With new beauty products releasing at lightning speed, it can be hard to figure out what will actually help you achieve your makeup and skincare goals. Many of us have excitedly bought a new foundation or cleanser, only to be disappointed in how they perform once applied. This far-too-common cycle of product trial and error can be frustrating and, more importantly, expensive. Sure, we can turn to YouTube reviews or friends for tips on what to buy. But, often, we need more tailored information to make the best purchase decision.
As beauty enthusiasts, we've wished for a singular platform that boasts product reviews organized by skin concerns, swatches, affordable dupe recommendations, and insight from experts. Brandefy is the answer to our prayers, marrying all of these components into a single app. Launched in 2018, Meg Pryde created the digital beauty hub to make it easier to discover the best products for your makeup and skincare budget. Ahead, Pryde opens up about building Brandefy and the importance of value-based shopping in beauty.
What inspired you to launch Brandefy?
I started my career in marketing, working for a massive company that made thousands of different products. I learned early on that differentiation had a lot to do with marketing, and I found that frustrating. So, I became obsessed with consumer transparency and how technology could create more opportunities for consumers to get the correct information at the right time. It came down to a moment when I bought a bad product that I couldn't find reviews for. I wondered, why didn't someone warn me? And that's how Brandefy was born. By helping people make better decisions before they buy, consumers will have fewer products in their beauty graveyard and, ultimately, happier, healthier skin.
What has the journey been like building Brandefy? How have you pivoted or adapted your vision for Brandefy along the way?
It has been a wild ride. I never set out to build anything disruptive, but it turns out that's just what consumers wanted and needed at this moment. More transparency shouldn't be radical or disruptive, but in the beauty industry, it is. Not everyone supports our mission, and often we come across people who have been in beauty for a long time used to doing things in a certain way.
My job is to ask why and do it in a way that best serves our community, which can ruffle some feathers. Still, I'm so lucky that I've found partners with deep expertise who believe in our mission of helping people make the best, informed decisions.
In March 2018, I wrote the following note on my phone: "I'm flying from Austin to Richmond, and I just downloaded the beta [Brandefy app]. I've never been prouder of something I've created or been a part of. We've created value through this small piece of technology. I can't wait to get it into the hands of the people who want to test it, and I can't wait to let it become much larger than it is now. It's going to change the world and make a difference in people's lives. I am so proud of our team."
How can users engage with the app? What are they able to do in the app?
We launched a partnership with four amazing dermatologists (Dr. Elyse Love, Dr. Dylan Greeney, Dr. Jenny Liu, and Dr. Nina Desai). They answer our community's frequently asked questions and recommend over-the-counter products. You can see this on our home page. It fits very much with our mission to make great skincare more accessible.
Our community loves exploring and finding affordable, cruelty-free alternatives, and they ask lots of questions. I love seeing someone get recommendations on what primer to wear on their wedding day or how to get a sharp eyeliner look. Many of us do not have family members that are into beauty or skincare, so the Brandefy app fills that gap. Our iPhone and Android apps are free (Android is launching September 24.)
What has been the most rewarding part of building Brandefy?
Seeing my team members grow. It is so rewarding witnessing recent graduates operating at a high level and achieving impressive milestones. Secondly, getting a peek at what's behind the closed doors of the beauty industry. It makes me more passionate about bringing transparency to our community. Lastly, seeing the difference that we make for people. For example, one consumer said, "[The app has] motivated me to start taking care of my skin." We get these kinds of love letters every day, and that's what keeps me going.
What updates or new features can we expect from Brandefy in the coming months? What are your hopes for Brandefy in the coming years?
I'm excited about the launch of our skincare line, Skincall. We've spent so much time finding the right chemists and creating formulations that consumers love. Our first serum just launched, and the response has been overwhelming. We didn't set out to establish a skincare line from the beginning, but it became apparent when our community continually asked us for products that didn't exist.
Secondly, I can't wait to see us move into values-based shopping. I care a lot about whether something is cruelty-free (and we already capture this data in our app), who makes the product, and its environmental impact. I've learned the beauty industry is far behind from this perspective, and I think the industry is putting a band-aid on the problem versus addressing the root cause. I am excited to see where we can help shoppers purchase products that align with their values.
What are some of the current fall/winter beauty trends you're noticing based on searches in the app?
- There's a considerable uptick in searches for makeup. The top three searched brands are makeup brands (earlier this year, they were skincare brands).
- People are heavily searching for tinted products (whether it's tinted SPF or moisturizer). The no-makeup makeup look and skincare/makeup hybrid products continue to prevail.
- Vitamin C and retinol are still the most searched ingredients.
- Cream is one of the top 10 most searched terms. People like products (like blush and bronzer) in the cream form right now.
- People are also looking for repairing moisturizers.