Vanessa Hudgens talks about relaunching skincare brand Know Beauty – WWD

Vanessa Hudgens isn’t one to shy away from new beginnings; rather, the actress-turned-entrepreneur has spent the better part of the last decade redefining the boundaries of her professional life.

In the last few years alone, Hudgens co-founded antioxidant-infused water brand Caliwater; joined craft liquor company Thomas Ashbourne as one of its many A-list founding partners and in 2021 teamed up with singer Madison Beer for a foray into the celebrity beauty arena, launching the brand of products for skin care Know Beauty.

Rooted in the premise of personalization, Know Beauty embraced cleansers, moisturizers, serums and masks and sought to match consumers with a tailored regimen based on the results of an online questionnaire and a $95 DNA kit shipped to their home.

Despite the burgeoning potential of the personalized beauty space, however, cultivating a loyal consumer base quickly proved trickier than anticipated.

“We’ve been trying to introduce the brand to customers for a while, but it didn’t translate as well as we thought. After a year, we knew we had to shift gears and try something different,” Hudgens said in an exclusive interview with WWD.

Nearly two years after the brand’s initial debut, Hudgens is reintroducing Know Beauty to the world, this time as the sole founder, following the exit of Beer to focus on her music career. Hudgens has nixed the DNA swabs, the online quiz and any previous ambitions to provide a one-stop shop for skincare. Instead, he re-emerges with a single inventory custody unit and an undaunted determination to carve out Know Beauty’s place in the beauty sphere.

“Trying to take over an entire skincare line is a bit ambitious, so I decided instead to focus on something specific that could easily fit into a skincare routine, something we can be known for,” Hudgens said.

Enter the Glacial Bay Clay Mask, a $35 mineral- and lactic acid-infused colloidal clay mask formulated to draw out impurities and meet the needs of oily, acne-prone skin. Launching Wednesday on Amazon and direct-to-consumer, the mask is the only product commemorating Know Beauty’s second life, and if all goes to Hudgens’ plan, it will remain that way for a while.

Get to know the beauty Glacial Bay clay mask

courtesy photo

“The name of the game, for me, is to make it easy,” Hudgens said, adding that partnering with an accessible retailer like Amazon to revitalize the brand is one means to that end; taking a slow and steady approach to product development is another.

“We have a product that does exactly what we want it to do; I’m passionate about it, there’s a lot going on, and I feel confident starting with it,” said Hudgens, who partnered with Mary Berry’s Cosmos Labs to develop the mask and with whom some other masks are in early stages of development.

Though Hudgens didn’t comment on sales expectations for the Know Beauty relaunch, industry sources predict the brand could make more than $5 million in first-year retail sales through Amazon and direct-to-consumer channels.

Glacial Bay Clay Mask is cruelty-free, vegan, and designed with those with sensitive skin in mind (like Hudgens, who has long been open about her sometimes tumultuous skin journey). While Hudgens doesn’t rule out the potential for a physical presence for the brand down the road, he sees the Amazon partnership as a strategic step toward developing a devoted customer base.

Profitero’s data suggests that Hudgens’ gamble could really pay off: The e-commerce analytics platform saw an approximately 23% increase in Amazon sales of face masks, cleansers and moisturizers in 2022 compared to 2021.

“Our vision for Amazon’s beauty is pretty steadfast: We want to make Amazon the most trusted beauty destination in the United States,” said Melis Del Rey, director of beauty at Amazon, adding that the online retailer was in talks with Hudgens about potentially joining forces even before the raise. “One of the great things about the beauty of Amazon is that we work with small niche brands, but we also work with big billion-dollar brands — and our consumer base is just as diverse, so we’re excited to enable the discovery of new innovation. ”

For Hudgens, partnering with Amazon, and the precision of Know Beauty’s reinvented mission, are a reflection of the budding self-confidence of the multisyllable.

“Through my [entrepreneurial] efforts, I’ve learned that I’m very decisive,” Hudgens said. “It’s easy to be a puppeteer, especially when you’re an actor who’s been on sets all your life; leaning on entrepreneurship and projects that I love and enjoy [Know Beauty]wearing my boss hat, especially as a woman, and making decisions that are listened to, has been a huge confidence booster for me.

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