Driven By A Single SKU, 8 Faces’ Retail Distribution Multiplies
The brand 8 Faces’ name may be octet-oriented, but it sailed out of the gate with a singular focus: Getting its first and only product into prestige distribution.
In less than a year, that product, Boundless Solid Oil, has landed at Credo, CAP Beauty, Gee Beauty, Goop, Shen Beauty and Four Seasons locations with additional partners in the pipeline. The standalone item shines a clear spotlight on 8 Faces’ specialty in multitasking merchandise – the solid oil packed with 18 USDA certified organic ingredients has eight functions ranging from smoothing the neck to staving off scars – that will extend beyond its debut offering.
“Launching with one SKU was strategic to see what would resonate with the customer. Everyone loved the fact that it’s an uncomplicated product,” says 8 Faces founder Beth Shuman, a former producer on the HGTV program “Selling New York” and The Travel Channel specials. “For retail, I think having one SKU was advantageous as well. The feedback I’ve gotten is that it’s a low-risk product to bring on.”
It wasn’t a low-risk product to introduce, however. Shuman accumulated $150,000 from friends and family to develop it, and didn’t just hire any design flunky to help refine its look and concept inspired by the eight phases of the moon. She tapped Concrete, the firm behind Bite Beauty’s aesthetic, because she was hyper aware she had to make a statement without a wall of products to do it for her.
To draw customers to 8 Faces’ packaging, Shuman gave Boundless Solid Oil heft. Its jar is custom-made in Italy from weighty frosted glass. The exterior box is custom-made, too, but in the U.K., and crafted out of heavy paper with gold foil. The 50-ml. product is priced at $88.
“Launching with one SKU was strategic to see what would resonate with the customer. Everyone loved the fact that it’s an uncomplicated product. For retail, I think having one SKU was advantageous as well. The feedback I’ve gotten is that it’s a low-risk product to bring on.”
“It’s almost like a work of art,” says Shuman. “People love to have the jar out, even by their desk or bed. It’s not relegated to the cabinet. It’s put on display.”
Unlike many brands that wait on outside public relations until they gain traction, 8 Faces secured PR firm MBA early on to spread the word about it, a choice Shuman praises as worthwhile. The brand was mentioned in a Vanity Fair article covering the latest in natural beauty in November along with established players such as Dr. Hauschka, Juice Beauty, Tata Harper and May Lindstrom, and has been a go-to for makeup artists Katie Jane Hughes and Sheri Stroh.
“I had heard from so many people about doing or not doing PR. When no one knows you yet, it can be [difficult], but having our PR reps was really important,” says Shuman. “It was great to have PR straight away. We got a lot of amazing press from the launch, and we continue to have great press.”
Matthew Snyder, co-founder of MBA, connected 8 Faces to Jessica Richards, owner of Shen Beauty, leading to the brand’s first major breakthrough at retail. Shuman describes Richards as a “game changer” for 8 Faces. “She loved our key ingredient amla berry. I hadn’t seen it in many products, but it has a vast history in ayurvedic medicine, and it is one of the most powerful superfruits in the world for antioxidants,” she says. “She was calling the product retail candy based on the lab sample and deck. It was great to have her stamp of approval from the very beginning.”
“We brought in 8 Faces because a solid oil is really unique in our assortment. I’m into the hero ingredient amla berry, which is a great source of vitamin C. Plus, she nailed the packaging—so beautiful. Everyone was stopping by my desk asking what it was.”
Recently, Credo signed on to carry 8 Faces. “We brought in 8 Faces because a solid oil is really unique in our assortment,” says Michelle Gedney Connelly, director of merchandise and planning at the retailer. “I’m into the hero ingredient amla berry, which is a great source of vitamin C. Plus, she nailed the packaging—so beautiful. Everyone was stopping by my desk asking what it was.”
Although both Credo and Shen Beauty concentrate on clean beauty, 8 Faces appeals to outlets that aren’t dedicated to the segment. TNT, a five-unit fashion retailer headquartered in Toronto, stocks it. The brand is also stretching its reach beyond North America. It’s at Beyorg’s seven stores in Kong Kong and in the Copenhagen branch of clothing chain Rabens Saloner. German online destination Niche Beauty will introduce 8 Faces later in the summer.
Shuman will likely seek a second round of funding from friends and family to support 8 Faces’ distribution and product expansion. She reports the business is profitable. “I could grow it slow and steady, but another injection would allow us to try to take it to the next level quicker,” says Shuman. She’s handled sales up until this point and is interested in employing a sales director to shift some retail management responsibilities off of her shoulders, and afford her the ability to pay increased attention to 8 Faces’ website, social media and digital marketing.
Boundless Solid Oil should value its remaining days as the lone SKU because broadening 8 Faces’ product repertoire is a priority for Shuman. She’s intrigued by the possibilities of a serum, cleansing powder or hydrating mist. “Everything will work in conjunction with each other,” says Shuman. “We want to create products that have more than one use. We want to simplify things, but maintain a luxurious product.”