How Versed Is Bringing Quality Clean Skincare To All
A version of this story first appeared on Forbes.com
We love a good skincare regimen as much as anyone, but let's face it: skincare can be so tedious! It is often incredibly expensive, and finding good products that are healthy to apply to your skin and actually work their magic is downright impossible. That is why we are so excited about the new skincare brand Versed, which just launched in over 1,000 Target stores across the country.
Helmed by CEO Katherine Power (also the CEO of Who What Wear) and general manger Melanie Bender, Versed is gearing to shake up the world of skincare by introducing clean products that pack a punch without a huge price tag (everything will retail for under $20).
To learn more about how they were able to create the new beauty brand for such amazing prices without sacrificing effectiveness, we discussed Versed with both Power and Bender. Check out what they had to say below!
SIMPLY: How did Versed come about?
KATHERINE POWER, CEO OF VERSED AND WHO WHAT WEAR: Over the last several years, we have spent a lot of time speaking to consumers about fashion and beauty. With the launch of our first brand, Who What Wear, our mission was to make style accessible to women everywhere, which we’ve done, through our international websites and affordable and inclusive apparel collection. I saw the same opportunity to bring clean, affordable skincare to the masses, and after speaking to a handful of our favorite retailers, we realized that the drugstore skincare isle really hasn’t changed in decades.
Many of the women we are speaking to don’t have access to a Sephora in their town, or the budget to shop higher priced brands at department stores. Yet. If they want something clean and effective, they really have no options. We know that over 60% of women are still buying beauty products in drugstores, so we wanted to bring a cool, clean, and high-quality brand to them where they are already shopping.
We enlisted a team of skincare experts and our most engaged community members to co-create the brand with us. Then came Versed, which is a 19-product line of high-performance products that cover every step of a good-skin regimen, from cleansers to treatments and moisturizers.
SIMPLY: How has the background in content helped the development of Versed?
KP: We engage with an audience of over 16mm audience members every month, through our websites, newsletters, and social media accounts and groups. We’ve built relationships with these women and are having two-way conversations, in real time. As we develop new brands and products, we really rely on these women to validate our beliefs and help us see new opportunities. In addition, we’re able to bring them along for the ride, and they become our greatest marketers.
SIMPLY: How did you decide on the products to include in this initial launch, the packaging, and the marketing of the brand?
MELANIE BENDER, GM OF VERSED: We're proud to be the first community-driven drugstore beauty brand, and everything really starts and ends with our community. We work with 8 different types of proprietary data—from real-time social listening to deep dive focus groups—to help us understand the challenges real people are having with their skin. We then partner with our formulation experts to develop the products we feel are missing from the market.
Then we bring it all back to the community, who tests the products and provide feedback on everything from formula performance to prices. To date, over 9,000 people have actively participated in the development of Versed and its products.
SIMPLY: One thing that really impressed us when first reading about Versed is that everything will be sold for under $20, which is so rare in the world of skincare! How were you able to hit that price point without sacrificing the effectiveness of these products?
MB: Two words: formula first. Many beauty brands actually spend more on the packaging than on the goop inside. We choose to heavily invest in our formulas—they're what give you those visible results, after all—and cut out other common cost drivers like custom molds and celebrity endorsements. We see comparable formulas retailing for over $80, but we keep everything in our line under $20 because we're passionate about making results-driven, clean products for all.
SIMPLY: What can consumers expect to get out of these products? How do you envision consumers using Versed and incorporating the products into their skincare routines?
MB: Our goal is more smiles in the mirror! No two people's skin is the same, so we focus on helping you find what to use and what to know. We've developed an icon system to easily guide you to the right products for your skin goals. Some people may want to build a full regimen—which you can do on VersedSkin.com—while others may be looking to trade up to cleaner products or to feel extra glow-y for a big event. We're here for it all.