Men’s makeup has been a topic of conversation in the cosmetics and skin care industry for years. Now with prominent brands like Tom Ford and Chanel in the mix, the category is well placed to gain market share in both color and grooming. Which is all to say that early innovative indie brands in the men’s makeup category—brands like Formen, Inc.—are in good company.
Here, the beauty entrepreneur shares a profile of himself and the brand.
Name: Andrew Grella, Founder
Indie Beauty Company: Formen Inc.
Headquarters: New York, New York
Cash flow: Formen Inc. is a bootstrapped brand; I own it 100%. We did a small (under 3k) crowdfunding campaign to see how it worked.
When we hit out first 100K in sales I was 25 years old and felt that I was creating something people actually liked.
Indie how? To me a beauty brand is independent if their heart and soul is scattered through the brand. I like bootstrapped brands that try to challenge the big guys.
Team work: 1 full-time and 3 part-time
Distribution: Formen is available worldwide through our own ecommerce sales channel. Online, we’re also available on Amazon in 6 regions across the globe. In the brick and mortar space we’re in one boutique in the USA and in 55 locations across Canada.
Years in beauty: 5
Years at Formen Inc.: 2
Entrepreneurial experience: My entrepreneurial experience started when I was in grade 5 selling freezies to classmates on hot days, because I wanted one and I figured other people would too. Formen is the creation of lessons learned from a brand I created for a university class project.
The business: I created Formen from an awkward experience I had on my prom night. That morning I woke up with acne scattered across my face. Like any son, I asked my mother for her advice. She wanted to put her makeup on my skin. Thinking she was crazy I left to hit the stores looking for a solution that was made for me. Returning home empty handed she attacked me with her makeup bag. When I saw what her products could do on my skin, I vowed to create a line that gave men the tools to put their best face forward.
The wow-factor: Formen is really a problem-solution based brand. We aim to quickly and easily fix problems on the male face without showing the world you’re using our products.
The customer: Our target consumer was a surprise to me. From business school we thought out possible scenarios and identified a certain audience. After being in the marketplace the data showed us that we appealed to a much wider net with a very different age.
I had a 73-year-old gentleman call me who was ecstatic he stumbled across our brand. But, if I had to break it down by age group, we have seen two distinct groups: 18-25 (who buy more) and 35-45 (who spend more).
Milestone moment: We did a collaboration with Insider Beauty who’s video gained about 4 million views and received thousands of comments – most of which I read because I was obsessed.
Advice for fellow beauty entrepreneurs: You’re going to have days where you think you should stop and that all of your efforts have been trivial. It’s going to happen, and it’ll happen again and again. You need to find your own way to power through it and progress.
Just one: Asked about his go-to product, Grella admits, I’m the type of person to hoard bath amenities from hotels, so this is a very difficult question. The Bvlgari Au The Vert bar soap – it’s gotta be in the bar form.
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.