Influencer and model Tiffany Stanley founded Firefly Beauty after her mother Sharon was diagnosed with terminal skin cancer 2 years ago. She beat the odds and has almost made a full recovery. Believing there is a connection between skin cancer and certain chemicals, Tiffany set out to create a clean skincare brand that is 100% cruelty-free, vegan and results-driven. By utilizing a “botanical science” approach, she takes high-tech clinical ingredients and pairs them with high-performance botanicals for maximum effect.
As a model and social media influencer, she’s seen it all—every lotion, potion, and creme on the market. Tiffany plans to use her social platforms (997K followers) to educate and help people about healthy skincare and ingredients. Here’s what she had to say about building a beauty brand.
What are the non-negotiables of your brand?
The formulations! The Firefly Beauty ethos is to produce the most innovative, cutting-edge formulas with the best ingredients and no compromise on quality. The modern consumer is hungry for information, loves learning about new products, and becoming more aware and informed. I recently went to a doctor’s office in Beverly Hills, and the in-house products they were selling contained PEGs and artificial perfumes… not healthy for skin. How is that possible?
Which ingredients give your products their efficacy?
The Rescue Mask contains 8 botanical seeds and plants with each one playing a role in addressing a specific skin concern. We take a “botanical science” approach, carefully curating a blend of the best scientific innovations and sustainable botanical ingredients from around the world.
What is your distribution strategy for the brand?
Firefly Beauty has just launched and is available online through our website. We are rolling out a full influencer and social media campaign and then we will look to connect with retailers such as Credo, Dermstore, Urban Outfitters and, eventually, Sephora. Our goal is to build a strong community with a strong DTC business along with the support of traditional retailers.
How do you intend to fund growth?
Firefly is self-funded and I currently own 100% of the company. I truly believe in this product and the future of clean skincare—data confirms it is a huge growth area: 16% growth in 2018, in comparison to 8% growth the previous year. In order to take Firefly to the next level, I’m looking toward VC funding with an experienced team. I am also open to an angel investor—someone with a passion for the wellness or skincare area would be ideal.
Customers are moving away from the typical legacy brands. This has resulted in an indie beauty explosion—the millennial consumer wants to connect with something fresh, new, sustainable, and with strong core values. With the right funding, Firefly can grow faster and reach more people in a shorter time frame. Skincare sales for 2019 currently exceed makeup … the trend is to accept the skin you’re in, rather than cover it with heavy makeup. Consumer interest in skincare is at an all-time high!
What is the most important thing an investor should know about your brand?
Firefly Beauty is a new company but one that’s backed by strong social media following. We are small but mighty! Our vision is to get safer, more effective products into the hands of consumers. We educate and teach people the basics of good skincare, good ingredients, and the best practices for glowing skin. Consumers are very educated nowadays and we think this is wonderful! Consumers also look for brand transparency, a truthful message, and value for money—we relate and deliver on our promises.
What’s been the biggest learning process in the development of your brand?
This is a great question! I’ve learned to really stick to my guns and trust my intuition. With my lab, I made sure things were 100% and made ZERO allowances for anything I didn’t want in the formula—purity is everything.
What is your vision for the future of the brand?
Firefly is set to become a key player in the clean beauty category. We will start with skincare and then move into self-tanning and also makeup. Our goal is to start with LA, NYC, and then roll out nationwide. After that, international markets —UK, Ireland, France, Australia, and more. As I have been a public figure in Ireland for many years, Firefly will have a unique promotional advantage in Europe—I’m very excited to bring clean beauty home! We already have a variety of news outlets and TV shows that are excited to feature the brand. In fact, our very first TV launch is on hit US TV show The LOOK: All Stars airing on CW network and Hulu this coming fall.
What has been the best piece of advice you have received during your journey of building your brand?
This is a great question! Seek advice from people who are already successful in the areas you are looking into. Do your own research, learn everything you can about this segment, from trends to success stories and marketing efforts. Educate yourself and take notes. Every day I read and study this industry—I’m passionate and have a huge drive to always learn more. I think passion is a key driver to success.
What is the biggest change you would like to see in the industry and how would you address it?
I’m very passionate about sustainability. At Firefly we have developed a “kindness ecosystem” … we want to help people look and feel good, whilst also helping the planet at the same time. Our packaging can be recycled, and our ingredients are always from verified sources where the local communities benefit from working with us. I like to say that Firefly is “Spiritual Skincare”… because I want to ensure a 360-degree approach to how we operate. We also plan to donate a percentage of each sale to conservation efforts.