Featured Startup Pitch: From the Lab is on a mission to make luxury beauty products with quality ingredients available at lower prices
There’s a widespread misconception in the beauty industry that women must pay exorbitant prices for luxury beauty and skincare products that actually work, but From the Lab believes that all women deserve access to incredible, effective products without having to pay a premium. By partnering directly with the top beauty labs in the world (the very same labs that supply formulations for most of the major label cosmetic companies in the U.S.) and eliminating unnecessary marketing and distribution costs, From the Lab is able to deliver the beauty industry’s most innovative skin, hair, and color products directly to consumers, straight from the laboratories that created them and at an affordable price.
Our product line includes everything from body treatments, to hair cleansers, to face serums, with a focus on multi-functional products, and all of our products showcase clean ingredients that are cruelty-free, animal-free, and free of harmful irritants and additions such as parabens, benzene, formaldehyde, nanoparticles, sodium lauryl, mineral oils, and comedogenic actives that clog pores.
My partner, Steve Dworman, and I first joined forces several years ago to brand and launch his skincare line, NuGlow, which featured an exclusive active created by a private Seattle cosmetic lab. Six months later, Neutrogena purchased the same technology from the same laboratory and released it as their own skincare product called Active Copper. With the insight that many major brands often purchase the patents and technology from independent labs in order to brand and market the formulas as their own, Steve recognized an unfilled niche in the beauty industry: He could get high-quality products to women faster than market trends—and for much less.
When Steve approached me with his initial idea for From the Lab, I was excited to combine my background in branding and development with my personal passion for skincare. As a consumer, I know that innovations often play a secondary role to marketing and distribution, and I was eager to establish a platform where we could honestly engage and educate beauty lovers. With our 25 years of combined experience and a diverse range of complementary skill sets, Steve and I have been able to bypass traditional retail roadblocks and create an extensive offering of luxurious, affordable products designed to benefit women.
We fill a unique niche in the beauty space. There is no other company doing what we are doing, and with online sales being the fastest growing segment of the beauty industry, there is significant opportunity for growth. In our first year of business alone, we saw our subscriber growth rate reach 700 percent.
As a new brand, building trust in the quality and efficacy of our products has been our top priority, especially since we’re a subscription model-based business. Every month we send out hand-selected and focus group tested products to a number of prominent beauty blogs, and we consistently receive rave reviews. We offer a range of incentivized subscription plans designed to drive traffic to our online store, and our subscription base continues to grow, as does the praise we receive for our products and customer service. We offer a 100 percent Satisfaction Guaranteed policy with a return rate of only 1/5th of one percent.
DIFFERENTIATORS VS. THE COMPETITION
There are four features that really set us apart from other beauty brands: 1) an innovative concept; 2) groundbreaking, high-quality ingredients; 3) full-sized products; and 4) complete and honest disclosure. Our products are also backed by research and testing to demonstrate efficacy with proven results.
Most notably, we don’t capture beauty trends; we create them. From the Lab’s expert knowledge and research, our relationships with industry insiders, and our regular communication with female consumers enable us to select products that best represent future trends in high-end, luxury beauty. Because we can curate ingredients immediately following the formulation process, we are able to release innovations many months in advance of other retailers and major consumer brands for up to 80 percent off estimated retail price.
Our quality European formulations further distinguish us from potential competitors. We use only premium and proven ingredients in clinically effective concentrations, and our formulas are free of parabens, benzene, formaldehyde-releasing ingredients, nanoparticles, nitrosating ingredients, PABA, phthalates, sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate, toluene, mineral oils, and other comedogenic actives. Our groundbreaking formulations have included customized polymers, biomimetic peptides, and a patented raspberry stem cell extract, and we were the first beauty company in the country to introduce Neodermyl. Named In-Cosmetics’ Most Innovative Ingredient of 2013, Neodermyl demonstrates a clinically-proven efficacy comparable to an injection of collagen and elastin.
So that our customers can fully experience and fall in love with the benefits of our innovative products, we provide exclusive, full-size beauty selections sufficient for a full 30 days of use, and our monthly packages have an estimated retail value of $50-to-$200. While there are other beauty companies that also offer subscription models, competitors who provide sample-sized products are participating in an oversaturated market, relying upon complementary online or retail channels to supply full-sized products to consumers after sampling. However, customers often price match to find comparable products available in non-affiliated outlets. With our model, we introduce innovations to the U.S. retail market, providing subscribers with products made exclusively available by From the Lab and effectively driving repeat purchases to our online store.
Our company was created on the premise that women have the right to know, and should be well informed, of what exactly is in the cosmetics and skincare products they regularly apply to their skin, a vital determinant of overall health. We have a full-disclosure policy for everything we do and include a separate pamphlet with each product that details all of the highly-selective ingredients used.
Rather than misrepresent any product with inflated claims, we serve as a resource to truly inform our consumers honestly and to ensure they receive the best products available as a return on their investment. Marketing copy and branding can put on a good show, but women want to see results.
We earn our revenue from subscription memberships and individual product sales through our online store. From the Lab Beauty Explorer memberships start at $19.95-to-$29.95 for a subscription to our service, which provides subscribers with up to two 30-day supplies of our newest, European-quality, luxury beauty innovations. Additionally, Beauty Explorer members receive a 33 percent discount on all online store purchases and have access to member-only sales and promotions.
Our online beauty store is open to everyone so that all women have access to the luxury space without overspending. And our successful personal beauty concierge, Ask a Beauty Expert, is available to both members and the public to get answers to any skin, hair, or cosmetic questions.
After a year of growth, we are now looking for outside investors so that we may expand more rapidly. The demand is there, the reviews further validate our offerings, and now we’d like more women to benefit from our services!
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HEADQUARTERS: Beverly Hills, California
YEAR FOUNDED: 2013