There’s a myth behind the name Drunk Elephant. Rumor has it that elephants love to eat the fallen fruit from South Africa’s marula trees. Once ingested, fermentation occurs inside their stomachs and the mammoth gray-trunked pachyderms become drunk. Their skin gets healthier, too…less wrinkled and smoother. “I’m not sure that’s true,” said founder Tiffany Masterson, a Texas native and mother of four who started the skincare company, Drunk Elephant, last November, “but I can tell you our products are extremely effective and successful on people.”
Tiffany, who has worked in many areas of the beauty industry, was importing and selling the Wonderbar, a cleansing bar from Malaysia in 2009 when she had a revelation. “I was reaching out to editors and dermatologists and the product wasn’t doing very well because it was too expensive and the margin was too low. But I did learn an enormous amount about ingredients,” Tiffany admitted. “What was most fascinating was understanding why a product worked. It wasn’t what was in the bar, but what was missing from it – fragrances, essential oils, chemicals.”
Thus, a new category was created: the non-toxic product. “We’re not all natural, we’re not all organic. Drunk Elephant, however, is clinical in our effectiveness and non-toxic in formulation, and that’s a new category that didn’t exist before, which is extremely exciting,” she said. She went on to highlight how people assume all natural or organic means good for you, which isn’t always the case. “These products are very results-oriented and successful and we can compete with the effectiveness of some of the top products out there,” she added.
The products took two years to develop, and additional ones are forthcoming, including an eye serum, the most requested product from customers. The first item was the JuJu Bar, $32, a multi-tasking cleansing bar which contains thermal mud, 20% glycerin and bamboo powder. The Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil, $72, which comes straight from the “pip” of the marula fruit, has become the second product to garner popularity. Virtually untouched by any chemical or fragrance, the product reduces the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, redness and blotchiness, while adding elasticity. Other items include; C-Firma Day Serum, $80, T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum, $90, which contains 12% glycolic serum, horse chestnut and bearberry and white tea which help to calm, brighten and protect the skin.
Though design and web work are done in Texas, packaging, product development and formulation is handled in Los Angles where the labs, manufacturing team and chemist reside.
Presently, the company is privately owned thanks to a few independent backers. Since the launch, Drunk Elephant has seen a 30% to 40% growth per month, with an estimation of $500,000 to $750,000 in sales for the first year. “We’re talking to some game changing partners, and if we decide to move forward with them, then those numbers will clearly increase,” Tiffany added. Aside from the website, products can be found on anthropology.com where they are sold with other notable independent brands. “We’re starting to reach out to retailers along with department stores and beauty chains, like Sephora and Ulta,” she added.