We Are Wild Expands Its Solid Skincare Concept Into Sunscreen And Urban Outfitters
We are Wild is building a solid foundation for its solid skincare business.
The outdoor lifestyle brand centered upon concentrated stick products has launched online at Urban Outfitters with a new offering, Solid Block Active Cannabis Sunscreen, along with the three it started with in the fall of 2018: Solid Clean Probiotic Cleanser, Solid Water Probiotic Toner and Solid Oil Nourishing Stick. The launch follows distribution achievements last year, when We are Wild broke into Walmart’s e-commerce selection and ventured abroad to British e-tailer Victoria Health, and is part of a push that’s projected to double the brand’s sales this year.
“We really want to disrupt the skincare industry by introducing the different element of activity and being outside, and not being obsessed with wrinkles and flawless skin, but really trying to achieve healthy skin to be proud of,” says Sally Kim, CEO and founder of We are Wild. “These milestones say there’s an appetite for that, and there’s an opportunity to reposition the beauty message. It doesn’t have to be about what the industry has told you. It can be about being well and healthy.”
A native of Portland, Kim has grounded the self-funded brand in the recreational spirit of the Pacific Northwest, where the ocean, rivers, islands and mountains provide ample reasons to leave the office, and skincare technology from Korea, her home for the past six years, and the source of We are Wild’s research and development. The brand uses fermented antioxidants and probiotics, and doesn’t use parabens, phthalates, silicones, sulfates, drying alcohols, mineral oil and artificial colors. The TSA-friendly products are priced from $24 to $26.
“Solid skincare is still a very novel category within beauty, but I think it’s relevant today because a lot of people are looking for easy solutions, and I don’t think there’s anything easier than something that’s solid that you put on your face directly,” says Kim, noting solid skincare isn’t as easy to make as it is to apply. “There aren’t a lot of manufacturers willing to bet on solids. We came across a manufacturer that’s a leader in solid skincare here in Korea, but there’s a lot of limitations in terms of the chemistry and process. We have come up with our own formulas that deliver clean, natural ingredients.” She mentions Solid Water Probiotic Toner, which has water as the primary ingredient, was the hardest formula to perfect. Kim says, “It’s literally like a mist in a solid format.” Solid Clean Probiotic Cleanser is the bestseller.
“Solid skincare is still a very novel category within beauty, but I think it’s relevant today because a lot of people are looking for easy solutions.”
For distribution, We are Wild initially zeroed in on the Portland area to reach its core consumer group of active enthusiasts for whom convenient skincare would be a big plus for hikes, trail runs and camping trips. It’s first retailer was Poler Outdoor Stuff, a now bankrupt concept akin to Patagonia’s younger hipster cousin. We are Wild also headed to Tender Loving Empire, and it’s currently in the mix amid many local brands at the five-unit Portland retailer. In addition to selling at Portland stores, the brand has participated in trade shows and events in the area like Renegade Craft Fair.
Due to its solid products and eye-catching minimalist design, We are Wild fielded inbound requests from beauty retailers such as Riley Rose and Anthropologie. It was stocked by Riley Rose, but exited once Riley Rose’s standalone stores shuttered and its assortment merged into Forever 21 units. Anthropologie carried We are Wild last year in 200 locations, and Kim shares the products performed “pretty well” in them. However, she feels Anthropologie’s shoppers are a bit sophisticated for We are Wild and Urban Outfitters, a destination for discovery, better suits the brand. It’s expected to roll out to Urban Outfitters’ brick-and-mortar stores in the spring.
Many of the active enthusiasts We are Wild is directed at aren’t well-versed in beauty, according to Kim, and they don’t necessarily frequent beauty stores. To place the brand in the stores they shop at, she’s open to a broad array of retailers, including Walmart. “Our strategy has been to target mass retailers as well as local retailers,” says Kim. “There is a negative perception of Walmart, but people shop there, they really do. If our mission is to introduce recreation skincare to as many people as we can, this is the biggest and best platform.” Social media advertising, while effective for exposure, hasn’t been as effective for sales as marketing specialist Kim, co-founder of the agency MNLP and partner in the agency Goodification, expected. She figures it’s because We are Wild’s customers don’t buy into advertising. Instead, We are Wild has tried to spread the word at the grassroots level through events and club sponsorships. For example, it sponsors the Hood to Coast relay race and Rose City Track Club.
To appeal to beauty neophytes, the brand has to release products that don’t require too much consideration. Branching into sunscreen made sense since it’s a staple for outdoor excursions that’s not hard to understand. We are Wild’s Solid Block Active Cannabis Sunscreen, an SPF 35 with non-nano titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, has hemp seed oil, rose of Jericho and lavender. Urban Outfitters had an exclusive on the product for the month of January. In the early going, Kim reports the sunscreen has been “very successful” at the retailer.
“We can extend beyond beauty to address the whole outdoor adventure lifestyle.”
“We knew that, if we launched an SPF product in the summer, we would be killed. There are brands like Supergoop and Coola focused on the summer,” she continues. “It seems counterintuitive to launch an SPF product in the dead of winter, but we want to encourage people to think of it as a daytime essential that they need every day in every season, and we encourage an active lifestyle all year round.”
The SPF product’s auspicious beginning has been indicative of a 2020 that’s so far exceeding Kim’s revenue expectations for We are Wild. Although she declines to disclose its exact revenues, she says, “We are profitable, and our base is growing every day. We are strong not just in terms of new customers, but in terms of our retention rate. Our repurchase rate is 80%. We’ve been pleasantly surprised by that. Once people use it, we thought maybe they would go onto other things, but we’ve certainly proven that we can keep them.”
Kim envisions We are Wild won’t be confined to stick skincare forever. “Our aspiration for the brand We are Wild is to be a rallying cry for people that are like-minded, and that have a love for activity, adventure recreation and wellness,” she says. “Our mission is not to make your skin flawless, we say it’s to spark recreation joy. So, we can extend beyond beauty to address the whole outdoor adventure lifestyle.”