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Minimalist beauty brand Merit grows its ambitions with a new skincare product

Katherine Power, the cofounder of Who What Wear, Avaline wine, and Versed, has growing ambitions for her luxury beauty brand Merit.

Minimalist beauty brand Merit grows its ambitions with a new skincare product
[Photo: Courtesy Merit]

Katherine Power is a maximalist when it comes to launching brands. She has the Who What Wear blog, which has spinoff fashion lines with Target; Versed skincare; and Avaline wine. But when it comes to makeup, she’s a minimalist.

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Last January, Power launched Merit, a makeup brand inspired by her own pared-down approach to beauty. It launched online and at Sephora, offering only a few key products designed to cut down on the time it takes to get ready in the morning to five minutes. Today, the brand expands into skincare with a single product, a $38 serum called Great Skin.

[Photo: Courtesy Merit]
Merit’s cosmetics line includes versatile, multi-functional products like a tinted lip oil and a two-in-one concealer and foundation stick. In keeping with this approach, the new serum is designed to do many things. It serves as a primer for applying makeup, it moisturizes, and makes skin look plumper and brighter. “Our goal was to see an immediate effect after applying it,” says Aila Morin, SVP of brand, growth, and innovation.

While the beauty industry is saturated with brands and products, Merit has managed to stand out from the pack, thanks, in part, to its simplified approach. Merit’s foundation stick and highlighter are the top sellers in their categories at Sephora. Last year, the company raised a $20 million Series A funding round, which is a very large sum for a beauty brand. Now, Merit’s goal is to keep growing without creating unnecessary products.

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“We’re trying to be very restrained about what new products we launch,” Morin says. “We want every item we make to have a purpose and resonate with our customers.”

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About the author

Elizabeth Segran, Ph.D., is a senior staff writer at Fast Company. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts

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