Following its D2C launch at the end of 2020, and its entry into Walmart stores six months later, Bubble Founder and CEO Shai Eisenman continues to chart an accelerated path to success, one data-driven step at a time. Beauty News talked with the top Gen Z skin care brand founder about leveraging Gen Z’s preference for brick-and-mortar shopping, and why consumer feedback is king.
Just three months after Bubble launched direct-to-consumer in November 2020, Walmart contacted the acne-friendly facial brand with strong interest, and by June 2021 Bubble gained national distribution in Walmart. Today, the top Gen Z skin care brand is solidly on track to hitting eight figures in revenue by the end of 2022. Bubble’s investors include Bullish (whose investments include Warby Parker, Peloton and Harry’s), Willow Growth Partners and FAB Ventures. Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, founder of Gilt and Glamsquad, sits on the brand’s board of advisors.
“We want to grow Bubble to be the number-one brand for young consumers in five years’ time,” said Shai Eisenman, the 30-year-old Founder and CEO of the brand she described as transparent, efficacious, fun and aligned with Gen Z values.
Even though Shai’s background is based in tech and gaming, a chance meeting with a former beauty CEO led her to fall in love with the beauty category. Having struggled with acne her whole life, Shai wanted to create a brand that could help young consumers and that they would be excited to use. Shai began working on Bubble three years ago with a team of dermatologists and research partners to create skin care formulas formulated for young skin, with the goal of giving everyone access to affordable, premium skin care.
Bubble is currently distributed in 3,900 Walmart stores, with additional growth expected by the end of 2022. “We have some major expansion happening which will make us accessible to everyone nationwide, in addition to international expansion. By the end of this year, we are going to be available in close to 10,000 doors,” said Shai. “We were approached by many national retailers including drugstores, prestige retailers, specialty, and other big-box retailers. It was amazing because it showed that we had really identified a big gap [in the category].”
That gap, Shai said, was to reinvent skin care for young consumers. “Even though young consumers are the most advanced consumers ever, when it comes to skin care, they’re still using exactly the same old-school stuff that I used as a teen and that my mom used as a teen,” she said.
Bubble’s research-driven approach formed the blueprint for the brand’s innovation funnel. “We created a community of 4,600 teens that were a part of every decision we made. They chose the brand name, they chose the experience, they chose the packaging, they chose the product names. Every decision we’ve ever made, they were a part of,” said Shai.
When it came to selecting a retail partner, Shai again used a research-forward process. “We conducted research to understand how they [consumers] view every retailer. One of the things we learned is that 58 percent of young consumers shop in big-box retailers for their skin care. The second thing we learned was that 41 percent of these consumers go to Walmart at least three to four times a month, and the average price point they’re looking to pay is $14 to $15,” she said.
Bubble’s latest product, the Day Dream Tone and Texture Serum, launched on their website on May 4 and was described by Shai as “the most affordable vitamin C serum in the industry.” The product retails for $15 for 30-ml and contains niacinamide, vitamin C, alpha arbutin, tranexamic acid, licorice root extract and plant-derived ceramides to refine and even skin tone.
Shai said that at the heart of the brand is a mental health initiative, which she can relate to on a deep level. “There’s a huge connection between your skin and mental health and confidence,” she said. The brand’s What’s On Your Face campaign invites people to consider how their habits, experiences, and emotions have an effect on their skin.
It’s all about supporting young consumers in their journey, said Shai. “What gets me excited in the morning is consumer feedback. That’s what really drives me.”