H20+ is on the move.
The maker of body and skin care products is moving to San Francisco from its long-time Chicago-based headquarters. A new office is looking to open in the third quarter of 2015, said Joy Chen, Chief Executive Officer of H20+.
The announcement ties in with the sale of H20+’s manufacturing facility to a commercial real estate firm, announced several weeks ago, which was adjacent to its corporate headquarters, also sold to the firm. Joy said the new focus of the company will be on marketing and sales and rebranding H20+ for early 2016.
“I really believe this is a sales and marketing focused company, not a manufacturing company, in addition to the economics that backs that decision,” said Joy, who joined H20+ six months ago from Yes To Inc. “I think for the beauty brand to grow profitably we need to innovate in R&D and also ramp up marketing to allow us to invest in the right places. The HQ move is secondary to the manufacturing change so that we can be on a different growth trajectory. This is a huge business model change for us.”
San Francisco proved to be an ideal place, Joy said, since it will bring the brand closer to the Asian market it serves so well, as well as to its Japan-based parent, Pola Orbis.
“What really attracted me to the brand is that I remember using the product when I was growing up and I loved it back then and then I realized I couldn’t find it that often anymore so I always wondered what happened to it. The second is I really liked the brand name. When I see the name I think there is a huge opportunity to take it to a place where it hasn’t been. To me the ‘plus’ means so much more than when it launched 26 years ago. It can mean so many cool emotional things, and we can tap into that.”
The move will affect more than 70 employees.
H20+’s largest retail partners are Ulta and Kohl’s. While rebranding is in the works, Joy said H20+ will remain premium but will better target Milennials. She is also evaluating whether its two retail stores will remain open.
“Years ago it was successful in capturing the consumer and I think over the course of its cycle it has become less relevant over time.”