Glow Recipe’s Growth Plans: The Skin Care Giant Looks Abroad

Glow Recipe is focused on expansion — and no categories or geographies are off limits.

The skin care brand founded by co-chief executive officers Sarah Lee and Christine Chang is driving growth by entering a slew of new markets, including Mexico with 38 Sephora doors; Colombia and Chile with 16 and 12 respective Blushbar locations, in addition to the 14 additional European markets since its Sephora France debut last year.

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That comes after a steep growth curve — the brand’s retail sales doubled to $300 million last year. The February launch of its Hue Drops, a tinted version of its hero Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Dew Drops, was the biggest in the brand’s history.

Though Glow Recipe declined to quantify sales, industry sources said the brand sold $300,000 worth of the product in its first day on the market.

Sephora Mexico CEO Dario Aguilar, Sarah Lee and Alfonso Waithsman.
Sephora Mexico CEO Dario Aguilar, Sarah Lee and Alfonso Waithsman.

“It’s our top sku in North America and also in key international markets,” Chang said of the launch. “Our community is once again willing to take this journey with us at every step, especially into this kind of product that is an evolution of what we’ve done previously, but very different.”

Lee expects that momentum to keep pace with other heroes, including the original Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Dew Drops and its accompanying Pore Tight Toner — both of which sell one unit every 12 seconds globally, as reported.

“We think Dew Drops and Watermelon Toner will always be our top two skus, but this will fall right under that,” Lee said. “This is our first complexion product, so we didn’t know how our audience would react to it. But it seems they understand our intention was to create a very sheer, serum base.”

“Our partners across the globe are shocked at how well this did. It surpassed every expectation globally,” Lee continued. To that end, the brand is upping the ante in Europe and entering Latin America — markets that are projected to reach a combined $50 million in sales for their first years, the brand said.

“In 2020, we entered Australia, the Middle East and the U.K., and though we’ve been focused on growing North America, we’ve been globally planning a slow rollout strategy in each market. We want to go narrow and deep in every market, then there’s a big splash and we have a 360-degree strategy with our retail partner. That way we ensure we have enough activation happening and enough storytelling.”

The growth in those initial markets is what’s given them the confidence to shoot wider. “North America is our strongest market, but our international markets are now growing a combined 85 percent year-over-year,” Lee said. “That’s more than double the growth rate of North America, and an incredible set given the size of our business now. It feels like Europe and Latin America are coming together at the same time, but this is a culmination of years taking our time to instill brand values.”

As reported, Ulta Beauty revealed last week it was also eyeing Latin America, which is culminating in an expansion into Mexico.

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