Does the world need another beauty e-commerce site? Dara Kennedy, a Harvard MBA and full-on skin care junkie, thinks so. Dara worked in beauty for a good chunk of her career before becoming an entrepreneur. She worked at Interbrand, was on the founding team of Living Proof, helped Marcia Kilgore launch Soap & Glory Cosmetics, and launched four product lines for Elizabeth Arden. So she knows the market well.
Her site, Ayla, will have a soft launch this Monday, February 7. The focus is entirely skin care. Dara is a certified yoga instructor and passionate about natural products. However, she also puts efficacy high on the priority list. “Sometimes the naturals work and sometimes they don’t,” she told me. Therefore, you’ll find naturals and organics next to clinical formulas that are still safe.
At launch, the site will offer Luzern, Peter Thomas Roth, Naturopathica, and the UK’s The Organic Pharmacy--which is an online exclusive for Ayla and quite a coup for the site--among others.
Beauty sites need to distinguish themselves these days, and Ayla will do that by offering holistic health, nutrition, and skin care advice from a multitude of professionals including dermatologists, nutritionists, and a facialist. Expect content about acne, anti-aging, and men’s skin care issues.
Dara also recognizes that a lot of skin care is pretty expensive. For the more popular products, there will be mini sizes available to buy as a trial. Additionally, when you fill out a questionnaire, you’ll get suggestions for products that are appropriate for your skin type, and sample kits will be offered for $15 (paying for samples a la Birchbox seems to be the direction things are going now).
Ayla will be tightly curated, and two to three more lines will be added in the spring. Care cards containing tidbits of information like recipes for homemade facials, inspirational quotes, and skin care tips will come with each order. Live help will be offered, and many of the women who you’ll speak to are mothers with an interest in holistic health trying to on-ramp back into the work force; Dara wanted to provide opportunities for these women. “They’re all so calming to speak to, too,” she told me.
Safe skin care, professional guidance, and a bunch of calm moms to give advice? Sounds perfect.