Many topics in our society were (and often remain) taboos. Products for menstruation, male fertility, mental health, or sexual wellness were hardly discussed in the media — let alone vocally advertised.
However, a new cohort of bolder and louder brands are actively breaking those stigmas. Hims brings important discussions about male health to the forefront. Period brands like Mooncup are using guerrilla marketing tactics to start conversations about menstruation — and Lure Life is sitting at the nexus of sexual wellness and skincare.
The sexual wellness market in the US is coming of age. Already valued at $10.3 billion in 2021, it’s set to keep growing at a 7.67% CAGR until 2030. Much of this growth comes from emerging sexual wellness digital startups and D2C specialty brands selling curated product lines.
This deep dive will take a look at Lure Life, one of the newer market entrants with a strong value proposition and huge growth potential. Let’s dig in!
Lure Life Brand Story: Female-Founded, Female-Serving
Source: Authority Magazine/Medium
Lure Life was founded in 2020 by a powerful trio of women: Kara Kelly, Monica Reese, and Summer Rice. Together, they make a textbook-perfect team for launching a startup — a Designer, a Hustler, and a Marketer.
Monica Reese has some 20+ years in design and production. She’s a natural problem-solver and a hands-on executioner.
Kara Kelly is a former Accenture executive with in-depth knowledge of strategy, finance, and operations for consumer goods brands.
Summer Rice is a brand marketing pro, recognized as a top 4% achiever for billion-dollar female-focused product marketing.
Together, they make up the team behind Lure Life — one of the few majority Black-owned and female-led CDB businesses. For reference, only 10% of US cannabis business founders identified as Hispanic/Latino or Black in 2017.
The idea for launching Lure Life came from personal experience. Independently, the trio discovered the therapeutic benefits of CBD oil. CBD (Cannabidiol) is a non-psychoactive chemical present in marijuana plants. It has tremendously helped them address stress, mental issues, body aches, and loss of libido.
Because CBD has proven to be so transformative for them, the ladies decided to introduce it to more people. So, they founded Lure Life — a brand that sells a small stock of organically-grown, hemp-based products designed for women.
In the “The Story of a Brand” podcast, the Lure Life team describes their early journey as a “Wild West” experience:
“Monica and Kara got in a car together in North Carolina. We had zero expectations. We didn't know the challenges that we were gonna have down the road with marketing or with our payment processor. So we went in cowboy style, hard and heavy. If one thing didn't feel like the right fit, then we would try something else.”
…and sure some challenges were soon to follow.
On the online store launch day, the team realized that Shopify didn’t process payments for CBD businesses. So, they had to switch up their payment processor at the last moment and reschedule all launch-day marketing activities. Separately, product sourcing and supply chain management were major challenges as the brand was founded amidst the pandemic.
Yet, the Lure Life team was determined and remained steadfast — and, the trio has clearly stated that it will never compromise on three things:
The right organic ingredients from an FDA-certified facility
The right packaging to create the right brand perception
The best distribution to ensure fast arrival of goods
Selecting the right hemp farm and manufacturer was especially crucial for Lure. CBD as a substance still has a “mixed” reputation — and other industry players often make it worse. A recent analysis found that many retail CBD products don’t contain the amount of cannabidiol that’s listed on the label. Some may also have traces of THC — an active ingredient of the cannabis plant that causes a “high” feeling.
Lure Life wanted to establish strong credibility from the beginning. That’s why they went on a lengthy journey to find an FDA-approved CBD grower in North Carolina and an ethical manufacturer for their product line.
Since the company is primarily led by women of color, they felt extra pressure. Kara Kelly admitted in the aforementioned podcast:
“We want it to be twice as good because we know we have to do that. We've felt it through the fundraising efforts. We've felt it through the packaging, the design, the distribution channels, everything. We just feel like we have to be superior to hit the mark”.
Unfortunately, the sentiment of “needing to work twice as hard” resonates with many people of color — from Silicon Valley entrepreneurs to students at higher educational institutions. Apart from building a holistic brand, the Lure Life team also attempts to prove by example that more BIPOC people should be in the CBD space to clear historic racial inequities in ownership in the cannabis business.
In January 2022, Lure raised $750,000 in a seed round to accelerate market expansion, company growth, marketing, and product development — and we’re excited to see what this bold brand does next.
3 Brand Lessons from Lure Life
Lure Life is a new brand, but it has a special allure (pun intended) that attracts customers. In less than two years, Lure has experienced 95% sales growth and increased conversions by 30%, as WWT reported.
So, how did a new brand in a competitive industry get such incredible traction? Here are three brand growth lessons from the Lure Life team that other marketers could borrow.
1. Select Your Target Audiences Strategically
Lure Life launched with a clear understanding of its primary target audience: women aged 40+.
Most new skincare brands choose to focus on Millennials and Gen Z. Glossier, The Honest Company, The Ordinary, and many more skincare brands entered the market with cute, affordable, acne-fighting products anyone in the 16-35 age bracket would find satisfying.
