“Sephora has always been the goal,” says the Mara Beauty founder Allison McNamarawho launched the brand in 2018. “As I was building the brand, I went to Sephora and imagined that brand would be there.”
Retail partnerships have always been an important part of the brand’s distribution strategy, McNamara said. Currently, his DTC site accounts for 32% of his total sales. Its initial retail strategy focused on small retailers and clean beauty boutiques, launching at Credo Beauty three months after the brand’s launch.
“It was important for us to get that clean retailer and that respect in the clean beauty world from the start,” she said.
The brand’s current bestseller is its oil cleanser, while its face oil is a close second. Both of these products will be on the physical locations, along with the brand’s vitamin C and retinol oils.
Mara Beauty’s oil cleanser saw sales surge after its April 2021 appearance YouTube video on night skincare routine by Hailey Bieber, who was introduced to the brand by McNamara’s wife and Bieber’s hair colorist, Cassondra Kaeding.
“I thought Shopify was in trouble” due to increased sales after Bieber posted the video, McNamara said. The momentum continued into 2022, as Bieber again showcased the product in a video for Allure in April. Sales of the cleansing oil increased 35% year over year. The brand’s universal face oil has also seen a 20% increase this year, gaining its own cult status after being featured on Chrissy Teigen’s Instagram account in 2020.
Previously working as both a celebrity-covering PopSugar reporter and an editor on hairstylist Jen Atkin’s Mane Addicts site, McNamara has recognized the power of celebrities and influencers in what she calls the “new pop culture conversation.” age”. Although she has 45,000 Instagram followers herself, she doesn’t consider herself an influencer.
“It’s really exciting that Sephora is going back to its roots and giving independent brands a chance,” she said. “For so long, the landscape has been one of celebrity and influencer-based brands. Having the opportunity to go this far in their stores with a non-famous, non-influencer founder is really exciting.
Primarily using glass packaging and supporting ocean kelp reforestation efforts as part of the “blue beautybrand qualifies for Sephora’s Clean + Planet-Positive label. In order to achieve the “Planet-Positive” designation, the brand worked with the Climate Vault organization to achieve Scope 1 and 2 carbon neutral status.
To support its Sephora launch, Mara Beauty will participate in a 75,000 pack sampling program with the retailer. For physical stores, McNamara said she plans to road trip to as many places as possible to educate associates and store managers about the products in person.
“It’s going to be important for me to do those active sales support moments,” she said.