R&R Skincare Showcases African Roots In Rebrand Readying It For US Expansion

Nearly 14 years after its launch, R&R Skincare, formerly known as R&R Luxury, has undergone its biggest makeover to date in order to prepare for its biggest market expansion to date to the United States.

R&R Skincare will launch on Amazon in September and start shipping to the U.S. via its website shortly thereafter. Currently, the brand ships to customers in Nigeria, Ghana and the United Kingdom. To help it entice American consumers, R&R Skincare hired Solvnt, a New York agency owned by Kojo Yeboah, a brand builder of Ghanaian descent, to handle a rebrand showcasing its African roots that cost around $150,000.

“The rebrand is very much a big part of us wanting to make sure that we could comfortably sit amongst the other skincare and body care products that were being sold in the U.S., and I think that we have reached that point,” says R&R Skincare founder Valerie Obaze, a Ghanaian based in Accra.

R&R Skincare founder Valerie Obaze

The priorities of the rebrand were to ensure R&R Skincare’s products travel well and are functional and that it expertly highlights its African beauty positioning. All of the brand’s products are under $25, including bestsellers $18 Shea Body Oil, $23 Baobab Repair Oil and $12 Black Soap. When consumers land on R&R Skincare’s revamped website, they’re met with the declaration, “We Are African Beauty,” and Obaze points out the brand’s entire supply chain is grounded in Africa. It sources raw materials from women in Ghana’s rural north.

“We’re not just sourcing raw materials from Africa, producing it elsewhere and calling it an African brand. We are a truly authentic African brand owned by an African woman,” she says. “Everything from the tree to the shop shelf, we own that entire process, and we wanted to really try and convey that.”

The brand’s Instagram account has been wiped clean of past content similar to when musical artists delete their social media feeds to bring attention to forthcoming albums. The only posts now feature the revamped packaging and branding and previews of a documentary set to premiere on July 6 exploring how generations of Africans have relied on ingredients such as shea butter derived from plants native to Africa. Obaze and her family are in the documentary.

“We are a truly authentic African brand owned by an African woman.”

“People have been following us for 10 years at this point, so we wanted them to see the brand have a new lease on life and have new content for them and archive the old content for a while,” she says.

R&R Skincare is named after Obaze’s daughter, Rebecca Rose, and she’s named after her two grandmothers. Obaze says the name “lends credibility to that heritage story…which talks about ancestry and centuries of these wonderful ingredients that are local to the African environment and have been used from grandmothers to daughters to granddaughters and grandsons. It is been used across the generations, so it’s this multi-generational approach.”

Obaze chose to remove the word “luxury” from R&R Skincare’s name because she concluded it may have unintentionally alienated consumers. She says, “There were a group of people that wouldn’t even touch the product or even look further into it because they automatically assumed it would be too expensive.”

R&R Skincare’s $23 Baobab Repair Oil is one of its bestselling products. All of the brand’s products are priced under $25.

Obaze adds a friend working in the luxury European beauty sector also suggested she cut the word “luxury” from the name. She recounts, “She felt that it shouldn’t be in the name because you don’t need to say that you are a luxury product or a luxury brand, people should get the feeling of that from the product and the way you present it to them.”

Obaze aims to have R&R Skincare in as many physical touch points as possible. More specifically, her goal is to place it in brick-and-mortar retailers in the U.S. and Canada by 2025. In Africa, the goal is to expand its reach beyond West African countries. R&R Skincare has a branded store in Lagos and a boutique in Accra’s Kotoka International Airport. It’s slated to open a flagship store in Accra later this month.

For the airport boutique, Obaze drew inspiration from Jo Malone’s outpost in Heathrow Airport. She says, “Every time I travel out of Heathrow, I would always take Jo Malone candles or perfumes back as a gift, and I just felt that we were missing that in the Accra airport, and I thought that R&R would be that perfect gift that you could take to someone that is an authentic product from the country.”

Along with brick-and-mortar distribution, R&R Skincare is focusing on hospitality distribution. It has a line designed for amenities spanning hand and body lotion, hand and body wash and conditioning shampoo that’s entered select restaurants, bars and hotels in Ghana and Zimbabwe. Speaking of the amenities, Obaze says, “People are buying them for their guest bathrooms or for their own personal bathrooms as almost as a status symbol.”