When she launched Testament Beauty last year, Sophia Chabbott started small with two masks. Now she thinks bigger.
The former editor, who has experience at Saks Fifth Avenue, WWD and Glamor under her belt, brings the beauty brand’s Mediterranean diet-for-the-face mentality to new product categories. Testament is introducing its first daily use products, Ancient Vine Vitality Serum and Damascena Rose De-Stress Moisturizer, which will debut for $120 and $88 respectively online with Neiman Marcus, Macy’s, Anthropologie and the brand’s own site. The serum will debut in October, with the moisturizer following in the winter.
Just over a year later, the brand’s DNA has proven to resonate with both consumers and retailers. “I’ve always been very passionate about skin care, and as an editor for over 15 years I had a unique vantage point across different categories,” Chabbott said. “When I opened my vanity, all these little jars and bottles were about anti-aging, prevention, correction, and that kind of language gave me a ‘gotta-fix-this’ mentality that didn’t feel good. There was a lot of mess and complications there in my vanity. I had an epiphany that I wanted a skincare practice that was intuitive, products that used garden-grown ingredients, one that felt positive and delivered results. It was a eureka moment.”
What Chabbott has coined the “Mediterranean Diet for the Face” informed every step of the brand’s creation, from naturally minded ingredients to the packaging itself. “The Mediterranean diet and the cultural aspect, it connects with so many people across so many different cultures. Over the last few years, the conversations I’ve had with customers, retailers and influencers — there’s a sense of familiarity,” Chabbott said. It’s like this idea of sitting at a table and enjoying a meal with friends and family. This idea makes people feel comfortable, it brings people together. I want customers to feel like they’re coming home when they use the products mine.
“I also went back to my heritage,” she continued. “I remember going to my great-grandmother’s house – that kitchen, the garden, the Mediterranean diet was a fundamental part of my childhood. She used plants from the garden to make skin care. The Turkish coffee mask is a direct reference to her, she had the most amazing Turkish coffee.”
Testament launched in July 2021 with the two masks – a Turkish coffee peel and a Moroccan chamomile sleeping mask – as a Saks exclusive. Leveraging the strength of the store has been important in scaling the business. “Even when you think about the power of search engine optimization, these partnerships even increase the ranking of testamentbeauty.com. Digital touch points are so powerful and our retailers have partnered with us to scale,” she said.
Chabbott did not rule out expanding Testament’s brick-and-mortar footprint. “We’ve been talking to some of our partners about testing in keyed doors across the country,” she said. “Everything is designed to appear on a website and on social media [media], but there’s nothing like seeing and feeling a tactile product in person. Both are important.”
From an innovation perspective, Chabbott’s game plan was to launch with the products that brought immediate results and satisfaction. With customers hooked on the brand, she focuses on products for everyday use to increase retention rates. “Refill rates on masks just aren’t what they are for everyday use,” she said. The focus is on “getting Testament Beauty into our routines, morning and night,” she said.
“I would [consumers] to know they got value with Testament Beauty, you could see results right away and increased results with continued use,” continued Chabbott. “With products for daily use, it takes a week, two weeks to really get that effect. We have proven ourselves with our two products, they have become cult favourites. With these new ones, Testament Beauty will be in our customers’ everyday lives.”
Industry sources estimate that the two launches will exceed $1 million in retail sales in their first 12 months on the market, although Chabbott did not comment on the estimates. However, given consumers’ initial response to the brand, she is bullish. “Our direct approach with the first two products resonated with customers. People saw results right away and they enjoyed the experience,” Chabbott said. . The packaging serves as decoration. Customers post on Instagram about using our vessels as jewelry catchers, sometimes I grow herbs in my jars. The formulas that have the effect they do, and the holistic approach, work.”
The moisturizer includes damascena rose, along with chamomile extract and probiotics, and was developed with all skin types in mind. Ancient Vine Vitality Serum, a multi-purpose facial oil, includes grape seed oil, vitamin C, raspberry seed and pumpkin seed oils for a nutrient-packed punch of moisture.
Chabbott’s top priority is to supercharge Testament’s brand awareness, given that her client runs the gamut across ages, demographics and geographies. “We’re a brand that doesn’t currently take outside investment. The biggest challenges are in building to achieve brand recognition, she said. “What sticks is the holistic experience, plus the idea that people connect with the brand on a intuitive way.”