A brand praised for its innovation, purse-friendly price point and results-driven products, Indeed Labs is the skin care brand that has gone from strength to strength since launching only a few years ago.
Starting with an idea to create a product that provided a dose of camera-ready trickery and optical mastery in the same way a filter would, the range of products address a need amongst the beauty masses to look great with minimal effort, but maximum reward (all without breaking the bank too of course). We caught up with Dia Foley, Indeed Labs’ Vice President for Sales and Marketing to talk about the journey to its success. With more than 20 years of communications and brand management in the cosmetics industry, a passion for beauty and a wealth of experience to draw from having working with L’Oréal, Christian Dior and Lancôme, it’s easy to see why she and the brand have cultivated such a firm understanding of what women not only need, but actually want out of their skin care .
From its conception to its ethos, the company’s branding and plans for the future, we found out what it takes to turn a vision into reality and stand out in a market that is more saturated than ever.
GTG: How did Indeed Labs begin?
DF: In 2009, I was getting ready for a TV appearance for another brand and was thinking about high definition and how it really emphasises all of your crevices and imperfections. I caught myself in the camera and saw every wrinkle - each was much more exaggerated and seemed a lot worse than it actually was. I asked the cameraman if he could put a filter on the lens and joked about using Vaseline. He looked at me like I was mad!
When I went off stage I was talking to my team and said wouldn’t it be great if we could take the effect of a filter on a camera and put it in a product, like the ones they used to have in Joan Crawford movies. So then came Nanoblur , which was the first product we brought to market. We wanted to make a hybrid between a product that delivered instant results and skin care. Women really liked the product because it actually did what it said it was going to do.
We got feedback from women across the world and found out the factors that frustrated them most were cost, products not doing what they said they would do and endorsements by celebrities with no actual authority behind the product. So we developed products that were simply about good quality ingredients, high actives and cute packaging that were easy to use. It’s not about a regime - we’re not a regime brand, instead we say to use a particular product to target any primary concerns you have such as brightness, dehydration etc. which you can insert into your regime without over-complicating it.
GTG: How would you describe the brand’s ethos and how is that reflected in your products?
DF: We spend a lot of time talking to not just our science department, but also women via focus groups globally. I travel extensively and I find everyone has the same concerns. We see ourselves like Apple, upgrading our products and not sticking with a product for 20 years as everything’s evolving so quickly.
We also spend a lot of time looking for actives or ingredients or for delivery systems that are interesting, packaging...it’s all about day to day living and talking to women about their key concerns whether its volume loss or dehydration. At the end of the day, we know what we can work with and what our skin is capable of doing in a realistic way, so we look to how we can make our products the easiest to use and how to get the best out of them. It’s all about upgrading the ingredients.
GTG: Which are the brand’s hero products? Why have they proven so popular in your opinion?
DF: Nanoblur really put us on the market. We were the first company to talk about ‘blurring’ or products that give that optical finish.
Women asked to see some results and they got that with Nanoblur, so that really was the hero product for us. Shortly after that, we launched Hydraluron which is dedicated to hydration. What differentiates it from other products on the market though, is the quality of the ingredients. In this business, you can’t take anything at face value, you have to look at the concentration and the kinds of ingredients used. That’s why people have embraced Hydraluron. It has great science behind it, does what it says it will do and people were actually seeing results. That’s important to us.
A lot of us aren’t consistent as users of products, we cast them off and so when you do see results, you feel much more confident about using them. There’s an expectation we try to live up to especially when it comes to skin care, as it’s a market where there’s so much saturation and it’s full of outrageous claims. Therefore, if people find something that delivers, it ends up getting a cult following.
GTG: What do you attribute the company’s and your success to?
DF: I think it goes back to sticking to who we are and being very honest and direct. We don’t rely on celebrity endorsements, it’s more on people telling their peers that our products actually work and the results are real. The products also look different to other brands in their categories.
We address skin concerns one issue at a time. We’re not promising anything unrealistic or saying that they’ll change your life, but we source the best ingredients and make them accessible to all customers without the ‘vanity jars.’ It’s about really good products and incorporating ingredients at their highest levels. For a while, people weren’t used to that. People associate an expensive product to it working better. It’s a new age and we’re changing the playing field.
I love speaking to women about their journeys. We’re different in so many ways but the same too. We have a common ground. We talk about raising our children, divorces and the key values we have. I believe in honesty. I consider myself not necessarily a sheep. It’s an industry where it’s easy to follow the leader. It’s about pushing back a bit, saying ‘Ok, it’s getting a bit ridiculous now,’ being a spokesperson to women, saying there are other options out there and questioning whether you are actually getting the best results from the ones you’re using now.
Women are universal and that’s what I try to bring to the brand. It’s really fun and it’s allowed me to have a voice and try to shake up the norm that we’re used to in the industry through the colour of the products so they stand out on the shelves, the fact that they’re not priced expensively and that we don’t not really do a skin regime as such.
