Indie Beauty Profile
Celeste Lee and Lorrie King, Caire Beauty
Caire Beauty launched late last year and joins a growing roster of indie brands championing the skin care, hair care, personal care and color cosmetics needs and expectations of women 40+ (eg Pause Well-Aging and Better Not Younger). Here, brand founders Celeste Lee and Lorrie King describe the concept and the business behind the brand that’s putting the ‘I’ in women’s ‘self-care’.
Name: Celeste Lee and Lorrie King, Co-Founders
Indie Beauty Company: Caire Beauty
Launched: November 2020
Headquarters: New York, New York
Cash flow: Lorrie and I and our two PhD scientist partners own Caire Beauty Lab. We also have one minority venture partner on board.
Indie how? It was deeply important to us that we not end up going the traditional contract manufacturing route where there’s no innovation, no passion for the new and the best. The four of us knew we could create really groundbreaking and brand-right ‘hormone defying’ product and not worry about arbitrary budgets and timelines and do it ‘right’.
As owners, we can be decisive and productive and parallel path multiple formula ideations simultaneously. So actually, our development timelines are much faster than the typical beauty or personal care company.
Teamwork: Right now, it’s the four of us and 3 part time people.
Distribution: Caire Beauty is sold Direct to Consumer with Curated Retail planned for 2021.
Year in beauty: The two of us have worked in beauty for over 40 years, everything from fine fragrance to bath & body, hair and skincare. The funny part is that both of us started in finance. We always laugh that we made a lucky escape out of the world of spreadsheets; but now that we’ve started Caire, we’ve had to roll up our sleeves and learn how to do waterfalls, CAC and lifetime values in excel.
Years at Caire Beauty: 1.5
Entrepreneurial experience: Our entrepreneurial spirit started early! Lorrie started a sandwich business in 4th grade and my spotting a trend for ultra-stretchy erasers in 5th grade led to my making the School Store crazy popular. So we knew way back when, the key to success is knowing what your audience needs and covets – even before they themselves might know! We also learned early on that you have to make sure your product or service is not only beneficial or useful, but it should also be sensorially appealing. Because that’s makes a product go from useful to desirable.
The business: Caire uses really advanced molecular and nature-inspired science to create ‘age-empowering’ skincare for women going through natural hormone change and menopause. Adult hormone decline, the major driver of intrinsic skin aging, has been totally neglected by legacy brands.
It takes an indie brand like ours to open a new category up! Think about it. Teen acne is at least a $5B business but then the whole world pretends that hormones don’t exist after that. Which is ridiculous – we see an entire movement starting to happen.
Frankly, there are so many ways to make women’s lives better – everything needs to be rethought, when it comes to adult hormone change: sleep bummers, achiness, energy levels, bladder control, hot flashes, night sweats.
Did you know that breast tenderness happens with hormone change? Lorrie and I are serious about being part of the movement to open up conversations and just basic knowledge about what happens to women – and p.s. it doesn’t start when periods stops which is around 50 or 51. Hormone change starts a full decade or more before and in our quest for youth, no one even mentions this key fact. Our focus is on skin because that’s our deep expertise but also because looking at your face in the mirror is the first thing that happens to all of us every day.
The wow-factor: Our wow is the fact that we’re truthful. We’ll never pretend that we’re a ‘fountain of youth’, but if we can help a woman help her skin to ‘behave’ a few years younger—and that’s in fact exactly what our skincare does—then we’ll have made a small but real difference in the way she feels about herself. And that positive feeling, good vibe is basically priceless.
The consumer: The Caire Beauty consumer, she’s 40, 50, 60 plus, and she isn’t taking hormone change silently or stoically, she’s proactive about life, and prioritizes her selfcare.
Just between 40 and 60, there are 42 million women in the US with 6000 women entering menopause daily and many more entering pre-menopause (40-49 years of age).
Milestone moment: Caire was selected for the ERA Accelerator this past summer into fall. ERA is the East Coast’s oldest and most renowned business accelerator – we were one of over 1000 applicants and it was a milestone because it came with working capital money, as well as dozens of extraordinary mentors to help us actually bring Caire Beauty to life.
Advice for fellow beauty entrepreneurs: Be proactive in asking your circle and your circle’s circle for advice and support, even in areas that you might think is your core expertise!
You might be surprised at what you learn or how an innocent remark can impact what you already know. You might find yourself reframing your brand, your product, your site, maybe even your entire value proposition. Pivoting early is better than pivoting too late.
Just one: Asked about their one go-to product, Lee and King came up with two: Our Caire Beauty ‘Defiance Science’ Duo are two halves of a whole. Really! The Triple Lift Molecule Mask and Theorem Serum Boost have a host of fantastic attributes: anti-inflammatory, anti-adult acne, anti-sags and bags as well as pro-smooth skin, pro-soft skin, and importantly, pro-strong skin.
It’s like everything with the body as we ‘grow up’, you got to maintain strength in your muscles, bones, brains and skin. You have to give your skin & body the nutrition and the extra help it needs when things internally just naturally slow down.