Haus Labs by Lady Gaga recently announced its entry into Sephora and its new, clean formulas (they’re still cruelty-free and vegan), while also getting a sustainable packaging makeover. “I’m extremely excited to announce that we are bringing brand new, supercharged, clean artistry makeup to the world, through a place that has inspired me for years, Sephora!” Lady Gaga said this weekend on her Instagram feed. “At Haus Labs, artistry is for everyone, and no one should have to damage their skin or sacrifice their principles and values to be self-expressive with high-performance makeup.” Here, Beauty News takes 5 minutes with Haus Labs CEO Ben Jones to talk about how COVID impacted the brand’s 2019 launch and the digital strategy that will support its evolution and partnership with Sephora.

Beauty News: Take us through the brand’s journey since launching in 2019. What worked, what didn’t, and how did COVID impact plans?

Ben Jones: We always made great products. We’ve created hero products, like the liquid eyeliner and brow pencil that became best-sellers and were award-winning. COVID brought along a heightened realization of how fragile the world is. It became increasingly important to Gaga and the team that our brand, which stands for kindness, had to also be kind to the planet. At the same time, we saw innovation in skin care and hair care, but very little in color. Gaga started to think about how we could innovate and set an audacious goal of two things—compete with the performance and payoff of luxury brands with a brand that was more accessible and didn’t have dirty ingredients. The benchmark was that it had to be as good or better. We weren’t competing with other “clean” brands. Second, could we create makeup that was supercharged with skin care benefits.

When we launched, our goal was to get products into consumers’ hands worldwide, which is why we partnered exclusively with Amazon. Amazon has been an incredible partner and it was crucial for us to offer products to a global audience from day one—in more than 200 countries. In the beginning, we took some chances being a digital-only brand, and now it’s time to expand our retail footprint with beauty retail powerhouse, Sephora, allowing consumers to see and feel our new products, and showing them that Haus Labs is at the forefront of innovation and performance while delivering products that stay true to our core beliefs of kindness and inclusivity.

BN: What did you focus on in 2020-2021 while most of the world was shut down? What was prioritized? And when did you identify a rebrand was needed?

BJ: I consider this more so an evolution rather than a ‘rebrand.’ Greatness takes time and requires evolving. We are in a constant state of innovation—testing and learning will always be a core tenant for us.  Our evolution is geared toward product innovation without compromise. Our brand ethos continues to be about driving true innovation—for everyone—and leading with kindness.

Like everything she does, Gaga sets the bar higher than anyone. Ingredients and technology needed to catch up with her vision. Her fans and consumers expect greatness from anything she produces, which is why we lead with product and innovation first, the core of Haus Labs. Try our products, they speak for themselves—with high-tech formulations that deliver color and long wear and are good for your skin—while also being clean, cruelty-free and vegan. No compromise.

BN: Can you talk about the move from Amazon to Sephora?

BJ: Amazon has been an incredible partner and it was crucial for us to be able to offer products to a global audience from day one, in over 200 counties. In the beginning, we took some chances being a digital-only brand and now feel like it is a great time to expand our retail footprint with beauty retail powerhouse, Sephora. The launch into Sephora helps us solidify this strategic vision as we are coming in as part of their clean beauty brands, complying with their clean standards. With the new distribution into Sephora, we hope to reach a wider audience, an audience that believes in quality ingredients and formulas, and also appreciates artistry, makeup and innovation. I believe it gives us the ability to drive incredible brand awareness through storytelling and giving our customers their first opportunity to play with the products.

BN: Tell us about what you learned about the consumer and Haus labs, and how did this influence the evolution?

BJ: We have the best fans in the world. Their passion is unparalleled, so our efforts need to meet them where they are. They are smart and knowledgeable about ingredients and are finding more ways to be sustainable. We have always been vegan and cruelty-free, but in this new phase, we also focused on developing clean formulas and holding ourselves accountable by reducing our environmental impact, minimizing unnecessary packaging, using reusable/refillable glass and aluminum, and recyclable materials.

BN: Can you take us through the rebrand/evolution?

BJ: The new Haus Labs has been in the making for almost two years as we took the time to find the best formulas that deliver on performance and pigment, infused with skincare-powered ingredients. Our products have always been cruelty-free and vegan and now they are Sephora Clean, complying with their guidelines and standards, as well as going above and beyond by eliminating any harmful ingredients that are not deemed clean.

The new products are created with proprietary ingredients—HausTech Powered Innovation—that merges the fields of science and skincare to create makeup that works to make skin look and feel better while still delivering high performance and high pigment color payoff. These stress-tested formulas are science-backed and biocompatible, but still pack the same punch of vibrant shades that consumers expect.

BN: What will the consumer experience now that she didn’t with the launch?

BJ: With this launch the consumer is going to learn so much about Gaga and her knowledge and vision for this category. Having only had the products available online, you lose the power of storytelling. With the launch into Sephora, the consumer will not only have the opportunity to get hands-on experience with the products to see firsthand how incredible they are, they will see the brand story created by Gaga and Sephora. Once consumers see who the brand is, and actually get to touch and feel the products in-store, we are confident that they will fall in love.

BN: What are you most excited about with the new Haus Labs?

BJ: I am most excited that we are pushing past the boundaries of makeup—as Gaga said, “supercharged clean artistry powered by innovation.” We have conducted extensive outreach to a very picky sunset of product developers, consumers, makeup artists, dancers, wives, husbands, friends, and family—all to create groundbreaking, game-changing products that will change their category. There is more to come.

BN: And what about TikTok, IG, what has been your strategy?

BJ: Gaga is one of the greatest influencers in the world, who uses her platform to connect with a community reaching millions. We will continue to build this community across all platforms.

BN: Has your team evolved? Please tell us about significant new hires.

BJ: We have 20-plus new team members, four newly rebuilt departments (product development, packaging, marketing, creative); four new vice presidents, two new senior directors, and 40-plus employees all with deep and wide expertise in beauty, retail, and innovation.

This team was the brains behind the brand’s recent launches that were introduced late last year – the Love For Sale Shadow Palette and Casa Gaga Italian Glam Collection—both hinting at new beginnings for the brand. Our Marketing, Creative and Product Development, and Digital teams have grown significantly since the brand’s launch and they’ve all played a pivotal role in not only creating these stellar products, but also in telling our brand story the way Gaga envisioned.