Love Goodly Is Dedicated To Doing Good With Its Beauty Boxes

In the indie beauty segment, more and more companies are making the case that beauty doesn’t have to be superficial. Subscription box specialist Love Goodly is certainly among those companies. It’s committed to introducing women to cruelty-free, organic, non-GMO and vegan products, and supports causes through each of their purchases. “When we talk to our consumers, the number-one thing they like about Love Goodly is our values and how we don’t compromise those values,” says Justine Lassoff, who founded Love Goodly with Katie Bogue Miller. Beauty Independent chatted with the entrepreneurial duo about the state of affairs in the subscription box business, brands and product categories Love Goodly customers flock to, the importance of offering value, fundraising and the future of their company.

When did you launch Love Goodly?

Lassoff: We launched Love Goodly to the public in August 2015. Katie and I worked together at a previous company called LovingEco. I was the co-founder and CEO, and Katie joined a month after launch as the head of merchandising. It was focused on eco beauty, fashion and style accessories. That company ended up getting acquired about a year after launch. Then, Katie and I joined the acquiring company, which was backed by John Paul DeJoria of Paul Mitchell and Patrón. We worked there for about a year.

Katie and I always wanted to continue our mission of introducing women to these great conscious beauty and skincare brands. We joined together to start Love Goodly to reach more women and help women understand that it’s important to be aware of what you put on your body because your skin is your largest organ, and there are a lot of toxins in products sold in the U.S. Through our subscription boxes, we introduce women to great products.

Miller: Our mission is to help women make healthier choices in their beauty and skincare routines. We make it easier to make the switch.

Love Goodly
Justine Lassoff and Katie Bogue Miller

What distinguishes Love Goodly from competitors?

Miller: It’s threefold. We focus on full-size products. We are every other month. Everythign is tightly curated and vetted by us.

Lassoff: It’s the quality of the curation. A lot of the boxes will just put in free samples that are given to them for marketing purposes. We take that model and turn it around by selectively curating boxes with only the best products and brands. Our values are paramount. Everything is always cruelty-free, vegan and non-toxic. There are no animal products or byproducts.

How do you find brands for Love Goodly?

Miller: We’ve been in this space a really long time, so we have relationships with hundreds of brands. We also get contacted daily by brands wanting to be in the box. We sift through our existing relationships and develop relationships with new brands to stay at the forefront.

What’s the best way for brands to pursue Love Goodly?

Lassoff: They can reach out to us over email. It’s Put something in the subject about being a brand that wants to be in the box. From there, we develop a relationship, learn more about the products and the ingredients, and what a brand’s values are.

How do you select the brands you include?

Lassoff: We curate four to five full-size products for our bimonthly Essential box. We also have a VIP box, which is new and basically the Essential box plus one additional full-size product that’s always $35 or more. We like giving back to causes. We’ve partnered with PETA on our upcoming box, and we’ve also partnered with charities like Farm Sanctuary, Cure Cervical Cancer, Beagle Freedom Project and Paw Works. We like finding likeminded brands that give back to a cause or maybe were started by breast cancer survivors. There are different ways we can connect with the brand and that they can connect with our audience.

Miller: The value of our Essential box is always over $80, and the value of our VIP box is always over $115. We only need 20 or so brands a year. We are inundated with new brands, and we have a ton of brands in the pipeline. Any way a brand stands out and is creative while hitting our main values of being cruelty-free, non-toxic and vegan is great.

Love Goodly

What do brands have to provide to participate?

Lassoff: When they first reach out, we need to make sure there’s no animal testing, that there are no animal products and byproducts, and we check the ingredients in the products. We refer to the EWG’s cosmetic safety database, and we want zeroes, ones and twos as much as possible. We avoid any ingredients that are known to be toxins, and we list those on our website.

