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Hi friends! Megan here. This one goes out to all the skincare junkies! This week, the What’s In Store crew headed to Westside Atlanta to talk to BioRepublic SkinCare, a company that creates sheet masks. Inspired by the traditional Korean facial product, BioRepublic puts a distinctly American twist on their sheet masks by providing clean, 100% cruelty-free formulas without parabens, sulfates, or phthalates.

BioRepublic is a small team of skincare fanatics with one mission in mind: to create the world’s best sheet mask using only the highest-quality natural ingredients and materials. When founders Justin Hong and Paolo Mentonelli started using sheet masks, they were immediately hooked for a few reasons: the masks were quick and convenient and required little clean up. Plus, you could see results right away. The only problem was, at the time, sheet masks were not available in the U.S.—you had to import them from Korea.

Paolo says that “the ingredients were a little scary, and full of all kinds of preservatives and chemicals that weren’t great to have on our skin.” Determined to provide a cure for “puffy hangover face,” Paolo and Justin brought sheet masks to the States using cleaner ingredients that give the same dewy, fresh glow.

As any small business can attest, creating awareness and forming a loyal customer base for your product is a great way to drive revenue. One way that BioRepublic has successfully created awareness for their sheet masks is through extensive sampling campaigns. Here are a few tips and learnings from BioRepublic about their sampling game:

Within the first 6 months of launching BioRepublic, the company ran 2 sampling campaigns.

“The first one with Birchbox, we sampled 20,000 units which was a relatively small amount of product,” Paolo says. “But it was important for us to just establish some credibility by associating with a known brand like Birchbox.”

Paolo went on to explain that they were shocked to find out most beauty buyers are subscribers of Birchbox, so while the actual cost of the sampling opportunity was minimal, they were able to tap into their perfect sheet-mask-wearin’ and -buyin’ audience. The praise of the sheet masks quickly spread throughout the skincare world, and BioRepublic was soon fielding calls from product buyers for companies such as Bloomingdale’s and the Wynn Las Vegas.

Another beauty subscription service that BioRepublic has had a lot of sampling success with is Ipsy. Paolo explains:

“The company was founded by the original beauty blogger and mega-influencer Michelle Phan, so they have unbelievable reach, they understand compelling content, and they know how to connect with beauty consumers in a very authentic way.”

Paolo shared that Ipsy does an incredible job of not only “getting our product into the hands of potential customers, but then combining that with great online content and fun social campaigns.” Ipsy knows how to engage their fan base, and hopping on board with a like-minded company who is already playing in the space pays off for BioRepublic.

When you’re first getting a business off the ground, you might not have the luxury to think about anything beyond your day to day. But taking a step back to make sure that all decisions align with your company’s long-term goals and sampling strategy is vital.

Paolo shared that BioRepublic “worked with a sampling company in our early days who also wanted to be a retailer and maintained control of the customer relationship and data. Although we sold a lot to them as a wholesale account and basically broke even on our campaigns, we couldn’t continue to reach out to their subscribers unless they came to us on their own after trying the product. So, in the long run, we weren’t reaping the maximum benefit from our campaigns.”