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Rising Above the Noise in the eCommerce Beauty Category With Ric Kostick of 100% PURE

Richard (Ric) Kostick

Richard (Ric) Kostick is the Co-founder and CEO of an incredible company, 100% PURE, a personal care and cosmetics brand that prioritizes all-natural ingredients and high-end cosmetic formulas to create beauty that is good for you, the environment, and the community at large. 100% PURE has been Ric’s way of continuing his genuine interest in healthy living since he lost three family members to cancer.

Ric has been an entrepreneur since 2005. He got an early start in personal care after creating a shampoo line for teenagers. Sephora and Nordstrom immediately picked up the products, and its innovative packaging design made its way into the Museum of Modern Art.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • [2:38] How Ric Kostick started in the direct-to-consumer (DTC) space
  • [8:41] Ric talks about eCommerce trends over the years and how his business has evolved
  • [15:12] The difficulty of jumping on trends
  • [21:30] Big changes to expect in eCommerce
  • [27:00] How Ric coordinates their product lifecycle and the problem of doing it in the eCommerce space
  • [33:25] Ric shares how they determine product pricing
  • [35:36] Top mistake Ric made in business and lessons learned
  • [46:28] Elevating a culture of continuous learning
  • [49:26] Ric’s favorite eCommerce brands

In this episode…

The beauty category is a super competitive and saturated space. Margins are tricky, and many brands are claiming to be clean. There’s very little differentiation at face value. More and more products are released into the market. How do you stay above the noise?

For starters, differentiation comes when customers experience your brand and fall in love with it. But that unlocks another layer of challenge: creating new products and coordinating product lifecycles. Which products should you make, stop, and which ones should you keep. Also, what does the future hold for the beauty category?

On this episode of the eCommerce Profits Podcast, Joshua Chin talks with the Co-founder and CEO of 100% PURE, Ric Kostick. They discuss the challenges of building an organic beauty product, differentiating your brand, maintaining a healthy product lifecycle, industry changes to look forward to, and more.

Resources Mentioned in this episode

Sponsor for this episode

This episode is brought to you by Chronos Agency.

If you are a direct-to-consumer ecommerce brand that wants to unlock the optimum customer lifetime value through email marketing, then look no further than Chronos Agency!

Our team of passionate email marketing experts has helped hundreds of brands generate over $70 million in return from email alone, and our clients receive an average of 3500% ROI from our efforts.

Chronos Agency has worked with a variety of brands, including Truly Beauty, Alya Skin, and many more. Our mission is to help real businesses achieve real results. 

If you want to take your revenue to the next level using email marketing, be sure to email our team at sales@chronos.agency or visit chronos.agency to learn more.

Episode Transcript

Intro 0:04

Welcome to the eCommerce Profits Podcast, where we feature top founders and experts in the eCommerce industry and take an in depth look at the struggles and successes in growing eCommerce brands profitably.

Joshua Chin 0:21

All right, Josh Chin here. I’m the host of the eCommerce Profits Podcast where we feature top experts in the eCommerce industry that would go behind the scenes of the struggles and successes in growing a brand. Now this episode is brought to you by Chronos Agency. If you run a direct to consumer ecommerce brand that is ready to scale and to double your customer lifetime value, true retention and lifecycle marketing. Chronos is your company, we’ve helped hundreds of brands scale profits, with email, SMS, and mobile push while getting an average of 3500% ROI from our efforts. We’ve worked with brands like Truly Beauty Ali Skin, the Oodi and many more. Now the next step is to email us at Sales@Chronos.Agency. Or you can go to Chronos.Agency to learn more. Now, today’s guest, Richard Ric Kostick is the Co-founder and CEO of an incredible company 100% PURE, a personal care and cosmetics brand, that prioritizes all natural ingredients, and high end cosmetic formulas to create beauty that is good for you, the environment and the community at large. Now, Ric has been an entrepreneur for a long, long time. And he started his business back in 20 2005, in around 2005. So Ric, welcome to the show. I’m super excited to have you on.

Ric Kostick 1:51

Thank you, Joshua, I’m super excited to be here. And we’ve published that we launched in 2005. But we actually incorporated 2004. So it’s one more year on their way. That’s what it was towards the end when we launched. So we decided, you know what, we like? How 2005 sounds better in 2004? We’ll, we’ll just consider 2005 or last year.

