Marcia Kilgore, the founder of Bliss spas, started Soap & Glory in 2006 just after having sold Bliss and having her first son. Now, she’s expanding the bath brand into skin care, one that targets a younger customer with multi-performing formulas and sound bite messages. Here, Marcia talks about her latest endeavor and how her personality plays into her business plan.
Beauty Insider: Refresh readers on the premise of Soap & Glory and how it’s performing in stores.
Marcia Kilgore: I realized some years ago that the ultimate guilty pleasure for a woman would be a tabloid magazine mixed with a bubble bath, with good bang for the buck, and so I created Soap & Glory from that mash up. The brand is fun and fearless and is designed and formulated to give women the best bang for their beauty budget. I love formulating and I love talking to customers, and I like to make products that conversely I would be the customer of.
Soap & Glory is sold in all Sephora doors and on Sephora.com and now we do a few stints a year on that amazing machine that is HSN! We’ve had a breakthrough this month, as Make Yourself Youthful Rejuvenating Eye Cream was chosen as a Sephora Hot Now for October, so we’re also hoping to ride on that momentum. Globally, there’s a jar of The Righteous Butter sold every 15 seconds. The big question is, HOW DO I TOP THAT?
BI: Skin care is the second leg of the brand, why did you launch with body care?
MK: Well, nobody’s doing anything fun in body care. Sometimes it’s easier to get your momentum going when you’re a big fish in a smaller pond. I have a feeling that if you’re an introvert, you like to start in the smaller pond and sneak up on everybody else. If you’re an extrovert, you go out all guns blazing saying look at me. Both are valid. I’M the former!
BI: What are some of the hero items in the skin care collection? What are the active ingredients?
MK: Our customer is younger. Aspirational. But already worried about aging. She talks, reads, learns, tweets in SOUND BITES. So we’re launching our most popular (and most technically formidable) skin care products –Make Yourself Youthful Super Serum and Rejuvenating Eye Cream in the U.S. as a ‘sound bite’. We believe they’ll be easier for her to digest as a ‘short shot’. Nobody has time to wade through a lineup of hundreds of items.
It’s jam-packed with potent anti-aging biopeptides, a special blend of energy and oxygen boosting actives and hydrating hyaluronic acid, Make Yourself Youthful Super Serum is a rejuvenator, brightener, smoother, energizer, skin tone evener and moisturizer in one. It helps to hyper-boost collagen activity and cell respiration, fight skin-damaging free radicals, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while rejuvenating skin.
Make Yourself Youthful Rejuvenating Eye Cream is a crow’s-feet-fighting, oxygen boosting, instant lifting, toning and tightening, flaw-minimizing and under eye-brightening formula to alleviate the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, under eye puff and dark circles. With a powerful anti-aging complex with clinically proven levels of peptides, a special blend of energy and oxygen boosting actives and light diffusing particles to instantly camouflage dark circles, this wonder cream works hard to help fix a multitude of sins around the eyes.
BI: How has the skin care arena evolved since you first got involved back in the Nineties?
MK: You know, as my friend once said about fashion: it’s still tops and bottoms. Sure, there are some groovy new tools, but the problems we’re solving are all the same. So we’re just figuring out new ways to deliver the same solutions, and new ways to get our customer’s attention. Some of the formulating opportunities have certainly evolved (cold emulsifiers, less hot-pouring, the paraben conundrum), and I’ve evolved, but ‘needs’ have not evolved that much.
BI: What indie retailers do you admire?
MK: A standing ovation for C.O. Bigelow Pharmacy, for the enthusiasm that permeates the walls and reeks out of Ian. You’ve got to love Lily Garfield at Cos Bar for still being THIS into makeup brushes after so many years. Barneys New York, being a bit of an indie, has some amazing stuff. I don’t get that much time to shop indies, though. I live on the other side of the pond, and I have a day job!
BI: In what other ventures outside of beauty have you been dabbling?
MK: After I moved to London and started Soap & Glory in 2006, I decided to start a functional footwear company called FitFlop a year later. When I was younger, I was a personal trainer and had dabbled in bodybuilding and long-distance running as a teenager, and used to be in amazing shape. But by my thirties, my career was on fire, I had kids, and I could never find time to exercise but realized walking was the one thing I did every day. I had the light-bulb realization that I could build a shoe that made walking perfectly ergonomically correct, was biomechanically engineered and still looked good, and I created FitFlop. At the moment, in terms of global sales, it’s a bit of a behemoth. So I’m really lucky to have a knack, I suppose, for creating what women don’t yet know they want, but will.
BI: Are you still living in London?
MK: I live in Switzerland now. My husband is French, and my kids are now multi-lingual (which is tough to accomplish in England), and I have FitFlop and/or Soap & Glory offices all over the world now (China, Vietnam, Los Angeles, New York, London, Munich, Berlin…somewhere else I bet I haven’t mentioned) so the middle of Europe is the perfect launching pad for whatever project I’ve got going on. The kids love it because they can ski every weekend in the summer.
BI: This year CEW is honoring entrepreneurs at our Achiever Awards, Alli Webb (Drybar); Wende Zomnir (Urban Decay), Laura Geller (Laura Geller Beauty) and Jane Wurwand (Dermalogica). Which entrepreneurs are you admiring these days?
MK: Well, all of the above, plus Lori Goldstein, who has built a huge success with LOGO by Lori Goldstein, fashion for the masses, on QVC. I’ve known her for 20 years and have always admired her style. She’s got a ROCKET-LIKE success over just a few years by doing what she knows and loves and she’s got amazing taste, and I’m so happy for her!