Once we find out that a brand is a good match on that top level, we get information on pricing. We also get availability and samples. Once we have the samples, we get into a deeper discussion in terms of which products in their minds would make the most sense. We can make a decision as quickly as two to three weeks. Some brands might not be a good fit right away, and we may come back to them a year later. Some brands never work out, but we try and communicate to the brands so they know where they stand.

Miller: Curating a box is like doing a jigsaw puzzle trying to piece together the products, margin and seasonality. That’s why we have brands in the pipeline that might not work for a box soon, but may work for another one later on.

Are you interested in manufacturing processes when you vet brands?

Miller: Absolutely. For example, fair trade is a big one for us. So, if anything is made overseas, it has to be certified fair trade. The more sustainable a vendor is, the better it is for us. A lot of our brands are B Corp, and some are made [in facilities] with sustainable wind power. We try to have recyclable bottles from our brands. The box itself is recyclable and made from sustainably-harvested trees, and the crinkle inside our box is recycled and recyclable.

When brands evaluate whether to participate in a subscription box, what criteria should they use?

Lassoff: Reaching the audience they feel aligns with their brand and their mission. To give a plug for us, we connect to a lot of great consumers, bloggers, influencers and press, which is an added bonus. Not only do they reach a great consumer base when they work with Love Goodly, but they can also get tens to hundreds of millions of impressions through social media, consumer press and influencers. We have a large network of 700-plus affiliates.

How should brands assess the success of box participation?

Lassoff: We bring a lot of value in terms of consumer branding and awareness that can be measured through how many impressions are reached on different marketing channels. We have brands that then get consumers as a result of being in the boxes, and those consumers repurchase. They convert the audience into loyal brand purchasers. Every brand that has worked with us has asked to be in the box again.

Miller: The press brands get is icing on the cake. We can’t guarantee it, but our brands have been featured in the LA Times, InStyle and People. In the April box, all the brands are going to be featured in Cosmopolitan.

Love Goodly

How do you develop long-term relationships with brands?

Miller: Once we connect with brands, we consider them like family. We may eventually make a buy for our e-commerce site or use different products from the same brand in boxes. Our brands are important to us, so that’s why we keep strong relationships with them. They are very happy with us because of the amount of exposure they get from the boxes.

We do business fairly. We pay on time. We make sure their costs are being covered and, as Justine mentioned, we have a sweet spot for brands with likeminded synergies. We have built an eco-friendly, cruelty-free, nontoxic ecosystem, and it’s a win-win for a brand to get in front of our customers.

Lassoff: We pay the brands. Obviously, if a brand has a marketing budget, then there have been cases where we except products for free, but normally we pay them a cost share.

Do you care whether brands wanting to be in the boxes are available on Amazon?

Miller: Not necessarily. We like to have a mix of brands. Some of the brands are small-to-medium size, and they might not be as likely to be on Amazon. We do work with brands like 100% Pure and MyChelle that are more widely distributed, and that’s OK, too.

What are a few of the top beauty brands involved with Love Goodly?

Miller: We definitely have had some brands featured in the boxes that are runaway hits. One of the best ones is KINDri, which has a beauty oil formulated by a celebrity aesthetician in L.A. It’s fast-absorbing and smells amazing. You can use it as a makeup remover and put it in your hair. Antonym Cosmetics is one of our brand favorites. The quality is amazing, and it’s Leaping Bunny certified. It’s high-impact makeup in sustainable packaging. Another of our favorites is Hurraw! Lip Balm. It’s the best lip balm. It’s edible, and it comes in 25 different flavors. It’s soothing to your lips. It blows Chapstick out of the water, so many people convert to it even if they’re not necessarily interested in an eco-option.

What is Love Goodly’s top beauty category?

Miller: We do best with skincare, and makeup follows skincare. Our boxes have four to five products, and they’re heavy in skincare. There will probably be two skincare products, one beauty and one wellness product in a lifestyle box.

Love Goodly

How many people receive Love Goodly boxes?

Lassoff: We are quite small compared to the big boxes out there. We would love to hit 10,000 units by the beginning of 2019.