Joshua Chin 2:13

And so 2004 2005 Those were the years where I guess. I think eCommerce at that point in time, I don’t ever recall eCommerce being a term in E tailing or E retail even being that big of a thing. How did you end up in the DTC space? I know you didn’t start there. What Yeah,

Ric Kostick 2:38

that’s, that’s really interesting, because when I was, I’ve always been somewhat of an entrepreneur. And so when I was in college, I went to Berkeley. And I was I took, I went into Berkeley as a mechanical engineer. That was the major I got in, and I realized I couldn’t draw. And then I started searching around for other other different majors. And I took classes and everything. But one area I was really good was computer science, I could code extremely well. And I thought, you know, this is easy for me. I’ll just start doing this as a side gig, I can earn some great money by consulting people on technology. And the World Wide Web was coming out this the late 90s. And so I can make websites so I started making websites for people. And one of the one of my customers or clients person I made a website for was my mom’s hairstylist. It was a salon in San Francisco, the owner of the salon, he was extremely talented at cutting hair. He was the most expensive stylist in the city to you made that well known. And he would always talk about products with me. I always, you know, I was there. I built out his website. And I liked him. And so he started talking about how there was this dearth for products for teenagers. And no haircare for teenagers back then the late 90s teenagers were starting to have money to spend, they didn’t really have spendable money before then it was a category overlooked, but there wasn’t cosmetic products, haircare products for them. And so we thought, you know, we can make some products for teenagers. And it dawned on me that Yeah, and teenagers are on the World Wide Web. I was like 17 at the time as a freshman in college. And I said look, we can sell the products through the web. If you can figure out how to make them I’m positive that we can make our website ecommerce enabled and sell to the web. And so we did it and we made like five shampoos, five conditioners really fun. Flavors for teenagers, licorice, bubblegum green apple type of flavors. We made a great bottle design by a very famous designer. And it The bottle is actually in the museum of Modern art, and then so forth, picked up the brand. And norstrom picked up the brand. And this kind of got me started into it. We started growing the business, the hair care business. And over the years, my dad showed me an article of this girl that was going to school also at Berkeley, and she was making her own cosmetics. And it mentioned that her customers also supported her customers, also Nordstrom. And she was making powdered mass out of her dorm room. Her name was Susie Wang. And he said, Do you know her? She’s doing something similar to you. I said, No, I don’t know. But I looked her up. And then I started reaching out to her. And this is where after I reached out to her and got to know her, I started really delving into the formulas of the products. You know, there’s a lot of ingredients in the early products I made that I didn’t, I couldn’t pronounce, let alone understood what they do. And I talked to the chemists and chemists would explain it to me, he’d wonder why the heck I care within the products so much. And it dawned on me after you know, meeting with Suzy talking to her about this, that, you know, these ingredients that are in all these products all over the market. This is going on your skin, and what’s going on your skin and Jess, what goes on your skin ends up inside your body. And there are toxins out there that once it’s inside your body does not leave your body. And this is starting to get more media more recently about like four carbons and things like that. And so we realized a cross. And now we now at this point of time, we actually sold that original haircare line to distributor, so we sold that off. And Susie was formulating, she actually gave up on her early business, because she couldn’t keep up with the orders. And she didn’t think to hire people to pay to keep up with it. So the companies hired her to formulate for them. And they would make the products. So that’s how she will. But they wouldn’t use her exact formulas and that was driving her nuts. And so I said, you know, we could actually launch our own line and make it entirely natural, entirely good for you healthy, oxen free. And one of us came up with the name 100% PURE, we’re not sure who came up with it. And our brother was graduating school at the time, James Wang. And so he joined in with us at the start. So it was the three of us that launched 100% peer to the market, we wanted to make it cool make it more mainstream, more sexy than the only natural products you could find back then were at health food stores, and there was no Whole Foods back then it was or if there was it was only a few occasions and the products that the health food stores, they didn’t look good, they didn’t perform well. And no one would buy them because of that. And so we were one of the first brands to market that had, you know the term clean is now butchered you hear about clean beauty, but there’s no definition of it. But I would say really healthy, pure products that help improve your life. That’s our mission. That’s how we got started in the eCommerce space. You know, creating a website was really easy, because that was my background. So eCommerce was something we focused on from the beginning. And it became more in focus as time went on.

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