Joséphine Cosmetics Takes Up Residence At Credo With Exclusive Eyeshadow Palettes
Joséphine Cosmetics makes green beauty glamourous.
The organic skincare and mineral makeup company has launched an exclusive collection for clean beauty retailer Credo featuring its HD Mineral Eye Radiance palette with nine bold matte and shimmer shades. At $85, the palette is an amplification of $59 HD Mineral Eye Radiance Quads that founder Sholayide Otugalu reports are constantly in demand due to their ease of use, blendable textures and striking color combinations.
Joséphine Cosmetics is a member of a growing group of clean makeup brands that includes Aether Beauty, another Credo entrant, designed for customers not to have to skimp on cosmetics performance when they switch to greener makeup alternatives from conventional fare. “Sholayide did an incredible job on her pigments and formulas, and clearly was not accepting that natural or clean beauty products had to be basic,” says Annie Jackson, co-founder and COO of Credo.
Otugalu anticipated Joséphine Cosmetics would work in Credo’s assortment and didn’t wait for Credo to approach her. In October, she reached out cold to the retailer via email introducing her inclusive range of products to the head buyer. “From there, it was the makings of a wonderful relationship,” she says.
Otugalu centered the pitch to Credo around Glamourites, which is the nickname of Joséphine Cosmetics’ fans and a collection comprised of two mineral eyeshadow palettes: Femme Tropique, a cool-tone palette with mermaid-inspired blues, purples and pinks, and Femme Fatale, a warm range consisting of coppery tones and sunset hues. Joséphine Cosmetics created new luxe eco-friendly packaging for the palettes using faux-leather and tassel-adorned cardboard inspired by vintage 1920s makeup compacts.
“Sholayide did an incredible job on her pigments and formulas, and clearly was not accepting that natural or clean beauty products had to be basic.”
Though strides have been made to take into account broad swaths of the population in beauty conversations and product selection with brands like Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty and Revlon’s Flesh multiplying foundation shades, the lack of selection for women of color remains problematic at large and is especially acute within the clean beauty arena. “I think this is because most play it safe, offering similar color palettes and foundation shades. My motivation for creating Joséphine Cosmetics was to go rogue and fill that void,” says Otugalu. The brand is named for performer and activist Josephine Baker.
Jackson underscores one of Credo’s core values is to be “welcoming to all,” something she points out carries through to its headquarters, staff and brand partners. “We are from and based in San Francisco, a city we feel is very progressive in terms of acceptance of everyone no matter your ethnicity, gender identification or belief system. Our ‘Credo’ is providing our customers clean and safe beauty products that are good for human beings and our planet – that includes everyone. Period.” In addition to Joséphine Cosmetics, the retailer stocks minority-owned brands Eu’Genia, HAN Skin Care Cosmetics and Unsun, and is about to bring in Beneath Your Mask.
Joséphine Cosmetics has made retail distribution inroads beyond Credo. The three-year-old brand has experience with a varied mix of stockists such as Macy’s, Neiman Marcus and Costco. Otugalu credits its social media skills for store growth and customer expansion. Securing partnerships with retailers aligned with its vision, in particular those catering to the affordable luxury market and interested in increasing clean beauty choices, is a focus of her distribution strategy. She also looks for different types of retailers to ensure Joséphine Cosmetics casts a wide net for customers.
Costco gave Joséphine Cosmetics its first national retail exposure. The brand’s relationship with the warehouse club retailer taught Otugalu a ton about running a successful wholesale business. She had to get familiar with pricing strategies that protected margins and brand integrity, EDI [electronic data interchange] compliance, returns and chargebacks. Otugalu says, “I learned the full 360-[degree] scope of the big retailer landscape.”
“I want a retailer who can expand on the story of Joséphine and share that story with their customer in an impactful way. I don’t want to partner with a retailer for the sake of adding another retailer to the roster only to have the brand buried on their site or in the back of the store.”
As it spreads at retail, Joséphine Cosmetics has stayed off of Amazon. Otugalu feels the giant e-tailer doesn’t help her brand’s positioning. She says, “I do like the new concept they’ve created to give shine to indie brands. However, Joséphine is a specialty concept brand and is better served in a boutique landscape and/or a conceptual retailer.” When asked about why Costco is a better fit than Amazon, Otugala responds, “Initially, they pursued me and sold me on the idea that my brand would be in the company of greats like Chanel, and that was indeed the case. They have a strong base who shop attainable luxury products, so it makes sense for me as a new brand to have them as a partner.”
Ultimately, the most important distribution consideration for Otugalu is a retailer’s willingness to convey her brand’s voice and identity. “I want a retailer who can expand on the story of Joséphine and share that story with their customer in an impactful way,” she says. “I don’t want to partner with a retailer for the sake of adding another retailer to the roster only to have the brand buried on their site or in the back of the store.”
Where is Joséphine Cosmetics headed next? Europe is on the itinerary.