Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown can now add “beauty entrepreneur” to her resume. The 15-year-old Emmy nominee announced her skincare and makeup line—Florence by Mills—on Instagram this morning, making her the latest in a long line of celebrities to launch beauty brands. However, she’s aiming to set hers apart by marketing specifically to a Gen Z audience.
Packaged in lavender and matte-finish plastic, the products have names like Zero Chill Face Mist, Look Alive Eye Balm, and Dreamy Dew Moisturizer—all printed in a sans-serif font. A post in @FlorenceByMills’ Instagram Stories gives visitors the option to subscribe to text-message alerts regarding the brand, whose products range from $10 to $34. In the U.S., the line will be available direct-to-consumer online and in the U.K., it will be sold at drugstore Boots.
The name Florence comes from Brown’s great-grandmother. “I felt like a brand about individuality and bravery and being truthful should be named after somebody who was all of those things,” she told WWD.
By Gen Z, for Gen Z
Millie Bobby Brown made her Stranger Things debut on Netflix in 2016, as the telekinetic preteen Eleven. Since becoming a household name, Brown has emerged as one of the advertising industry’s chosen spokespeople for her generation. She is UNICEF’s youngest-ever Goodwill Ambassador, has collaborated with brands like Converse, and appears in ad campaigns for Pandora, Calvin Klein, and Moncler.
“I’ve been in a make-up chair since I was 10, 11 years old, and I have really been introduced to all types of products,” she told WWD. “I’ve had special effects on my face, blood, all different types of foundation…I wanted to come into the space because there was a gap in the market for young people.”
In a promotional Instagram video for the line, the actress dances around a set with a group of girls trying out skincare products and makeup like a sparkly pink face mask and lip gloss. “What I want my beauty brand to represent is individuality and embrace who you are,” she says in the video. “All I know is I want you to feel yourself.”
Such Gen Z consumers want to patronize brands that evoke some greater meaning, according to Kantar Consulting’s Purpose 2020 report. “Looking to the future, almost two-thirds of millennials and centennials, who are fast becoming the economic engine, express a preference for brands that have a point of view and stand for something,” Kantar concludes.
To that end, Florence by Mills will be PETA-certified, vegan, and cruelty-free, and a percentage of the profits will go to the Olivia Hope Foundation, named for Brown’s late friend Olivia Hope LoRusso.
Celebrity beauty brands abound
In recent years, numerous celebrities have gotten into the beauty business—there’s Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop, Kylie Jenner’s Kylie Cosmetics, and Rhianna’s Fenty Beauty. Lady Gaga, whose Haus Laboratories brand launches on Amazon in September, is the most high-profile newcomer. According to WWD, Selena Gomez’s production company July Moon Productions filed a trademark for “Selena Gomez” for “fragrances, cosmetics, skin-care preparations, hair-care preparations, soaps, moisturizers and essential oils.”
Ciara, too, has plans to join the industry. “The beauty space is inevitable for me,” she said at Beautycon L.A. earlier this month. “
Brown has enlisted a company called Beach House Group to produce and manage her beauty line, taking a cue from Kendall Jenner and Pretty Little Liars alum Shay Mitchell, according to Fashionista.
Beach House is among beauty incubators helping celebrities or entertainment brands launch beauty lines. HipDot, behind the SpongeBob cosmetics, is one of the latest additions. LMVH, which produced Rhianna’s Fenty Beauty, has an in-house beauty incubator called Kendo.
Dustin Cash, co-founder of the beauty incubator SOS Beauty, told Business of Fashion it can take between $3 million and $7 million to launch a prestige beauty brand for the first few years.
Celebrity beauty lines don’t always work out, and it often comes down to the influence of the celebrity, according to BoF. Eva Mendes’ Walgreens line Circa was discontinued in 2018, two years after it launched.
Of the successful lines, Kylie’s influence has been tangible. “We noticed a significant increase in influencer and celebrity requests once Kylie Cosmetics was launched,” said Scott Kestenbaum, senior vice president at Maesa, which developed lines for Drew Barrymore and hairstylist/influencer Kristin Ess. “It has become almost a full-time job to field incoming inquiries.”
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