Breaking into the world of skincare is a huge endeavor. Building a skincare brand that stands out to consumers and retailers alike is even more so. Spinster Sisters Co. was able to do both, with what started as a hobby and turned into a cult-like skincare brand selling products in retailers across the country. In this Supplier Spotlight, we hear from Kelly Perkins, CEO and Founder of Spinster Sisters, on how she turned her passion for soap making into a multi-product line business that caught the attention of several retailers on RangeMe. From creating a brand with a personality to adapting to hurdles, Kelly shares the journey of Spinster Sisters and her secrets to success on RangeMe.
The origin of Spinster Sisters, Inc.
Wanting to avoid toxic chemicals in her own skincare products and use ingredients she recognized, Kelly started making soaps in her spare time back in 2012. Her hobby quickly grew from making these soaps for friends and family to selling her products in independent retail stores around Golden, Colorado.
From the get-go, Kelly built her brand on the mission of living sustainably and authentically with the greater good of encouraging healthy living and greater wellness. This mission begins with each product being crafted in a facility powered by renewable energy and only using ecologically sound ingredients, procedures, and packaging.
“We chose to formulate with simple, easily recognizable natural ingredients. We use all-natural, minimally processed, plant-based oils, fair-trade butters, restorative natural botanicals, vitamins, and minerals for maximum potency,” explains Kelly.
Spinster Sisters’ original soap bars have been a classic and bestseller. Since launching, Kelly has introduced several new product lines, including face care, bath and body care, shaving, aromatherapy, personal care, CBD, and lifestyle products such as room sprays and candles with melted wax that can be applied as a moisturizer. Each product in the lineup is sulfate-, phthalate-, and paraben-free. And when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, they saw a new opportunity to introduce gentle hand sanitizer and face mask sprays to help keep their customers healthy.
Standing out through branding, simple ingredients, and certifications
When it comes to creating an all-star, cult-favorite, inspiring and inviting product, it all starts with branding. And despite being told not to judge a book cover, and in this case, brand by its packaging, it’s the first thing a consumer sees when they’re browsing products on store shelves and online, so it’s very much important. For Spinster Sisters, Kelly knew she needed to do something disruptive, especially in such a highly competitive industry. She decided to focus on her branding, from the distinctive name to the logo, packaging, and marketing.
“Our branding is disruptive,” says Kelly. “A lot of brands have made this shift towards minimalist branding, and we decided to go the other direction and be design-forward to stand out from the competition.” That strategy is visible through their vintage-inspired packaging and designs.
On the product level, each ingredient in each product is easily identifiable. The company values being transparent about ingredients so consumers know exactly what they are putting on their bodies and know it’s safe.
To ensure each product remains high-quality and the right ingredients are included, Spinster Sisters manufactures everything in-house, which has helped carry them through the pandemic. Kelly and her team are socially conscious and intentional when it comes to each element of the brand. To strengthen their mission and validate their claims, Spinster Sisters has achieved the following certifications for their brand and products; Rainforest Alliance, Palm Done Right, Climate Collaborative, PETA Cruelty-Free, Leaping Bunny, Woman-Owned Business. They are also currently in the final stages of achieving the Certified B Corporation and Environment Working Group certification.
Connecting with retailers on and off RangeMe
Spinster Sisters started their journey into retail with gift shops and spas. However, their core positioning of sustainability and clean ingredients didn’t resonate with gift shoppers at the time. When expanding their retail presence became a stronger need, Kelly decided to tap into the natural grocery segment right before attending Natural Products Expo West in 2019. This path proved to be the right move, as the partnerships flooded in after the tradeshow, and Spinster Sisters is now selling in over 1,900 retail stores across the country.
Another major contribution to Spinster Sisters’ success was joining RangeMe and getting their brand verified. Since joining, Spinster Sisters has connected with several retailers and distributors with whom they have subsequently gone on to conduct business, including Whole Foods Market, HEB, Spark, Fruitful Yield, King Soopers, and more.
“We feel strongly that working with partners that share our core values is important and through RangeMe, we have been able to connect with those types of like-minded business partners,” says Kelly. “Anyone who works in the CPG industry knows there are many ups and downs along the way. We have greatly enjoyed working with our retail and distribution partners. We are grateful for the opportunity to offer our products to their customers and continue building new partnerships on RangeMe.”
Big plans ahead
Spinster Sisters has big plans for the upcoming year as the Kickfurther Pitch Slam Grand Prize Winner. Kelly plans to expand Spinster Sisters’ presence in the natural channel, continue growing their partnerships with large retail chains, and build on their direct-to-consumer channel.
As parting advice to other suppliers in the consumer packaged goods industry, Kelly shares, “Try to be innovative, whenever you can, it’s easy to stick with what’s working and stay with the status quo so be open to new opportunities and stay at the cutting edge. In the long run, it pays off.”