In Brands, Insight

The inspiration behind Feel, Instagram’s new favorite skincare brand, came to founder Mark Zabel after he attended a men’s mindfulness and leadership retreat (really). “[The retreat] gave me the inspiration to start this brand and to promote this movement around emotions and understanding that if you want to be happy you need to understand how emotions dictate what you do,” he tells Fashionista. “I really took it from there and had that as my reason and mission for creating a brand.”

Feel, as the name suggests, isn’t about looking beautiful, but about evoking the emotion of feeling beautiful. It is about confidence and self-care: “I wanted to create something radically different and make it have a positive impact on people’s lives,” Zabel explains.

Zabel’s intentions are clearly positive, but we have to question the authenticity of the brand, as he reveals to Fashionista that he doesn’t use his own products, as he’s a “typical guy” whose skincare knowledge doesn’t extend beyond a bar of soap. Additionally, a man who isn’t that into beauty telling young women what to buy in order to feel confident undermines the brand’s intentions of empowering women. The visuals feature a diverse cast of models and are appealing to the millennial crowd, but the messaging feels a little empty, with phrases such as, “When beauty is a feeling, making space for emotion is more important than ever,” as well as trendy buzzwords like detoxify and nourish.

Despite looking like it was created for Instagram—think graphic photography and cute packaging—the brand has only amassed 6,000 followers since launching. That being said, the brand has been picked up by Urban Outfitters—a retail outlet known for their on-trend beauty curation. Feel products have also been featured in an Ipsy bag less than a year after launching. It begs the question: Is Zabel more of a traditional businessman, who can get his product into stores but not into the hearts of his target consumer? Is Feel simply a business venture or a passion project? We will have to keep an eye on it and see.

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Photo: @Feel via Instagram 

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