26 Aug 2021 --- The idea for Brandefy came to founder and CEO Meg Pryde after working in consumer packaged goods and at a technology start-up. “I realized that people wanted an easier way to find products they loved and that technology could simplify the process,” Pryde recalls.
“I saw there was a massive lack of transparency for consumers, particularly in the beauty space,” notes Pryde. “I started thinking there was a way to use community and technology to allow consumers to create transparency.”
Commenting on what was missing from mainstream beauty platforms that the Brandefy founder sought to rectify, Pryde shares: “A fully transparent, independent source that doesn't do paid reviews.”
In today’s digital beauty sphere, transparency and clear, easily obtainable information is a must for shoppers. “Consumers want sophisticated platforms that connect them with other people like themselves to get quick, tangible advice and recommendations,” details Pryde.
Information, insights and iterations
Like other technology companies, Brandefy is responding to these consumer demands for transparency by adopting an entrepreneurial, evolutive process. “We are constantly iterating on what we offer consumers,” says Pryde. “Lately, these iterations have to do with the type of information we are offering consumers.”
Click to EnlargeMeg Pryde aims to bring transparency and trust to the beauty marketplace. Source: Brandefy.Recently, Brandefy has partnered with dermatologists to obtain and share information from specialists in the fields of skin, hair and nails to provide expert guidance to platform users. “We want consumers to see that we are focused on helping them find the right products for their needs,” shares Pryde. “Every person is different and the BPC products that each consumer will like are different.”
From conceptualization through to commercialization, the Brandefy launch process involved a lot of market research in order to confirm the team’s understanding of the beauty marketplace and turn its idea into a consumer-centric offering. Talking about the journey to making Brandefy a reality, Pryde explains it involved “tons of consumer interviews and iterations to understand what the consumer wanted to see and cared about.”
Brandefy was initially a blog before the founder, who began developing the brand when studying for an MBA at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business, invested in the technology to launch its mobile app. The Brandefy team comprises alumni from Estée Lauder, Perrigo, Ford and Wander Beauty.
Talking about the greatest challenges she has experienced in achieving her vision to create a transparency-led beauty platform, Pryde shares: “Meeting the right technical partners, creating a database of products, and finding our first 1000 users.”
From its inception in the app world to its clear positioning on the beauty marketplace, Brandefy has undergone an organic evolution. “Initially, people could compare all kinds of products, but the data showed beauty as the driving force behind our growth,” Pryde relays. The brand saw its potential in the beauty space as consumers increasingly turn to online platforms and marketplaces to access product information, user-generated reviews and recommendations.
“Since shifting our focus to beauty alone, we have seen massive growth in downloads, engagement, and active users,” says Pryde. “There really is an almost insatiable appetite for trustworthy, data-driven information about beauty products, and until now consumers haven't had the opportunity to get it.”
How Brandefy works
To date, the brand’s iOS app has almost half a million downloads. Brandefy’s beauty platform enables users to compare formulas, ingredients and prices to identify the best options for their needs and in line with their budgets. “People are overwhelmed by the sheer number of products, and many don't understand why one skin cream costs $10 and another costs $100,” says Pryde. “Brandefy helps them understand when to pay more for a high-quality product and when they should switch to a more affordable option that is just as good.”
Explaining how the app works to provide clear information on product ingredients and draw comparisons to other items on the market, Brandefy uses the example of the $24 Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion with the $7 Milani Eyeshadow Primer. The platform shows there is a 79% ingredient match and gives a user review that details both similarities and differences relating to the products’ performance, packaging, and ingredients. The platform provides an overall similarity rating that indicates two products’ similarities to help users in their decision-making.
Brandefy has recently secured an investment of US$1.7 million from a combination of venture capital funds and angel investors from the United States. Investors include The Community Fund, Concept to Co and Red Bike Capital. The brand will use this capital to support the launch of its Android platform, and also to invest in a new line of business which Pryde states “fits really well with the needs of our consumer.”
As it strives to disrupt the traditional approach to beauty purchasing, the platform has bold plans for the future. The brand, which urges its consumers to not break the bank on beauty, hopes to help more than 30 million people make better beauty product choices by 2025.
Pryde says: “We have the opportunity to be a source of truth for the consumer; somewhat of a David in a world of beauty Goliaths.” As it does so, Pryde notes: “Protecting our relationship with our customer will be paramount.”
Looking ahead to both Brandefy’s immediate and long-term outlook, Pryde says: “In the short term, we just want to help consumers save money where they can.” Tackling bigger global social issues is on the agenda for the brand in the long term. “I think we could have a huge impact on how companies are assessed based on their sustainability goals, formulations, and social impact as well.”
By Natasha Spencer-Jolliffe, BPC Senior Journalist