Whyld Skincare with Lauren Couture
Lauren Couture, founder and owner of Whyld Skincare
Every conscious business starts with the dream and purpose. Please tell us yours.
I founded Whyld Skincare in the hopes to create a luxurious and natural skincare brand that is aligned with my values, ethics, standards for quality, and style. I have a background in the cosmetic/beauty industry and previously worked as a product developer for many well known companies that you can find at Sephora, Nordstrom, Whole Foods, Credo Beauty etc. I began working with one of the leading formulators and most sought after chemists in the green skincare industry, and after years of utter disappointment and frustration in what I saw happening in the green beauty world, I decided to go out on my own. Misleading marketing, green washing, unethical business practices, and exaggerated claims that miseducate customers and create unrealistic expectations are some of the issues I saw as an industry insider and as a consumer. This is what I wanted to tackle and help deconstruct as a brand. My ultimate mission at Whyld Skincare is education, honesty, high performance ingredients, style driven aesthetic, and truly natural, approachable, luxury skincare that isn't lying to you. Every day I see a new brand pop up that is hopping on the "green" bandwagon branding scheme, but has nothing real to back it up. I want consumers to question these companies, push the boundaries, and not be fooled by pretty words and pretty people singing false praises. I grew up getting in trouble for always asking why, now i'm putting it to good use!
How important is social media for telling your story and building your community? Which social media channels have had the most profound impact to your business?
Social media is everything these days. If you aren't using social media for your brand, you need to! As a new brand, I have been using our socials religiously to get the word out and tell our story through Instagram primarily, and Facebook. I am currently trying to start branching out and using other platforms (Snapchat, Pinterest), as I have been given advice to not rely solely on any one platform because you never know what might rise or fall the tech world these days. Instagram as well as connections via Facebook groups have been extremely advantageous for us. Honestly, it is just talking to people on social media, posting content that is engaging, and putting personality into your work.
Describe your visual identity. How do you curate it and how is it helping you to tell your story.
Aesthetic is of utmost importance to me. Being unique in your visuals, as well as using inspiring images and text is such a great storyteller. Also, consistency in your aesthetic is what really brings it all together. I use photos that have been taken from customers, influencers, as well as artists that share their work on Instagram. There is so much creativity just bursting out of social media these days, and so much at your fingertips to use. (I always remember to tag the artist in the photos I use, as this is a big problem with social media sharing. Many people forget this step) I love using black and white, earthy tones, and some quick splashes of color that are desaturated to bring lots of visual interest. Edgy photography, and moody/low exposure shots are some of my favorite. I love the juxtaposition of bright whites, blackest of blacks, and alternating images of faces, landscape/architecture, negative space, and product shots. It's an ever changing game of shuffle with our images, but it is an incredibly fun job curating your visuals.
"My ultimate mission at Whyld Skincare is education, honesty, high performance ingredients, style driven aesthetic, and truly natural, approachable, luxury skincare that isn't lying to you."
Do you have a #hashtag strategy? Have you created branded #’s and which of these have been most successful?
Hashtags are very important if you want to reach your target audience. We use the hashtags in our comments section so our posts look clean and minimal . I use various sets of hashtags and always use the max of 30. It takes a little time to research what are the best for your brand, but it is fairly easy by looking at other accounts that are successful as well, and testing the hashtags to see which are most popular. I like to use broad ones as well as more specific hashtags to target either an entire group like "#beautybloggers" or if I'm featuring a post about our product that has Marula oil I will use that as a hashtag. I usually have several sets that I copy and paste from my notes, then change them here and there to fit who I want to target that day. It's incredible the amount of branded/unbranded hashtags that are out there that can be used to get the attention of a community. It has produced some great results so far! Regarding branded hashtags, we don't use them as much because our company is still small, but we are going to incorporate them more now as we have been gaining some traction in the industry. I think they are great for larger companies to really track their posts and to get them into the minds of their followers who can search for them specifically. I can say that I have been using branded hashtags of editorial magazines like Darling Magazine which have a huge following.
How important is UGC for your brand? How do you engage and build your community and reward them for their loyalty?
UGC is so important for us. It makes our content more interesting and also helps reinforce your value through followers seeing that others are using and loving your product. Also, it's awesome to get free photography! We have had some amazing success with individuals who have purchased from us as well as product we have sent to bloggers who post photos of our products and reviews talking about it. I frequently engage via our socials with our customers and followers. Regardless of what their posts or stories are about, keeping a conversation going and keeping up your brand awareness is vital. Interaction and being personable is so important!
Do you intertwine offline & online presence? If yes, how important is creating offline experiences for you?
I try to create personal experiences in both online and offline worlds. This will be happening even more as we release our products into retail spaces where I can have in-person interactions ( which will be wonderful). I think brands have to nurture relationships they have with their retailers by giving education and first person interaction if they want to be successful. Right now I am kind of stuck in the "online" world but I try and always reach out to customers and thank them personally for their purchases and open up a line of communication. Right now as a small company I have the time to connect with everyone, so I don't pass that up.
Paid or earned media? Is Influencer Marketing important in your strategy?
Influencer marketing is #1 on our list at the moment. Due to our small budget, we have been sending product to various influencers/bloggers in exchange for exposure on their socials and reviews. It helps build some clout within the industry and more and more people are seeing our product in pictures/youtube videos etc. and getting more familiar with us. We have been targeting influencers within the fashion/beauty/skincare industry and have been seeing great results so far. It's kind of a snowball effect; slowly your audience builds and more people have interest and awareness of your brand.
Share your Instagram inspiration. Do you have any brands or individuals who's social communication you admire? Any influencers who you think are important for your business?
There are so many that I love on Instagram! I think brand-wise Glossier does an amazing job at their branding and visual communication. They have the same approachable, edgy feel that I am also going for. There are so many amazing artists doing beautiful work on Instagram, I feel like it is truly a new form of art gallery. There are a lot of influencers out there that I have fallen in love with their aesthetic, particularly the New York based TophCam who's loves to push boundaries with his skincare page. There are so many more, but many of which I can't afford to work with yet!