Small-batch beauty has long been the purview of farmers’ market personal care brands and the launching off point of many booming natural brands. Robicheau is among those innovators scaling natural luxe products with a local feel for a wider market. Since launching, the brand has been growing by leaps and bounds and recently signed a distribution deal with Forever 21’s trendy beauty boutique.
Here, the skin care entrepreneur shares a profile of herself and the brand.
Name: Julianne Robicheau, Founder
Indie Beauty Company: Robi Luxury Skin Care
Launched: Summer 2015
Headquarters: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Cash flow: Robi Luxury Skin Care saw net sales grow 68% from 2015 to 2016 and 182% growth from 2016 to 2017, year over year. The brand declined to share annual revenue, but Robicheau did say that her brand has been profitable since year 1.
All told, she says, getting picked up by Riley Rose was our biggest financial accomplishment so far. And the growth year over year since launch has been very encouraging.
Team work: 1 full-time plus 2 part-time contractors
Distribution: Robi Luxury Skin Care is sold globally through our online shop at www.robiskincare.ca and in a few spas and retail shops, most notably Riley Rose in the US.
Years in beauty: 3, plus some PR experience in the industry
Years at Robi Luxury Skin Care: 3
Entrepreneurial experience: This is my first business. I previously worked in communications and public relations in a variety of industries which gave me a good sense of what kind of a business owner I’d want to be. I always knew entrepreneurship would be more fulfilling; so with lots of hard work, research and dedication, I was able to make that wish a reality.
The business: Robi Luxury Skin Care offers natural, vegan skincare that is effective, beautifully-packaged and feels luxurious. Each ingredient is carefully chosen and researched and sourced from trusted suppliers. Our current product line-up has been formulated to work for a variety of skin types, and most are multipurpose or customizable. We are proud to be cruelty-free and use sleek, recyclable / reusable glass bottles.
The wow-factor: From the get-go, I wanted to keep the prices attainable so our price range is very competitive ($16-$30). We offer quality, natural skincare that has a luxe look and feel to people who are more budget-conscious. This makes for tight margins, but it’s manageable. I wouldn’t feel comfortable selling a serum for $100. In regards to the natural, green beauty movement, my approach is to be non-judgmental. I stay away from criticizing the “traditional” cosmetics industry… I don’t use fear mongering or words like “toxic” in my messaging.
The customer: Our packaging definitely has a feminine feel so our target market has naturally been women. (age range 20s-50s, live a healthy lifestyle, and choose natural products as much as possible)
Milestone moment: Honestly, I feel more proud with the little victories, like every time a new customer discovers the brand. It means someone who loves our products referred us to them, or they connected with our message via social media or our website.
Every time a customer tags us in a post or sends a message telling us how the products are working wonders for them, I can’t help but beam. It truly makes the hard days worth it and keeps me humble.
Advice for fellow indie beauty entrepreneurs: Be confident. Be confident in yourself, your product / service, your brand, your sales pitch. Confidence really is key in everything you do that relates to your brand.
Just one: Asked about her go-to product, Robicheau says, it’s a quality SPF for the face all year round!
Deanna Utroske, CosmeticsDesign.com Editor, covers beauty business news in the Americas region and publishes the weekly Indie Beauty Profile column, showcasing the inspiring work of entrepreneurs and innovative brands.