We have to de-stigmatize supplements.” Supplement brands are accelerating, she continues, by adopting consumer-friendly packaging and options that make collagen palatable.
“America is behind the rest of the world, but catching up. We have to de-stigmatize supplements.”
“Not all collagen is created equal,” says Kim, who developed Crushed Tonic after finding the ingredients in its products aided a severe burn she endured and has penned the book, “The Collagen Glow: A Guide to Ingestible Skincare.” “Marine collagen is almost double the cost. I want to flip the experience and make it something everyone looks forward to.” Crush Tonic is releasing a coffee-flavored collagen product to thrust the protein mainstream.
On top of typical beauty retailers, Crushed Tonic’s distribution spans restaurants and hotels. Kim gravitates to them because they demonstrate the synergy between food and ingestible collagen. Kim notes taking collagen is important since it is hard to get enough through the skin. She says, “You need 10 grams a day, and the skin can only absorb so much.” However, she is considering topical extensions of Crushed Tonic such as a face mask.
Collagen has been an integral to Algenist’s story both inside and outside. The brand launched the bestselling topical Genius Liquid Collagen two years ago and, more recently, a supplement called Chlorella containing a blend of chlorella, vitamin C, kale leaf and spinach to fortify people’s collagen matrix. Chlorella is one of three supplements in Algenist’s assortment. Spirulina and Irish Moss complete the triumvirate. Genius Liquid Collagen showcases a plant collagen created by binding corn, soy and wheat protein fibers together to yield vegan amino acids that mimic collagen and function similarly to animal-derived collagen.
While collagen may be simpler to understand than adaptogens, resveratrol or nicotinamide, it’s not totally deprived of consumer confusion. Of course, consumers have to become accustomed to purchasing collagen in high-end retail environments that have been reserved for skincare, makeup and cosmetics sales. In those environments, every brand is hawking its own type of collagen, and it can be unclear what type is superior. Skills sales associates guiding shoppers through the reasons why premium collagen is better and the recipes right for them is crucial.
Next year, Algenist is embarking on an educational effort to teach consumers about the differences between animal, marine and vegan collagen. “We’re not saying one is better than another, but people should have a choice to have something sustainable and effective,” says Rose Fernandez, CEO of Algenist. She mentions, “We get feedback that customers like collagen so much they want to bathe in it.”
Responding to the demand, Algenist has expanded its Active Vegan Collagen skincare collection to include Genius Liquid Collagen Body Mylk and Genius Liquid Collagen Hand Cream. The products join the Genius Liquid Collagen, Genius Liquid Collagen Lip and Genius Sleeping Collagen in the range. Fernandez reveals, “We have plans for more introductions sometime next year, but we are being strategic about it. We don’t want the market to become diluted, and we don’t want to overlap.” She emphasizes, “Collagen continues to deliver for us, and we look for innovative ways to keep the momentum going.”
- Ingestible protein provides beauty retailers, particularly department stores and specialty chains, an opportunity to build supplement sales and acts as bridge to the $4.2 trillion wellness industry.
- Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman are making statements in supplements. Neiman Marcus has erected a large merchandise display in six stores anchored by Shore Magic, an emerging collagen powder and skincare brand.
- Because collagen is naturally occurring in the body, it's purpose is easier to communicate than other supplement ingredients. That doesn't mean consumers grasp every aspect of collagen. There's a proliferation of types of collagen, and it can be difficult for consumers to determine which ones are best.
- Collagen is certainly spreading aggressively. The Nutrition Business Journal describes sales of collagen as “on fire” and, last year, estimated they're climbed 30%. In contract, sales of products with mushrooms, another hot ingredient, rose 10.1%.
- With topical or ingestible, brands are continuing to pump out collagen products. Algenist, Shore Magic and Crushed Tonic have more on the way. Crushed Tonic is releasing a coffee-flavored collagen product to thrust the protein mainstream.