Pure Culture launched its products into Target stores and at Target's website on Monday. Consumers will be able to purchase an at-home test kit at Target specific to which types of products they want, enter the results on Pure Culture’s website and receive their custom skincare products in the mail.
Joy Chen, co-founder and CEO of Pure Culture, said this model of retail customized skincare benefits consumers in getting the right products, as well as retailers in reducing the number of products on their shelves to serve a broader range of customers.
The brand offers cleansers, serums and moisturizers which are fully customized, cruelty-free, sulfate-free, phthalate-free, paraben-free and mineral oil-free, with 2,700 ingredients banned for "safety, sustainability, ethics and sourcing concerns."
Testing-based customer skincare to help consumers get the real right products
While many custom beauty products are based on a survey model, in which consumers are to self-identify their skin type and condition, Pure Culture relies on an at-home testing kit to identify those factors and formulate the correct products for the consumer.
Chen, former CEO of Yes To, said she and Pure Culture co-founder Vince Casale, who also co-founded MAC and CoverFX, realized that most consumers don’t have a good grasp on what skin type they have, what condition their skin is in, or what it needs.
“Seventy-five percent of consumers actually don't know what their skin condition is, or what even their skin type is,” Chen said. “For them to use something or pick something to use, they end up using the wrong thing for their skin and then hurting it.”
By bringing the test kits into Target stores, Chen said they’re going to be able to ensure that a retail customer is purchasing the correct products for their skin type, as opposed to making their best guess out of the products on the store shelves.
Chen said the model also allows the brand to serve a diverse range of consumers by offering formulas to address many conditions, like dark spots, dryness, fine lines and wrinkles, breakouts, redness and oiliness, among others.
By testing the skin condition and taking consumer skin goals, Chen said the formulations for two consumers, even with the same goals, will be tailored to what each individual’s skin condition needs. Consumers are also to retest their skin and get new formulations when their skin condition changes for any number of reasons.
New retail model could benefit retailer and brand
Outside of bringing customer skincare to retail consumers, this launch is trying out a new retail model for the sector which Chen said has benefits for the retailers and the brand itself.
Within the retail environment, Pure Culture’s model in Target could allow stores to decrease the number of physical products they must store on their shelves while expanding their selection.
Pure Culture is carrying four SKUs in-store with a mixture of serum, cleanser and moisturizer. Those SKUs will translate into a massive range of products that would require lots of space and physical products in-store, Chen said.
Unlike the traditional retail model, consumers will not be able to bring home a product with them from the store, but Chen said she thinks pandemic shopping habits have made consumers more open to purchasing a test kit in-store instead.
“People have been shopping a lot online where they don't get a product immediately,” Chen said. “I think that the customer today is a little bit different than the customer that we were talking about maybe a couple of years ago.”
Additionally, as a customized brand, Chen said Pure Culture will have the benefit over traditional retail brands in timely reformulation. Because customers order the products instead of purchasing them off the shelf, she said they are able to have reformulations with new technologies in consumers’ hands more quickly.
Chen said Pure Culture and Target are confident through data that these products will be successful in-store, and will monitor their success instore as the launch and social and digital promotional materials are released.