A few weeks ago I received an email about a new beauty product launch, a cosmetics brand called, Lawless. Being relatively new to the industry myself, I have become acutely aware of new cosmetics & hair launches (Cosmoprof North America is my happy place) so when I found out Lawless was all natural and started by an entrepreneur whose business I was already familiar with, Suja Juice, the largest organic juice company in the US, I was immediately interested in the story.
I sat down with Annie Lawless, Chairman & CEO of Lawless, to talk about her transition from her first company, the beverage empire (now partially owned by Coca-Cola) Suja Juice, to cosmetics.
Diving in deeper, and after meeting Annie it became pretty clear: She's a huge makeup lover, personally. The most successful businesses are born out of personal necessity, so it comes as no surprise that both of her businesses started that way. According to Annie, she was simply making juices for herself before Suja -- and this was no different.
Aside from being a business powerhouse, Annie has also amassed quite an impressive social following of (mostly) women who follow her personal tips on food, fashion, travel and beauty, so for Annie, it made sense to offer her followers, and women everywhere, something more than your average makeup.
In an age where marketers depend on influencers with followings like Annie's, she had a perfect storm and a unique perspective on launching a beauty brand.
Talking to Annie more and more, it made perfect sense why someone who was so interested in health would go into cosmetics immediately following an amazing exit. Your skin is the largest organ in your body, and 64% of the chemicals in makeup are absorbed from your skin1. Not too much different than juicing if you think about it.
Here are 3 takeaways from Annie's adventure in serial entrepreneurship anyone can learn from:
1. The best brands come from personal necessity
Annie started Suja Juice because she struggled with Celiac Disease, and started Lawless because she wanted a natural makeup that was equal parts high quality and beautiful. I have no doubt Lawless will be as successful.
2. There is always room in the market for a strong brand
Natural cosmetics on the market tend to look "granola" and do not come off as sexy as some of the bigger names out there. Annie's branding, imagery, product packaging and design are perfection and really offer strong customer touch-points at every stage. Never back down from competition, no matter how large of a scale you are up against.
3. A great brand with a poor product will never be successful at scale
Paying attention to brand is extremely important, but the physical product and customer touch-points share an equal role in creating a successful company.
1 Brown et al. The role of skin absorption as a route of exposure for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in drinking water. Am J Public Health. 1984 May; 74(5): 479-484