While it may be common for beauty brands to test the waters in other, tangential categories, like cosmetics, skin care or perfumes — think of Nest Fragrances’ recent personal-care launch with Ulta Beauty or Huda Beauty’s expansion from eyelashes and makeup to scents – few go after entirely different, seemingly unrelated segments.
Still, Unilever is going there with the expansion of its 1-year-old sustainable line, Love Beauty and Planet, into home. Dubbed Love Home and Planet, the 36-product lineup of laundry, dish and surface products is part of the parent company’s strategy to create a master lifestyle brand capturing purposeful ingredients. On Jan. 7, the line launches exclusively in 500 select Target stores with an amplified beauty and wellness presence and at LoveHomeandPlanet.com.
“There are a lot of consumers, particularly millennial consumers, who want purpose-led brands that make an impact, but that also offer efficacious products, and that opportunity is larger than single categories,” said Piyush Jain, Unilever gm and vp of marketing for U.S. hair care, who led both the Love Beauty and Planet and Love Home and Planet launches.
Sonika Malhotra, Love Home and Planet and Love Beauty and Planet global brand director, added, “Beauty has expanded to ‘in me,’ ‘on me’ and also ‘around me,’ and we have natural products to thank for that. First, natural was about what went inside of you, but now, it is about your skin care, hair care and body care, and we think the ‘around you’ piece is the next step.”
It is an interesting play for Unilever, but the millennial-focused Love Beauty and Planet brand, which was created by an in-house team of four, has been a boon for the mega-company. Since launching in December 2017, it has repeatedly been called out in Unilever’s earnings for its success, and it helped the company grow its beauty and personal-care category sales by 4 percent in the third quarter of 2018. Love Beauty and Planet did more than $50 million in sales in its first year, and Unilever has expanded it from a U.S.-only brand to 12 international markets. In the first quarter of 2019 alone, the collection will drop an additional 26 beauty products from 45, and move further into hair care and skin care with hair styling products, bath bombs and scrubs.
Other Unilever-owned beauty and grooming brands have also tested the lifestyle-brand waters. After being acquired by Unilever in July 2016, Dollar Shave Club expanded from razors to oral-care needs with its Superba line in 2017, and Schmidt’s Naturals stretched its limits from deodorant to toothpaste and soap. That Unilever had no home presence in the U.S., aside from its September 2016 acquisition of green household product line Seventh Generation, further amplified its need for a master line across beauty and home. (Globally, Unilever has a $10 billion home business, according to the company. Its beauty business is worth $25 billion.)
While Seventh Generation is very much about what is not in its laundry detergent and hand washes, like scents and chemicals in favor of plant-derived preservatives, Malhotra said the Love Home and Planet lineup, which is cruelty-free and vegan, is very much about what is in them. For example, the scents featured mirror those found in its Love Beauty and Planet shampoos, conditioners and lotions, like Bulgarian rose, vetiver and Moroccan mimosa flower. “We wanted to forget all the cliché fragrances that home products typically have and offer a fine fragrance experience that you find in any beauty experience,” she said.
There are some differences. To make the line dermatologically tested but “hardworking,” Jain and Malhotra worked with two Unilever technical formula teams of scientists to marry green science with fragrance and sustainability parameters, like post-consumer recycled packaging and carbon emissions. And, of course, there is the retail strategy. While Love Beauty and Planet can be found in a wide selection of retailers, like Ulta Beauty, CVS and Target, for launch, Love Home and Planet will roll out only to Target’s designated “beauty and wellness” stores and its own direct site. While Malhotra would not share sales data per retailer for Love Beauty and Planet, she said, “Target has been its biggest and best partner.” In March, there will be a a wider push for the line to all 1,850 Target locations, as well as select Walmarts, Harris Teeter and Amazon.
“We have been a bit more particular with our partners here, because it is a revolutionary way of thinking about beauty,” said Malhotra. “If you think about the shelfies, that was once just for beauty products, but it’s changed. Now, it’s about capturing the products you use at a brunch party or in your home or in a laundromat. It’s a different and exciting way of thinking about lifestyle, and we are ready to change with our customers.”