GTG: When it comes to branding and making your brand distinctive, what are the key things that you bear in mind?
In an industry that is so saturated, it’s hard for the consumer to navigate so it’s important that a brand tells a story. Even just through colour to begin with to show we have a playful side to accompany the serious results. It’s an opportunity to talk about who we are and to not be so traditional.
We’re about efficacy in a little tube. The products lend themselves to a problem solution approach. In our claims, we try to be clear about who we are whether that be moisture boosting, brightness and so on.
The price point is part of our personality and is the core of the brand. We don’t invest heavily in celebrities or jars and outer packaging. We keep it very simple and clean in simple tubes. I think it looks a lot more modern and fits in with women’s day to day lives which are a lot more fast-paced. It’s designed to be a simple tube that you can put into your bag and travel with, not to be a vanity ornament.
The jar isn’t as important. I would say spend money on what shows. Skin care wants products that deliver efficacy and not huge marketing campaigns and billboards. We rely heavily on people telling others about the products, so it always comes back to their efficacy. Products sell once people have tried them rather than these huge advertising campaigns where ultimately people end up disappointed. We’d rather spend money on the products.
GTG: What to you makes great skin care?
DF: For consumers I have to say to take a whole lifestyle approach, not just a quick fix. There is a commitment. I’m a stickler for staying consistent with products. Keep your products by your toothbrush. Wash your face and add a good serum, retinol or further hydration. Approach it like dieting and don’t make radical changes.
I’m a big believer in exfoliating. If you don’t unclog those pores, the products won’t work and penetrate where they should and your makeup won’t look as good either. We spend a lot of time in the day doing insignificant things - if you allow just 10 minutes a day to do this, it’s amazing what it can achieve.
Try and get good sleep as that is when skin regenerates itself. Stay out of the sun and use a good sunscreen - but reapply it through the course of the day.
I know it sounds crazy, but I’m a big believer in laughter. I’m a big Mrs Brown’s Boys fan and am a bit of a BBC junkie. It started back in the day with Ab Fab. Don’t take everything so seriously. Be experimental within reason and keep it simple and then stick to it.
Drink lots of water and try to be as healthy as you can by thinking about what you’re put into your mouth every day.
GTG: What are the beauty products you couldn’t live without?
DF: I am a massive concealer junkie. I think everybody can use concealer when they’ve had little sleep and look amazing. I can’t live without mascara. I was with L’Oréal for 10 years and spent a lot of time trying different products from the least to the most expensive. I use L’Oréal Voluminous Mascara in Black , and YSL Touche Éclat concealer for a bit of highlight. As I’m a Canada girl, I use MAC. I used it back in the late 70s and early 80s. I’m really glad to see a Canadian brand gain a global presence and become one which allows you to be creative and fun in terms of colour.
I’m also addicted to Hydraluron, (I promise I’m not just saying that!). I travel a lot and going from hot to cold, my skin gets really dry and can really show the signs of ageing when its dehydrated. I don’t go anywhere without good old Vaseline on my lips when I travel too. I carry it for everything - cuticles, lips...it’s one of those go-to products I can’t live without.
GTG: How would you describe the brand’s approach and attitude towards ageing?
DF: At the event that we did with Get The Gloss , I was speaking to women in their early 20s and they were talking to me about lines and it showed me how much more aware of ageing we are now as we now have so much information about it and on prevention. All of our products are targeted towards prevention. Whatever our age, we all have a common goal, so we develop products from a preventative and corrective standpoint. Hydrating the skin is ageless.
That’s what’s so beneficial for younger women now. They have the opportunity to prevent some of the things we as older women didn’t - the risks associated to sun exposure, diet, lifestyle and sleep. It’s great we’re talking about it.
It’s about confidence and the way you feel rather than the way you look. If you know you’ve done everything you can to look good in your own skin, it shows. It’s also about continuity and doing little things everyday such as cleansing, adding a sun protectant and looking after your spirit and not taking it so seriously.
GTG: What to you is still lacking in the beauty business?
DF: Women need to believe in themselves more and not necessarily what a cosmetics company is telling them. We need to take ownership and challenge the industry as best we can. We’re in a better position now than we were though. There are more opportunities coming and people clearly want products that are more instant and not invasive, but that get good results. It will be interesting to see how it evolves in years to come, for example, can we find something for botox to make it topical and accessible instead? It’s exciting as we haven’t seen this amount of growth in science before, so I’m looking forward to seeing what happens.
From our customers, I hope they push back. We like the challenge as we know the products are good from an efficacy standpoint. We hope they also push back against some other products’ outrageous claims too.
GTG: What’s next for the brand? Do you have any plans to expand?
DF: Absolutely. We’ve started to develop products for the hair, skin, nails and body. We tend to say that the skin is the largest organ and we need to treat it well, but you need to look at the rest of the body too. What we’ve done for the face we want to extend to other parts of body using the same philosophy.