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Hailey Bieber looks to beat beauty brand fatigue with Rhode label

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Jun 30, 2023

Hailey Bieber has grand plans for her skin-care label, Rhode, aiming to stand out in an increasingly crowded field of celebrity brands.

Hailey Bieber

“I want to be everywhere possible,” said the fashion model turned entrepreneur, who sat down for an interview on Bloomberg Originals’ The Circuit With Emily Chang. “It just takes strategy and planning. I want it to go into different territories and different places and to be able to have the inventory we need to do that.”

Rhode, which launched last year, has been entering new markets as management plots expansion abroad. The brand made its debut in Canada earlier this year, and the company looks to take the selection of lip treatments and skin moisturizing creams to the UK next.

During Rhode’s early days, products would be tough to purchase because they’d sell out so quickly, leaving some shoppers frustrated. That scarcity wasn’t part of some marketing master plan, Bieber said. Sales just exceeded the company’s forecasts.

“We did as much demand planning as we could for what we were projecting was going to be the feedback and the popularity,” said Bieber, who serves as the creative director of Rhode and works on packaging, photo shoots and marketing. She said she’s also involved in developing and testing the formulas and managing the product pipeline.

Celebrity beauty brands have proliferated in recent years, with names ranging from Gwen Stefani to Winnie Harlow to John Legend all starting their own businesses. And the world’s cosmetics giants have kept a close eye on this segment of the industry. In 2019, Coty Inc. acquired a majority stake in Kylie Jenner’s label Kylie Cosmetics for $600 million, then bought 20% of Kim Kardashian’s brand, now called SKKN BY KIM, for $200 million. 

“I do feel like people had a fatigue of celebrity beauty brands,” said Bieber, who hopes Rhode can stand alone without her name attached to it. “I felt like when I announced the brand, of course there was people that were like, ‘Oh, here we go, here’s another one.’ And I’m like, ‘I get that. I understand.’ But this is my approach, and it is different.”

Bieber said she’s interested in adding more product categories to Rhode. She sees herself having kids and would consider adding baby products one day as she enters a different stage in her life.

It’s been a busy year for Bieber, who — along with husband Justin — is a perpetual feature in the tabloids. Hailey Bieber, whose father is actor Stephen Baldwin, wore a “Nepo Baby” T-shirt in January that had both fans and haters buzzing. (She decided to call herself a nepo baby to acknowledge that she is one: “There’s never any winning with the internet.”) Then came a controversy on TikTok over suspected tension between Bieber and Selena Gomez.

“I don’t think that this is about me, Hailey Bieber, and Selena Gomez — this pitting between two women and division between two women,” Bieber said. “It’s about the vile, disgusting hatred that can come from completely made-up and twisted and perpetuated narratives. That can be really dangerous.”

Last year, Bieber trademarked the name Moodboard, protecting the name in various clothing categories and fueling speculation that she was starting a fashion label. She said an apparel brand is not “at the front” for her right now, but a recent collaboration with New York label Wardrobe has reawakened that desire.

“I wanted to nail that down and have it on the back burner,” Bieber said. “It may never come to life. It may be for something else, who knows. I’d had that name in my mind for a long time.”

As for Rhode, the company isn’t looking for additional funding at this point, but Bieber is open to the possibility. She wants to retain as much of the company as possible as it grows.

For now, Bieber said she’s busy focusing on the business itself, rather than an eventual sale or initial public offering. That includes working on the release of upcoming products and entry into new markets.

An exit is “kind of looming in the background,” said Bieber. “But I just don’t even know what that looks like yet.”

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