PARIS — Routinely, a direct-to-consumer, tech-enabled personalized skin care brand, launches today, backed by Beiersdorf AG and 9.5 Ventures.
“What sets us apart is that we look at skin in all its glory and its changing nature,” Charlotte Van Loock, a cofounder and chief marketing officer of the Belgian-Dutch start-up, told WWD.
The brand is coming to market with 13 serums and a digital application giving users a daily skin-care routine that reflects their ever-changing lifestyles.
Routinely started like this: Van Loock — who began her career at L’Oréal — found herself both excited by skin care but also, more recently, unable to find the right products for her own use.
“I stopped buying skin care because I didn’t really know who to listen to, where to go, what to believe,” she said. “I was looking for people I could trust and make sense of all the noise that’s out there. It’s become a very crowded space nowadays.”
The executive also realized that personalization at scale — which exists in other industries, such as Spotify in music and Netflix in entertainment — was lacking in the skin care category.
“That’s where I saw an opportunity,” explained Van Loock, who contacted 9.5 Ventures that serendipitously had been in touch with Beiersdorf, which was already interested in personalized skin care. “We decided to launch Routinely together. So both 9.5 Ventures and Beiersdorf have really been part of this story from the very beginning.”
That was last September, and now Beiersdorf and 9.5 Ventures are Routinely’s two main investors.
Van Loock and her cofounders Damien Poelhekke and Dick De Leeuw, Routinely’s chief executive officer and chief technology officer, respectively, can tap into Beiersdorf’s expertise in skin care, including its research-and-development team, to help build the intelligence behind their brand, and access 9.5 Venture’s broad network.
Routinely, with its clean, unisex products, operates as an independent company. All of its suppliers are based in Europe.
The serums are conceived in a Swiss R&D lab, and each one has a lead active ingredient. These range from niacinamide, hyaluronic acid and retinol to reishi fungus, bakuchiol and pumpkin enzymes.
Routinely’s app, which asks users questions about their skin, lifestyle and environmental factors, employs an advanced algorithm that was created with a panel of experts, including scientists, dermatologists and consumers.
The name Routinely stems from the word “routine.”
“But more from the idea of routines as a series of steps that keeps you grounded,” said Van Loock, adding that skin care — especially serums — needs a routine, consistent use in order to produce results. “Then we turned from ‘routine’ to Routinely because of the more dynamic nature that we envision from both life and skin.”
She wanted to launch Routinely with serums because she deems them to be the purest and most potent form of skin care.
“And given that we are about giving your skin exactly what it needs, with serums we can be really precise in dosage, in percentages,” continued Van Loock, of the products that are water-weight, fast-absorbing and easy to layer.
“We wanted to keep it modular and transparent, so we could play with the dosages,” she said.
People are meant to use Routinely as part of their skin care regimen.
“We see it as an addition that supercharges your routine,” she said.
Each 25-ml. serum goes for 29.90 euros. Van Loock emphasizes the importance of accessibility for the brand on many levels.
Feedback forums will help Routinely executives to understand what works or doesn’t for someone and why, “so we become even smarter collectively and even better in our recommendations going forward,” she said.
Sustainability is key to the brand, which emphasizes transparency along with inclusivity and efficacy. Routinely’s bottles are of glass with removable labels to optimize the recycling process, and product orders are shipped in recycled cardboard.
Routinely officially launches on Wednesday with a focus on Belgium and the Netherlands, but it can serve Europe, except for the U.K., from the start.
The brand will keep expanding geographically and add more skin care products.
Venture capital fund 9.5 Ventures is independent and Belgium-based.
Beiersdorf invests in companies through its Oscar & Paul Beiersdorf Venture Capital unit.
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