Founder Shai Eisenman launched Bubble after discovering that even though younger consumers are the most digitally sophisticated and globally connected generation, they were still using the exact same traditional skincare products that their mothers had purchased in drugstores decades ago. Her goal was to disrupt an industry and shelf that had very little innovation for decades, resulting in the first skincare brand ever created for young skin. Bubble sets a new skincare standard while truly listening to what its customers want and need by tapping into its consumer voice by building a community of Gen Z shoppers whose feedback and suggestions are vital through every step of the business―from packaging to product ingredients to developing formulations that refuse to compromise price for efficacy. Eisenman fell in love with the beauty industry because beauty brands serve a dual role, affecting consumers’ lives from a clinical and scientific perspective while also creating powerful emotional connections. That's why Bubble continues to support the values and needs of its young consumers by advocating and donating to nonprofits and organizations that focus on mental health.
Founder: Shai Eisenman
Leadership: Shai Eisenman, Founder and CEO
2023 Full Year Expected Revenue Range: $20 to $30 million (estimated by industry experts)
Distribution Channel: Mass, Prestige, Drugstore
Funding Rounds: Venture Capital
Notable Investors: Willow Growth, Bullish, Fab Ventures, Echo Capital
Notable Advisors / Board Members: Andrew Ross, Jyothi Rao, Sandra Campos, Dor Sela, Alexandra Wilkis Wilson
What are some of your key business initiatives for 2023?
In 2023, we plan to expand to new international markets and launch four new products in the hopes of conquering a new zone of skincare.
What are you most proud of having accomplished?
When I created Bubble, I was on a mission to fill the gap in the market for accessible and affordable skincare for young skin, and I truly am proud to say we’ve done just that. Since its creation, Bubble is already one of the fastest growing skincare brands for Gen Z, being accessible to over 90% of the US population. In just over two years, Bubble has grown from a direct-to-consumer (DTC) brand offering five SKUs to being available in over 9,000 doors, including big-box retailers like Walmart and CVS and specialty stores like Ulta.
Aside from Bubble’s impressive growth, I am extremely proud of how it has become the skincare brand for Gen Z by Gen Z through the open dialogue the brand holds with its young consumer base. Behind all of Bubble’s success is a network of nearly 5,000 teens who give feedback on everything from new product development to packaging, through a group chat app called Geneva.
What has been the biggest surprise since the brand was founded?
As a brand that prides itself on being for Gen Z by Gen Z, the biggest surprises have been learning how Gen Z consumers shop. When we launched the brand, a DTC website seemed like the best way forward as a new brand entering the market for the first time. Immediately after launch day, however, customer feedback and research taught us that, while Gen Z does shop online, 80% are looking to purchase their skincare products in retail stores, and more than 60% prefer to buy their skincare in big box retailers and drugstores such as Walmart and CVS. Fortunately, we were quickly approached by large retailers who helped us pivot toward brick-and-mortar distribution.
This strategy is how Bubble ended up being the first ever DTC brand to launch exclusively at Walmart. Eight months after our initial launch, Bubble products were in over 3,900 stores nationwide. This is one of many examples that demonstrate how valuable it is to listen to our consumers and rely on them for feedback before we make our strategic decisions.
What aspect of your brand DNA fuels your competitive advantage?
Aside from our amazing products, we consider our social community an innovative ingredient. By listening closely to what Gen Z wants and needs, we can achieve the best, most accessible products to address their skincare concerns and understand where they want to shop Bubble, what they want to see from packaging and formulations, and their ideal price point. Our products truly practice what we preach, being made with best-in-class, plant-based, and skin-safe ingredients without the use of colors, fragrances, fillers, essential oils, parabens, or sulfates.
Please share your insight on the future of the beauty industry.
The industry has become more saturated than ever, and consumer fatigue is real. Most channels are becoming less and less efficient, which will make it very challenging for brands to exist. We believe that the right things to focus on in 2023 and beyond are real 1:1 marketing and building an army of advocates who really love the brand. The best way to do that is by building a community, brand ambassador program, and being extremely genuine and transparent with your community.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
The best piece of advice I’ve heard was given by an advisory board member, Dor Sela, when she said to stay humble and never assume you know what’s right. She encouraged me to always test and always listen to consumer feedback and research, because if you don’t, you probably won’t solve anyone’s problem but your own. We started the process of creating Bubble with very different assumptions about how the brand should show up in the world, but focus groups (per Dor’s advice) completely shifted our strategy. Bubble would have been a very different brand if we hadn’t listened to our customers.
Paying it forward, what advice would you give to someone contemplating launching a beauty brand?
Definitely focus on listening to consumers, research, and not getting discouraged by the "no's." If you have a vision, speak to as many people as possible, learn as much as you can, and hire the right people in the business to help bring your vision to life. There are so many beauty companies out there, but the world is always looking for brands with purpose; brands that can emotionally connect with their audience, truly listen to consumers' gaps, and look for underserved categories.
If you could change one thing in the beauty industry, what would it be?
I would love to change people's thoughts on ingredients. So many ingredients have become fearmongered, and everyone is trapped into a "clean" beauty tagline that isn't regulated. You can't label your products as "clean" because someone will find something wrong, and you can't not label your products as "clean" because then nobody wants to purchase. I think there needs to be an educational uplift, done by all brands in the industry, to showcase how important certain ingredients are and show their efficacy and reasons why ingredients are and aren't used in order to truly change the industry.
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