How I built this
October 11, 2019
The Beached Founder series with Meg Gordon
When I tell someone I’m the Founder of a beauty brand, unsurprisingly their first question is often “have you always been into beauty?” They’re then very shocked to hear me reply “not at all and I’m still not really.” But then, that’s whole point of Beached.
Beached is an anti-beauty beauty brand. We’re anti-contouring, anti-fuss, anti-time wasting and pro all things natural. We’re here to liberate women from beauty regimes – an approach that thrives in beach culture, but doesn’t always translate through to everyday life. We want to change that.
How did I come up with the idea for Beached?
I was brought up in a beach town in Australia. With two brothers, I was somewhat of a tomboy and lived a very outdoorsy, sporty lifestyle, which I loved.
Like most Aussies, I love to travel, so I moved to London over five years ago and started working at Barclaycard, where I spent three great years and met my now husband. It was here that I came up with the idea for Beached after a trip back home.
While sitting on my local beach I couldn’t help but notice how care-free and effortlessly beautiful the women were. It stood out to me like never before as I had become used to seeing women more made up in the UK. It’s then that I felt compelled to start a beauty brand that empowered women to embrace a more natural look through unfussy, yet high-performing natural products. To be clear, Beached isn’t about changing beauty, it’s about changing our approach to beauty. I don’t want women to feel they need to be made up in order to go about their day.
What did I do first?
I left my job at Barclaycard and spent the summer of 2017 researching, finding suppliers and putting together a business plan. As mentioned before, I’ve never really had an interest in beauty, nor did I know the industry, so this phase was crucial. I quickly realised I was going to need investment if it was going to be the brand I had envisioned it to be. So, I took on a part-time contract while I put together a Board and then found investors for a seed round. I’m a sole Founder, but it’s never been a solo journey, and my Board have been fundamental to getting Beached off the ground. I’d recommend any founders, especially those going it on their own, to build a strong team around them as it can be a lonely journey at times.
Money’s in. Where to next?
This phase was all about gearing the business for launch and, in its simplest form, it really had two parts – product and brand development. We finalised the formulations for the launch range, carried out extensive testing and then put them into production. This is actually much more complicated than it sounds – never underestimate the amount of work that goes into getting a product onto a shelf and how hard it is to find reliable suppliers/partners!
You’ll probably be shocked at my honesty here, but the beauty industry is a brand play. Pure and simple. The cost of packaging and marketing a product far outweighs the cost of the formula itself. It’s quite shocking at how the packaging is more often than not what sells the product. Unlike most brands, we’ve chosen to turn this on its head by investing in quality formulas over excess, luxury packaging. This was an easy decision as a) I wanted customers to get the best-possible products, and b) I’m passionate about reducing unnecessary waste. In saying this, we put a lot of time and effort into developing a unique brand. We don’t play by the beauty norms of “millennial pink” or brown bottles to indicate a product is “natural”. We use bold, gender-neutral colours to both empower and make natural products more mainstream and fun.
Once this was done, our focus turned towards gearing for launch ahead of summer 2019. This was the fun bit – developing our social strategy, working with influencers, coming up with advert creative, pitching to journalists…the list goes on.
Biggest lessons learnt while building Beached?
1.Things take twice as long and cost twice as much as you think they will.
2. You’ll get knock-backs and some people won’t buy into your vision, but that’s okay. You’ll learn from it and it’s all part of the journey.
3. This one is for the fellow perfectionists out there – things are never perfect, and our Chair, Tracy De Groose, advised me early on I should set my pass mark at 85%. It was a game-changing piece of advice that I still follow to this day.
How did launch go?
You’ll have to keep your eyes peeled for my next blog to find out.