January Labs’ No-Fuss Skincare Enters Free People
January Labs is taking its straightforward skincare approach to Free People.
The brand was shepherded by Jessica Richards, owner of Brooklyn boutique Shen Beauty and beauty director for Free People, into select doors and online at the Urban Outfitters-owned chain that’s been a leader in cultivating a zeitgeisty beauty assortment. January Labs’ presence in Free People consists of its $32 Pure & Gentle Cleansing Gel, $34 Moisture Renew Mask and bestselling $24 Restorative Tonic Mist, products founder January Olds says “all work together to heal, hydrate and protect the skin in a simple, non-fussy regimen.”
“Our products are great for pretty much all skin types. They’re all multifunctional. You’re targeting all of the issues that most women are dealing with only one product as opposed to three or four products,” she adds. “All products are pH-optimized and made to protect your skin barrier.”
Before starting January Labs four years ago, Olds, an aesthetician, worked in education and training at Epicuren and Clarins. With professional skincare experience under her beauty industry belt, January Labs was received with open arms by spas and skincare therapists, notably Dangene, Gina Mari and Heather Bradley, early on. At retail, it branched into Credo and Cult Beauty, currently January Labs’ biggest wholesale accounts.
“Our products are great for pretty much all skin types. They’re all multifunctional. You’re targeting all of the issues that most women are dealing with only one product as opposed to three or four products. All products are pH-optimized and made to protect your skin barrier.”
Free People’s audience heightens the brand’s exposure to its core customer base of 25- to 45-year-old women. “Their customers are creative, passionate, conscious about health and wellness, and have a strong sense of individuality, independence and fashion,” says Olds, continuing, “Free People is an inspired lifestyle brand that our products support and fit into very naturally, and it’s great to be able to feature our products where they can be sampled and tested.”
Sales of January Labs have quadrupled annually, and the brand crossed into the black in its second year in business. Its growth has come despite the lack of formal public relations and marketing. Influencers like Caroline Hirons have embraced January Labs without paid sponsorships.
“I have such a following from the U.K. because of Caroline Hirons. I sent her products and didn’t hear back for a long time, but then she blogged about our products, and I sold out of them in a month. It was crazy,” says Olds. “I’m forever grateful to her. She’s the first person I send products to. She’s like my skincare Oprah.”
January Labs has had its share of bumps on the path to progress. Olds reveals she’s dealt with a packaging supplier that went belly up and rebuffs from retailers she coveted. “You have to be able to pivot,” she says. “What I expected six years ago is different from where it’s at now. You have to be able to change directions and look at what you’re doing wrong and stop doing it. I’ve reached out to retailers I had my heart set on, but haven’t wanted it. You’ve got to be sad about it for five minutes and, then, move on.”
“You have to be able to pivot. What I expected six years ago is different from where it’s at now. You have to be able to change directions and look at what you’re doing wrong and stop doing it. I’ve reached out to retailers I had my heart set on, but haven’t wanted it. You’ve got to be sad about it for five minutes and, then, move on.”
Free People doesn’t carry January Labs’ entire lineup, at least not yet. The full lineup includes nine products avoiding sulfates, parabens, fragrances and questionable additives, and Olds hopes to have three that aren’t in Free People available at the retailer by fall. While Restorative Tonic Mist is January Labs’ most popular product, Olds says its hero product is the $74 Retexturizing Night Cream that contains 9% lactic acid and is designed to address fine lines, wrinkles, breakouts and hyperpigmentation.
To expand its range going forward, January Labs is expected to launch a retinol product by the end of the year. Olds says, “We always have ongoing research and development for other product ideas we think would be differentiated and fill an unmet need in the market.” The brand is also looking to extend into more retailers, but Olds emphasizes “fit is very important.” “Free People is a great example of a retailer we feel is right for us,” she says, noting, “We really respect and appreciate what Revolve is doing and would love to be invited to that party.”