Who are Love Goodly subscribers?

Miller: Our typical customer is a woman aged 25 to 40 who is health- and wellness-minded, but we have loyal subsets within that. We have a whole vegan audience, an audience of women with allergies and an audience of women who are breast cancer survivors ridding their beauty routines of toxins.

What’s exciting about what we do is we are trying to reach the mainstream. Even if it’s cruelty-free and non-toxic, it can be just as stylish and effective. For example, we have an LVX nail polish and the packaging [rivals] Chanel. It goes on with a gel-like finish and, having used both brands, I like LVX better. It doesn’t have to be a hippie, granola brand to be eco-conscious.

Have you done anything to tweak the boxes?

Lassoff: One thing we adjusted was adding more value. It’s competitive, and people want products that give them a lot of value. You are paying $29.95 for the Essential box, and you get a value that’s over $80. We thought people were just looking for great products, but, because there are a lot of other options out there, value has become an important selling feature of our box.

What’s an element of the brand onboarding process that might be a surprise to those unfamiliar with it?

Lassoff: One thing that may not be obvious is the weight of the products. The heavier a product is, the more it costs to ship. We offer free shipping in the U.S. Anything over four ounces, we have to tightly curate. It’s a balance. If one product weighs a lot, then another product may not be able to weigh as much. If it’s a great product we love, we curate around that. We like the boxes to be under one pound, but sometimes they’re over. It depends on the products.

Love Goodly

Have you always had an e-commerce component to Love Goodly?

Lassoff: We have always had it. We have seen it grow, and it’s an area that we are focused on growing more in the coming months. We have initiatives to grow it further. We see it as an important part of our business.

Are there techniques you’re trying to draw new customers?

Lassoff: We do a number of things, and one of them is we sometimes have guest curators to reach a broader audience. We have one unannounced that’s going to be for our June/July box, and that will reach millions of new customers. The consumer press loves that if it’s a celebrity who is focused on similar values to ours. It’s really important to always work with curators and influencers who have those similar values. We are also working on partnerships with brands to reach bigger audiences.

You are currently soliciting investment via the equity crowdfunding platform SeedInvest. Why do that?

Lassoff: They approached us, which is a great compliment. They only accept about 1% of applicants. When they came to us and said they liked what we are doing, we went through a whole process of due diligence. We were impressed with their team, their process and the types of companies they are selecting to be on the platform. We thought it would be a great way to reach accredited and unaccredited investors. We previously raised $470,000 from an angel investor in Los Angeles on a convertible note, but we thought this was a great opportunity to activate our following and get them excited.

Were you considering raising money again after your initial raise when SeedInvest approached you?

Lassoff: Not really. We reached profitability, and we have been growing really fast. While we were open to it if the right partner came along, we weren’t actually looking for it.

Love Goodly

What will you do with the money you raise?

Lassoff: Grow our platform and operations. As I mentioned earlier, we are growing our e-commerce shop. We would want to get more visibility for the products in the shop. That’s a huge goal.

What’s your take on the general state of subscription boxes today?

Lassoff: They are definitely here to stay, and we see continued growth. There are still people who have never heard of boxes, so there continues to be a lot of opportunity. We also see a growing impact with more of the mass audience that may have never heard of full-size beauty boxes.

What are some short- and long-term goals for Love Goodly?

Lassoff: We want to reach more women while maintaining the quality of curation. We also have plans to do a private-label line.

Where do you see Love Goodly in five or 10 years?

Lassoff: We want to grow this brand as much as we can. Down the road there could be a strategic partnership or a brand that we align with. We definitely want to keep doing what we are doing now and grow it, but we are open to what path that could take.

Miller: The e-commerce site, the subscriptions and the private label are all exciting ways to grow Love Goodly. Because we are a social impact company, we want to make a difference in women’s lives. We have a goal of reaching a million women. We’re not going to stop until we help a million women switch to healthier products.

Love Goodly