Peace Out Offers Selfie-Perfecting Zit Stickers For Instagramming Millennials
Can an acne antidote be cool? Peace Out is counting on it.
The brainchild of one-time pimple-ridden Enrico Frezza, the brand has entered Sephora out of the gate with a three-year exclusive retail partnership, bold branding and straightforward zit-fighting stickers soaked in salicylic acid, vitamin A and aloe vera. The 26-year-old developed Peace Out to be an energetic outlier in an acne market crowded with what he believes are rather archaic existing skincare offerings and often scary dermatologist-dispensed medications not attuned to millennial tastes.
“We wanted to bring out something that was fun and empowering,” says Frezza. “The main difference from other companies is that we are real people creating the products. We understand what it feels like to have skin imperfections, and we are on a mission to address them with effective products that work super fast.”
Peace Out’s mission started in an unusual place for a cosmetics company: a medical lab. There, Frezza pitched his idea of transforming hydrocolloid dressings used typically as wound remedies to battle blemishes. He didn’t receive a warm reception. No one at the lab thought it was possible to execute his idea.
Frezza persisted, but not without considering quitting many times. “It was a long road,” he grumbles. “The material technology is very sensitive. It would turn yellowish and the absorption wasn’t as good or the healing wasn’t as fast as we wanted it to be.” Peace Out’s first prototype was delivered in 2015. Some 14 versions later, and the brand has stretched across Sephora’s Beauty On The Fly sections. Peace Out’s acne-attacking dots are now patented.
“The main difference from other companies is that we are real people creating the products. We understand what it feels like to have skin imperfections, and we are on a mission to address them with effective products that work super fast.”
Once the product was down pat, Frezza began to focus on branding and messaging. He sought to make sure Peace Out wasn’t the least bit sterile and science-y, and was keen on finding a catchy name to make that clear. Spot, Stop Spot and Bye Bye Acne were brand names left on the table. He liked the meaning of the name Peace Out and that it could be illustrated easily with a graphic peace sign. “It’s internationally recognized. It’s a term to say bye, don’t stress out about your skin. Let us take care of it,” says Frezza.
At Sephora, customers can purchase 20 anti-acne stickers for $19. Pimples won’t be the only skin problems Peace Out combats. “We will be the one-step skincare solution for acne or other skin imperfections,” says Frezza. He owns the brand, but wouldn’t discuss sales projections for it or whether it has received funding.
Peace Out is relying heavily on Instagram to spread the word about its product and has conceived of a campaign playing to people’s fascination with pimples on social media. The brand will encourage people to tag it in pictures capturing the white gunk that emerges four or five hours after applying its dots to blemishes. “It shows the product working,” explains Junior Scott Pence, chief marketing officer for Peace Out.
Peace Out and its founder share an intrepid streak. Born in Milan, Frezza moved to England at 15 for boarding school before coming to the U.S. to attend college at University of Miami. He relocated to Los Angeles to enroll in the Marshall School of Business at USC, but left the graduate program early to concentrate on Peace Out. “I felt I was gaining life experience anyway,” he reasons.
Back in Italy, Frezza’s parents are extremely supportive of their son’s skincare venture, even if they don’t sympathize with his acne struggles. “They knew I had breakouts, but my father wouldn’t get it. He said, ‘What are you so worried about? You just have a couple pimples,’” he recalls. “When I get a pimple, it literally brings me back to being a teenager. It makes me extremely insecure. I want to help others not be so insecure and give them something that works.”