H2O+ left Chicago, Illinois, and opened a new headquarters in San Francisco, California, last year. And the company has since closed all its retail locations too. Beauty is booming in the Bay Area, and Chen is positioning H2O+ to be a key player in and beyond that region.
The company has also closed its manufacturing operations and it is now working with third-party companies to produce its new product collection. According to the H2O+ press release about the relaunch, the move is “a sweeping strategic shift…to prioritize innovation over manufacturing, broadened its opportunities for creativity and innovation with fresh product lines…and [add] further brand upgrades to better fit the needs of today's discerning consumers.”
Previously the H2O+ brand story centered on water and marine-derived ingredients. Now, under Chen’s direction, it’s centered on “pure water.” And to align with current consumer expectations, the new formulations are free-from select ingredients of concern: “These new collections are inspired by the brand's innovative beginnings and combine pure water with the latest advances in skin technology, resulting in performance-based formulas made without parabens, mineral oils, or phthalates,” affirms the company.
Without any physical retail stores to run, the company is (almost) fully focused on e-commerce. H2O+ will have product in stores like Ulta. But, as the press release emphasizes “its new website will serve as both the brand's flagship store and a key tool for communicating with customers.”
The move will certainly save the company costs. But it’s a bold move in a time when online only retailers are getting into brick-and-mortar retail and conventional retailers are opting for experiential, omni-channel sales models.
Look and feel
The relaunch is meant to leave behind what was no longer working for H2O+ and to carry the brand forward. “Now we want to amplify that spirit with a reimagined H2O+ Beauty, one that even better serves our customers by being more innovative, creative and results-focused. We can't wait for the public to see what's in store,” Chen says.
New packaging is part of the mix. Artist Ayaka Ito drew water (rippling, crashing, sparkling in sunlight) for the company’s new look. Additionally, H2O+ has partnered with the Oakland, California – based group Girls Inc. of Alameda County and will support their work through donations and volunteer time.