In preparation for the Beauty & Money conference in New York, Benedict H. Auld, CEO and Founder of Lapidarius, caught up with founder Jackie Stauffer. RECESS was one of the independent beauty brands hand-picked to share their business and product in a quick-fire round of presentations at Beauty & Money New York.
What is the unique value proposition your brand or product brings to the category?
We were founded on the fact that people are hugely busy, so we set about creating a line that goes where you go, and gives you what you actually need to have a better day. To feel good, stay fresh, and feel clean. A really important part of our mission is to use top-quality ingredients, the best aloe, hyaluronic acid, green tea, caffeine, etc. We are about making your life easier with products that actually work. Where those two things meet is our dream state. That’s our core mission.
Today, we have five different wipes and we are also launching a hemp and charcoal dry shampoo focusing on the hairline: with no aerosol, no butane, all natural. We have two face wipes: a cleansing wipe that tones, moisturizes and brightens—it’s like a facial in a wipe. (The insight was that facial wipes are too drying and we were intent on fixing that. I myself have really sensitive skin and that was the original inspiration.) And we have a bacteria-fighting wipe— it’s a little stronger and we position it for hiking/camping, NYC pollution.
We have an aluminum-free deodorant body wipe and it actually works. My husband hijacks it all the time, and by the way, all our products are gender-neutral; they’re for everyone. And we have a soothing aloe body wipe to treat sunburn—we looked at the green goo they sell at the drugstore which just makes you sticky and doesn’t do actually anything and set about making something that works. We have a traditional body wipe, too.
How did you do it?
I started at Estée Lauder. And I’ve spent the last 15 years of my life marketing global lifestyle brands. And I myself was living a super-busy lifestyle, always on the go; that experience gave rise to a need for better products. We have a couple of dermatologists on board. Our formulation approach is a combination of things we like and don’t like, plus science. We eliminate attributes that we don’t want and we focus on the benefits we do want, and then select the ingredients that will deliver those benefits. Then we put the products before the dermatologists for review, and only then work with our formulators to go through a number of iterations until we perfect the product. It takes a while and it’s worth it.
What is the most important thing an investor should know about your brand?
That we have made a truly high-quality product that is solving a very wide variety of needs. We knew there was a need in the fitness space. But a lot of other use cases have come up, like travel, and in the healthcare realm. When I think about the mindset of the investor, this could be a massive global CPG company.
We believe in both the internet as a retail channel and traditional channels. We want people to have access to our product. We’re friendly to the future of retail. And we believe in being where people are, and letting people experience the products. Everywhere.
What would your ideal investor look like?
We really want investors with CPG or large retail experience. We want someone who can think bigger than Facebook ads. We’d be excited for a collaborative investor with the right resources.
Who is the muse for your brand? That is, who is the consumer target that you are creating your products for?
It’s a psychographic, not a demographic. To us it’s somebody who is maximizing their life, and they are traveling and they have a family life and a friend life and they are always on the go. It can be any gender, any age. It’s a mindset. Someone who says “I want to get the most out of my life and I’m looking for a solution to let me do everything I want to do each day.”
What is your vision for the brand? Where do you see the brand in 5 years?
The vision is consistent with the mission. Creating the right products for personal wellness by making products designed for how we live today.
Also: personal care as an industry has a lot of potential but is behind the food industry in innovation in health and wellness. There’s a broad opportunity—health and wellness is ingrained in people’s lives but the products haven’t caught up yet. We want to change that. And we know that in beauty West follows East, generally, with trends. And single-use is much bigger in Asia and is slowly making its presence felt here in the West.