Olive Oil Skincare And Body Care Is Going Big With Olive + M’s Launch At Target
Olive + M founder Mariska Nicholson has sought to get her olive oil-fueled clean skincare and body care brand in front of a large audience since its launch four years ago. Now, she’s doing it.
Next month, Olive + M is rolling out to 100 Target doors with four products priced from $24 to $28: Face Oil, Cleansing Oil, Body Oil and Shimmer + Glow Body Oil. Online at the retailer, the brand’s $24 Antioxidant Balm and $32 Face Polish will join its merchandise lineup.
Olive + M’s Target entrance offers the brand national exposure. “Why the brand was started in the beginning is I wanted to create an eco-luxury, effective, affordable face oil that specifically a single mom—because that’s what I was—could plug into her budget. At the time, face oils were very exclusive and expensive,” says Nicholson. “I knew eventually a mass retail partner would be a good fit for the brand, so I could reach all the women I wanted to reach.”
A former catering director, event planner and wardrobe stylist, Nicholson mixed the original recipes for Olive + M in her Clarksville, Texas kitchen. Trained at the Texas Culinary Academy, olive oil was a constant in her cooking that translated well to beauty products. She explains it has hydroxytyrosol, a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, as well as nourishing squalene, and it absorbs easily into the skin. Nicholson put it in unfussy formulas containing no more than 14 ingredients.
Initially, Olive + M’s distribution plan was to spread locally to spas. Nicholson figured the recommendations of aestheticians would go a long way with customers. As it matured, Olive + M branched beyond its local area to assemble a network of 75 spas, fitness studios, beauty boutiques and gift stores across 48 states. It’s available at Wren & Wild, Lemon Laine and Junk Free Beauty, among other clean beauty retailers. Olive + M is also involved in Neiman Marcus’s indie beauty collaboration with Indie Beauty Expo, which is owned by Beauty Independent parent company Indie Beauty Media Group.
“I wanted to create an eco-luxury, effective, affordable face oil that specifically a single mom—because that’s what I was—could plug into her budget.”
Last year, Nicholson was introduced to the team from Target Takeoff, a retail accelerator focused on entrepreneurial brands, at the trade show IBE. She entered the Target Takeoff program earlier this year, and it gave her a glance at what would be required for Olive + M to sell at Target. In order to prepare for the huge chain, the brand diversified its portfolio of manufacturers and fulfillment centers.
Nicholson admits cash flow is a continual challenge, but Olive + M is supported by angel investors along with her personal funds to maintain strong financials. She declined to disclose the names of the investors or the amount of investment they supplied. However, Nicholson stresses, “We are all in it to win it. We are all contributing.”
This year, Olive + M’s sales are expected to jump around 300%. In 2018, they rose 103% from the year before. Nicholson didn’t specify exact sales. Olive + M’s bestsellers are Face Oil and Shimmer + Glow Body Oil. About half of the brand’s current sales are from its website.
Because it realized economies of scale with a substantial order to deliver to Target, Olive + M was able to lower its prices by roughly 30%. The price of its 1-oz. Face Oil, for example, decreased from $38 to $28. For the prestige retailers it’s in, Olive + M has higher prices for bigger sizes. Target will stock 1-oz. to 2-oz. sizes, but the brand’s products go up to 4-oz. sizes. The bigger 2-oz. Face Oil, for instance, is $48, and a 4-oz. size of Cleansing Oil is $46.
“The same customer that shops at Neiman Marcus drops her kids off at soccer and needs to run into Target to buy laundry detergent, blueberries and Face Oil.”
Olive + M was careful not to keep the prestige retailers that carry it in the dark about its Target rollout. Nicholson is confident the brand can sustain distribution in mass and upscale outlets. “I think that the walls have come down,” she says. “The same customer that shops at Neiman Marcus drops her kids off at soccer and needs to run into Target to buy laundry detergent, blueberries and Face Oil.” Nicholson notes Olive + M caters to families drawn to natural products, no matter the retail venue. She says, “Olive + M is brought into the household usually by the mother or daughter, and it’s adopted by the family. Men shave with the Cleansing Oil, and teenagers wash their face with it.”
Going forward for distribution, Nicholson’s main objective is for Olive + M to grow its roster of Target doors. To help ensure the brand has a successful launch at the retailer, it’s teamed up with some 100 influencers with an interest in Target and clean beauty to raise awareness of its Target presence. Another initiative is to sample Olive + M at barre studios and direct barre studio visitors to Target stores where they can pick up the brand. Nicholson is an avid fan of Barre3.
In terms of product development, Olive + M may expand its body care range and push into items in adjacent household categories. Nicholson emphasizes olive oil will always remain at the heart of the brand. She says, “We definitely want to keep evolving the Olive + M line, but very thoughtfully and purposefully because the ethos of the brand is that it works for all skin types, and it’s not complicated.”