Flush With New Funding, The Nue Co. Expands Retail Reach
The Nue Co. is picking up steam as retailers charge full speed into the ingestibles segment.
Anthropologie and Credo are among the latest distribution additions to the premium supplement brand’s roster of some 50 stores and hotels, including CAP Beauty, Shen Beauty, Ace Hotel, Soho House, Goop, The Line, Need Supply, Carbon Beauty and Net-a-Porter, where it premiered in February with an exclusive two-month run. Jules Miller, founder and CEO of The Nue Co, explains the accounts were chosen for tactical, brand-building or volume-driving purposes.
“Tactical retailers are retailers that position beauty, wellness and luxury together on the same shelves. One of our best performers is CAP Beauty, and we are launching at Credo. They can sell as much as a big retailer because there’s an educated consumer there that can be acquired easily. The Line and Soho House are brand-building doors, and Net-a-Porter is high volume,” says Miller. “We don’t enlist a retailer unless we are 100% sure they can sell our product. We are having difficulty keeping up with demand and have had to put our wholesale growth on hold.”
While it carefully manages wholesale growth, The Nue Co. is leaping into its own retail in January with a 3,200-square-foot pop-up location at 39 Spring St. in New York. “We are trying to really engage people in a conversation and tap into something supplements brands have never tapped into, and beauty brands have tapped into,” says Miller. “Experience is at the heart of what we are trying to do, and that’s hard to achieve online.”
Not yet celebrating its first birthday, The Nue Co. developed product collections to crystallize merchandise points of difference in its infancy. The initial Rebuild collection contains milk and plant protein items, and prebiotics to lift energy, enhance skin and bust bloat. Out of the five initial products priced at $70 to $75 individually, the Debloat Food + Prebiotic is a bestseller, and Miller reasons that’s because bloating is a universal ill. The Nue Co. is enlarging its assortment with Reboot Travel Kit, a $160 set featuring a blend of prebiotics and probiotics for travel preparation, sleep and immunity-boosting drops, a magnesium spray and enlivening powder. The brand is planning three collection releases in 2018, although Miller insists it won’t assemble products in collections forever.
“The ideas behind the products start with a personal experience,” she says. “I travel a lot, and I fly probably every two weeks. For a long time, it was affecting my health, and the way I was feeling. I looked at the market for something that would help. All of the travel kits talked about how you look when you travel. I found that amusing because, when you travel, it’s the last thing you care about. It’s more about how you feel, and I saw that as a great opportunity. Reboot addresses the five areas you need to support when you travel and your body is under stress.”
The Nue Co.’s primary customers are women 50-years-old and above. They’re often professionals able to spend on the best products and, to them, the brand’s luxury messaging is a critical calling card. The decision to debut on Net-a-Porter was made to reinforce that messaging. On The Nue Co.’s website, Miller shares the customers’ buying power is evidenced by an average basket size of around $200. She details shoppers are drawn to The Nue Co.’s supplements that avoid fillers and rely on food-based ingredients for proper absorption, and the brand’s use of understandable language to communicate what the supplements deliver. It mentions, for instance, that a serving of The Nue Co. protein equals the amount of protein from two eggs.
This year, The Nue Co. is expected to reel in $1 million in revenues. Miller reveals the brand was profitable at six months of operation. “We have grown faster than we had anticipated. Our next year is focused on supporting our retail partners, making sure that they growing and educating the consumer, and building our database and owning the customer through e-comm. It’s not going ot be a year where we push for $15 million in revenue,” she says, continuing that, in future years, “I’m wholly confident that we will be a $200-million business. We will be paving the way for a type of luxury product that hasn’t existed before.”
Investors are sold on The Nue Co.’s strong prospects. The brand has amassed a total of almost $2 million in capital and recently finalized a seed round of about $1.5 million led by the Morningside Group. Miller says she pursues investors strategically to assist with aspects of The Nue Co.’s business. She points out Victress Capital, an investment firm backing The Nue Co. that concentrates on women-led companies, is headed by Tricia Black, formerly vice president of sales at Facebook, and Suzanne Norris, formerly vice president of e-commerce at Kate Spade, both of whom can lend their digital expertise to the brand.
“We were oversubscribed within the first couple of months of raising. It’s an exciting category, and we have an exciting proposition. We’ve built a tight supply chain and generated organic sales,” says Miller. “What’s interesting about the supplements industry is that it is a multibillion-dollar industry, and there is no one brand leader. If you ask 10 people to name the highest-quality probiotic, they will all come back with different brands. There are a lot of smaller brands doing relatively similar things in this space, but, in terms of real innovators changing the category from a brand or formula perspective, I could count them on one hand. It’s a really exciting opportunity.”