New Brand Gryt Is Out To Help Teens And Tweens Establish Self-Care Habits Early
“There is nothing grittier than being a mother,” says Carly Kaufman. She should know. Kaufman is a mom of two boys along with being a functional medicine health coach and the chief community officer and co-founder of Gryt, a self-care brand for tweens and teens launching Sunday, not coincidentally Mother’s Day.
The brand’s name is quite intentional. The “y” in it represents youth, but is also meant to ask fundamental questions of Gryt’s target audience. Caroline Kusnetz, co-founder and CEO of the brand and a partner in Kaufman’s health coaching business, We Be Wellness, says, “We want youth to connect with their why as soon as possible. We go beyond ‘wash your face’ and provide education and science behind the action with the hopes that young people will truly want to adopt the habit.”
Kaufman adds that her work as a health coach has made her keenly aware that adults spend much of their lives trying to undo bad habits they picked up in their youth. “At Gryt, we will teach those key foundational habits during the puberty years,” she says. “That will have a powerful, positive and compounding effect over the course of the lives of youth.”
The idea for the brand hatched in 2020. “We as mothers knew that there were few products on the shelves formulated and marketed for this specific age group,” says Kaufman. Market research validated that teens and tweens were often slathering on skincare products for adults with different needs—and those products weren’t always terrific for their skin.
The same year, Kathryn Beaton, an angel investor and consultant, had a chance encounter with Kaufman and Kusnetz. She was so confident in Gryt’s concept that she became a co-founder and chief brand officer. She says, “Of all the brands I’ve helped create over the past 20-plus years, this is the first one I am putting my name behind as co-creator.”
Beaton sees a vast white space in the beauty industry for products geared for adolescence. She estimates that teens and tweens influence over $6 billion in family spending. She’s not the only one identifying the white space, and makeup, skincare and personal care brands like Miles, Good For You Girls, LYF, Petite ‘n Pretty, JB Skrub and Stryke Club have rushed to fill it. Beaton believes sales in the space will jump as like-minded brands enter it.
Gryt, which crosses gender boundaries, set out to formulate products that have high standards of efficacy and avoid fragrances and endocrine disruptors. “This isn’t typically achieved without sacrificing something,” says Beaton. “But we partnered with an amazing lab that pushed themselves to meet the expectations we had…We could have launched long ago if we hadn’t taken the time to thoughtfully formulate and test, but we would not compromise.”
“We plan to address all the smelly, hairy, growing and shifting parts of puberty.”
Gryt’s three debut products are the $16 daily cleanser Face Courage, $18 daily face moisturizer Balancing Act and $24 nighttime serum So Chill. Kaufman says, “As mothers ourselves, our ultimate goal is to see that all young people have the resources that they need to start self-care early and begin those first steps toward resiliency, independence and self-confidence.”
Kusnetz chimes in, “We know that adolescence is a time of change and a time when parents should be transitioning the responsibility of self-care to their kids, saying, ‘It’s your turn now.’ We want to help navigate that process with products and education that speak to our greater mission of healthy habits and the importance of self-care. We plan to address all the smelly, hairy, growing and shifting parts of puberty.”
Self-funded Gryt is employing an onmichannel distribution strategy out of the gate. A partnership with Sit Still, a kids’ hair salon and boutique in Brooklyn and Seattle, kicks off late this month. In June, the brand will arrive at Pop Up Grocer on Manhattan’s Bleecker Street. Beaton explains, “A key part of our strategy is being where the young people are and not necessarily seeking the traditional retail outlets.”
However, she hints that Gryt is beginning talks with larger retailers. It’s intent on placing its products in retailers that align with its mission. Gryt declined to divulge a revenue goal for its initial year on the market.
Beaton says she envisions Gryt evolving into a kind of “Goop for the next generation,” a trusted authority within three brand pillars of product, community and education for teens and tweens. The brand has developed a roadmap” to expand within each of the pillars.
Gryt plans to introduce products for the whole body, a ‘zine for teens and tweens, and other educational vehicles such as podcasts and newsletters. Gryt’s community aspect will come to life through in-person and online events that facilitate discussions between young people and their parents. The brand has started a youth advisory council that Kaufman says “acts as our barometer and guides us in all decisions.”
In the summer of 2022, Gryt hired a diverse group of interns to consult on its branding, products and website. “We look to continue to grow this program into a trusted mentorship and internship program providing real hands-on opportunities for young people,” says Kaufman. “Nothing for them, without them.”