Indie Beauty Profile
Stephanie Kim, Moonlit Skincare
Sleep has never not been important. And ‘beauty rest’ is such a well-known concept that the term itself is cliché.
But now, thanks to the global wellness movement and consumer interest in meaningful selfcare there is an opportunity in the market for innovative brands that help people sleep well. The team at Moonlit Skincare saw that opportunity and have built the brand that fills this new market niche in the beauty space.
Here, beauty entrepreneur Stephanie Kim shares a profile of herself and the Moonlit Skincare brand.
Name: Stephanie Kim, CEO and Co-Founder
Indie Beauty Company: Moonlit Skincare
Launched: May 2017
Headquarters: Los Angeles, California
Cash flow: Moonlit Skincare is bootstrapped and 100% owned by my partner, Kriszta Matyi, and I. And, we’ve been profitable since January 2019.
Indie how? An indie beauty brand has a certain essence about the way that it connects with its customers. Moonlit is nimble in the way that it operates and strives to bring intimate face-to-face gatherings with our audience. From yoga retreats to corporate sleep workshops to campus visits, our on-going Moonlit Event Series is an in-real-life extension of our brand that allows us to share our story and products, and to develop real-time feedback.
We aren’t afraid to adopt new technologies or experiment with new shopping platforms; conversely, we aren’t hesitant to let go of the strategies that aren’t working.
Team work: 3 full-time employees and 8-12 employees on a part-time/contractor-basis depending on the season
Distribution: Our products are available at moonlitskincare.com (we ship internationally), 50+ brick-and-mortar retailers, including Urban Outfitters, and launching this winter at Anthropologie.
Years in beauty: 9
Years at Moonlit Skincare: 2½
Entrepreneurial experience: My co-founder Kriszta and I come from ecommerce and design backgrounds as we met at Parsons School of Design (former roommates). I began my career in the beauty industry as one of the first interns at Birchbox. From there, I focused on ecommerce, marketing, and graphic design for L’Oréal-owned brands like Kérastase and Shu Uemura as well as Dr. Dennis Gross. This was during a pivotal time as mobile shopping was just emerging, social media was beginning to take off, and Amazon was gaining traction.
I was trained to learn that there can be very successful strategies that can work today but can quickly become out-of-date in a year. Those years in corporate helped shaped the way we work because I know you can get left in the dust if you don’t adopt, adapt, and experiment.
The business: Moonlit Skincare is dedicated to overnight skincare and sleep wellness. With silk pillowcases, silk eyemasks, nighttime formulas, beauty sleep teas, and more, we bring this crucial time for skin to recover, front and center. We ethically and sustainably create our formulas in Bali and the US. Our natural products are formulated without parabens, sulfates, mineral oils, PEGs, and synthetic fragrances.
The wow-factor: We sought to create an approachable brand that encompasses the science of sleep. Night time is an often overlooked pillar of health, even though it is the optimal time for your skin to regenerate. Moonlit encourages women to slow down and create a more welcome sleep space.
As an indie beauty brand we focus on skin care, but we also have deep roots in the gifting space; so our product line is built out to honor that sector in retail. We’re also in the process of partnering with hotel and hospitality brands to [create] sleep kits for their VIP rooms.
The consumer: Our target customer (20-35 years of age) is mindful of her health and how she feels in the morning. She does her research before purchasing and isn’t hesitant to speak her mind, ask questions, and give feedback about a product. We keep the lines of communication open, encouraging conversations through our social media platforms and through our Moonlit Event Series.
Milestone moment: Moonlit Skincare was shortlisted by CEW’s “Indie Brands to Watch.” Moonlit has also been recognized by WWD, VOGUE, and Marie Claire.
It has been rewarding to see Moonlit take a solid stance as “the sleep brand” as retailers reach out directly to add us to their growing wellness categories and press will ask for our input on sleep articles. It was also an honor to be invited to present to Unilever at CES 2019.
Advice your fellow beauty entrepreneurs: Be persistent, ignore the noise, and stay focused on your goals. Also, you live and die by your budgets.
Just one: Asked about her go-to beauty product, Kim says, the Moonlit Skincare Sleepy Spritzzz is my ultimate go-to. It’s a 2-in-1 balancing facial toner and relaxing sleep mist. I keep travel sizes in my purse, in my carry-on, and a full-size on my bedside table.
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.