The brand experiences — from packaging and pricing to brand tone and prioritized marketing channels style — are largely focused on appealing to younger women.
Lure Life decided to go with another audience segment — Gen X women, whose unique needs the founders understand first-hand. That’s an untapped, yet profitable, audience. According to recent research, since the pandemic began, some 46% of women over 40 have started to spend more on their skincare. However, 38% of the served group also admitted to a lack of confidence when buying cosmetics online — and when they do, 58% research information much more carefully.
One of the reasons behind this wariness is that Gen X women are grossly under-represented in the beauty space. Sure, there are brands like Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop, but its New Age vibe (and pricing) doesn’t appeal to all women.
Lure Life has managed to occupy a comfortable brand niche where the audience interest is high but the brand competition is still low.
The Takeaway: When researching your total addressable market (TAM), look into its various segments. Instead of designing your brand experience for the dominant audience, consider pursuing smaller, secondary audiences.
Brand monitoring software like Latana have robust segmentation features that allow you to identify profitable audiences your competition has overlooked.
Remember, building a loyal customer base early in your brand development process can help you build critical brand equity. With initial traction secured, you can then market your brand to new audiences.
2. Ensure Proper Positioning
Lure Life chose CBD as its core product component. Yet, CBD still has a somewhat dual reputation with consumers.
Some swear by its therapeutic benefits, most of which are clinically proven. Others are suspicious of CBD, either due to generally negative attitudes towards marijuana usage or because of a lack of awareness of CBD qualities as a substance.
In an interview with , Summer Rice mentioned that strong opinions will follow any CBD brand:
“My harshest response came from my sister. She flat out said, “I will never try CBD,” fearing that it was potentially addictive and that it would actually impact my social life. Even after I educated her on all of the health benefits and quelled any fears of addiction she was still a hard “no.” It goes to show that the long-standing anti-cannabis messaging that was programmed into previous generations still takes a lot to dismantle.”
So, Lure Life had to proactively address the stigma around CBD. Their approach — clear, compelling product copy crafted to fully explain the therapeutic benefits their products offer, as seen below.
Source: Lure Life
The team also meticulously works on each product formulation to ensure that women actually experience those “acclaimed benefits”. Given their nearly 200% customer return rate, the product quality is definitely present.
The Takeaway: CBD isn’t the easiest industry to work in — mostly due to rampant misconceptions, negativity, and biases harbored by consumers. To grow, new CBD brands must carefully monitor how they are perceived. Branding yourself as a “hemp oil” seller and alluding to marijuana can give you a spike in traffic (but hardly the right type of consumer attention you need).
Lure Life is transparent about its products’ purpose — to address various women's ailments. They explain in plain terms why Lure CBD products work and what effects you should expect. Cultivating the right brand associations is crucial to developing the right brand positioning and building a strong rapport with your ideal targets.
3. Invest In Fine Details To Make an Exquisite Brand Experience
When launching a new brand it’s easy to get caught up in “big” decisions — ingredients sourcing, manufacturing, eCommerce store setup, marketing strategy, and so on.
However, an amazing brand experience is a grand sum of all (micro)experiences a customer has with your product, especially in the privacy of their homes. Lure Life recognizes that.
As Monica Reese explained in "The Story of a Brand" podcast interview:
“(With our products) it's not just the look, it's the way it feels in your hand. So when you hold our bottle, it's a little heavier, that's intentional. It shows that it's luxury. I don't have to do that thick chunk of glass at the bottom. That's about 10 millimeters, but that adds weight to the glass. The dropper is white because that kind of symbolizes purity, and the collar is gold. That's the luxury”.
The team meticulously designed a sensory experience for consumers interacting with their products. That’s an important factor for the beauty industry. Most women treat skincare not just as a routine, but as a self-care “ritual” — important for one’s mental health and self-confidence levels.
At the same time, the rise of the #shelfie also prompted skincare brands to rethink their product aesthetics. Snapshots of bathroom shelves with carefully curated products serve as “word-of-mouth in photo form” — and can organically amplify brand awareness and consideration numbers.
The Takeaway: Treat your product packaging and unboxing experience as another opportunity to delight, retain, and entertain the consumer. Brand packaging matters more than you think. In fact, 95% of new products fail because most consumers judge them based on first impressions alone.
Your product packaging shouldn’t just serve the purpose of containing your goodies, but also be creative, functional, and sustainable to amplify your brand experience.
Launching and growing a new brand is challenging. Launching a CBD brand as a BIPOC team is twice as hard. Yet, thanks to a combination of business acumen, determination, meticulous attention to detail, and clear brand vision, Lure Life is quickly becoming a new wellness “power player”.
With its latest investment round secured, we’re thrilled to see how Lure Life’s brand identity will evolve — and which brand marketing strategies they’ll choose to pursue next!