After three-plus years of working for the minimalist makeup brand that’s taken off like a rocket ship, Aila Morin has been promoted to CMO at Merit, a new role for the company. Prior to Merit, Morin was a driving force behind Mejuri as the jewelry company’s Director of Marketing and GTM. At Mejuri, Morin created the Diamonds for Your Damn Self campaign, and launched the brand into more than 30 countries.
Morin joined Merit in 2020, a year before it launched, collaborating with founder Katherine Power on all aspects of brand positioning, product strategy, and creative direction.
“We spent the better part of a year refining our formulas to make sure they were beautiful and easy to use, customizing our componentry and packaging so it felt luxurious yet practical, and perfecting the brand aesthetic and voice before we launched in January 2021,” Morin recalled.
In her new role, Morin will continue to lead the brand’s go-to-market strategy. She will also oversee key functions such as product development, creative direction, digital initiatives, and brand management.
Morin said she has been passionate about beauty since working at beauty counters throughout high school and college.
“I saw firsthand the gap between how the industry markets products and how people actually shop. It felt like translating the adjective-filled jumble of words on the side of a box into a simple description was half the job, yet still people were unsure of whether something was right for them,” Morin said. “Almost everyone I’d help would start with, ‘well, I don’t really wear makeup’ or ‘I don’t really know what I’m doing.’ Much of Merit’s emotional resonance is based on that feeling.”
Morin said one of her biggest priorities in her new role is to continue to grow the brand in an efficient way and to develop products that become meaningful to their community.
“One guiding principle is excellence and taking the long road; we will always do the hard thing if it benefits the brand experience. This means that we’re always listening to our community and thinking about how we can improve. For example, in 2022 Merit relaunched the Minimalist, our best-selling complexion stick, offering nearly double the amount of product at the same price. We could’ve left it on the shelf as-is, but we saw an opportunity to improve with economies of scale and passed that to our community.”
Currently, Merit’s sales are evenly split between DTC and retail, highly unusual as the industry standard is closer to 30% online sales. Their secret? Investing in unique experiences on its owned e-commerce as well as growing its retail partnerships at the same time.
“High value gifts drive more repeat sales than a net-new product on our site because our community knows our focus on quality extends to everything we do,” Morin said.
Looking forward, Morin remains committed to developing a data-backed, return on ad spend-centric approach to hypergrowth scaling, complemented with campaigns that actually make the consumer feel something.
“Everything I’ve done has been through a sociological lens and challenged industry’s norms. The key is understanding not just what consumers want but also how they want to feel.”