Kari Gran skin care and color cosmetic products reach consumers through both green and conventional retail channels. But the brand operates on what might be called the fringe of the conventional cosmetics and personal care industry. Gran’s ingredient sourcing, formulation, product portfolio, marketing, etc. are all outside the norm. She works with thoughtful suppliers and doesn’t encourage women to use dozens of products to ‘correct’ anything.
Here, the beauty entrepreneur shares a profile of herself and her anti-beauty beauty brand.
Name: Kari Gran, Co-Founder
Indie Beauty Company: Kari Gran
Headquarters: Seattle, Washington
Cash Flow: Kari Gran is privately owned. And when asked about her brand’s milestone financial moment, Gran says, Honestly, it was the same as when I was selling real estate and sold my first million dollar condo. The day we surpassed the million dollars was a real “pinch me” moment.
Indie How? I’ve always thought of Indie Beauty as green beauty companies because they fall outside of the conventional norms in the industry.
Team work: 5 full-time employees and 6 part-time
Distribution: The full Kari Gran product line is available at karigran.com and a growing list of US retailers and boutiques, including Credo Beauty, Follain, Detox Market, Soft Surroundings, and Sephora, along with international retailers including Harvey Nichols in Hong Kong.
Years in beauty: I’ve only been directly involved in this industry since the minute we formed the company. I was a self-proclaimed beauty junkie and after learning I had an autoimmune thyroid disorder, I decided to adopt a cleaner approach. After trying and failing to find a simple, luxurious take on green beauty products, I set out to create my own back in 2009.
Years at Kari Gran: Since co-founding it in 2011.
Entrepreneurial experience: Prior to launching Kari Gran, I had a successful real estate career. After years of hustling and working long hours to sell real estate in a down economy and several stints of bad luck (family deaths, health scares etc.), I realized I needed to focus on what brought me pleasure in life.
After being diagnosed with an autoimmune thyroid disease, I realized what I put in and on my body affected my symptoms, so I began researching ingredients and creating my own clean beauty products (lip balms, moisturizer) and that’s when the first iteration of the skincare line was born. I gave Lisa (co-founder of Kari Gran) that skincare line for Christmas one year, and that gift made Lisa want to work together to start a business. That’s when Kari Gran was officially born, and the second act of our lives truly began.
The business: As the anti-beauty beauty company, the Kari Gran motto is "be kind to your skin" with a focus on health and well-being over the attainment of youth and perfection.
With fewer products that work harder for you, our offerings include our popular Lip Whip by Kari Gran, along with a well-chosen line of Kari Gran skin care and mineral makeup products. All of our skin care products are handcrafted in Seattle from organic, wild-harvested, naturally-derived and non-GMO ingredients, and are made without known endocrine disruptors like parabens, phthalates and oxybenzone. Nor do they contain mineral oil, known toxins, preservatives or synthetic fragrance.
We’ve worked tirelessly to make our Lip Whips, skin care and mineral makeup feel as beautiful and luxe as they are effective. We also think beauty means protecting earth’s precious resources. A higher commitment to environmental responsibility and sustainability is integrated into our lives at home and at the office, including recycling, using less packaging and inspiring our retail partners to do the same!
The wow-factor: It is our hope to change the conversation. We believe that beauty is not measured by an age, a dollar sign, or a stereotype. We think women are not figures to be fixed, but to be celebrated!
When it comes to caring for yourself and your skin, we champion healthy prevention over critical correction. Our voice in the industry is not one to boast a complex routine of (way) too many products. Who has time for that? Instead, our ethos is centered around creating natural, eco-luxe products that provide simple, elegant solutions for your everyday personal care at any age and any stage.
The customer: Our target consumer ranges from millennials (who are fully on board with the green beauty movement) who like our Lip Whips for their price point (between $18 to $24) to women in their 40s and way beyond who like the simplicity of our skin care system.
Milestone moment: This is a little left of center, but being recognized in a local Trader Joe’s a few years ago was quite a moment.
Advice for fellow indie beauty entrepreneurs: Pick a lane, you cannot be all things to all people so know your customer.
Just one: One is nearly impossible for a recovering beauty junkie. Lip Whip is my go-to. I think my first words may have been “where’s the lip gloss?”
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.