“It’s kind of this look-good-feel-good mentality,” said Athletic Cosmetic Company cofounder Kate Solomon.
After selling her plant-based skin care brand Babo Botanicals to Mustela in 2018, Solomon — who previously completed stints at L’Oréal and LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton — decided she’d take a break from the beauty business.
That was, until her teenage son enrolled in Florida’s elite sport training academy, Club Med Academies, to play competitive tennis. “That’s kind of where this idea blossomed — this cross-intersection between beauty and fitness,” said Solomon.
Such was the genesis of Athletic Cosmetic Company, the beauty veteran’s latest venture developed alongside Club Med Academies cofounder and former professional Dutch tennis player, Dominique van Boekel.
Launching Oct. 2 with a $42 hyaluronic gel serum, a $28 waterproof mascara and a $22 hybrid lip and cheek stain, the brand aims to extend the “athluxury” trend beyond apparel and into the beauty realm.
“We’re tapping into the same sort of value proposition as, say, a Lululemon,” said Solomon, who toyed with numerous brand name ideas including For the Love of Color and For the Love of Sport before sticking with Athletic Cosmetic Company. (“It’s a saturated market — sometimes it’s better just to be explicit in what you’re trying to do.”)
Between the emergence of social wellness, wherein gyms and fitness clubs are now considered hangout spots just as much as exercise venues, and the rise of social media, the athletic beauty space proved to Solomon and van Boekel ripe for innovation.
“If you look at the Peloton coaches — they’re wearing a lot of makeup,” Solomon said.
“Being in the sports world, we are always thinking about image — even more so now with social media,” added van Boekel, who has been piloting the brand’s debut stock keeping units among the athletes at her academy.
Consequently, the lip stain has been carefully formulated not to wear off during hydration breaks, the mascara is sweat-proof, and the hyaluronic acid serum’s gel texture aims to cool the skin upon application.
Solomon and van Boekel estimate the brand could do around $500,000 in first-year sales, and are planning to link up with college athletes to reach its target audience.
“We’ve already had emails from gymnastics teams, volleyball teams, cheerleading teams, so I think there’s so much room here — and it will be affordable, because many of these teams want sponsorships even on a small-scale basis,” Solomon said.
Upcoming innovation from the brand includes cooling sensation eye shadows, a tinted SPF 40 serum, a cleanser and a facial exfoliant.
“Certainly there are trends, but there hasn’t been a new beauty category in — I don’t even know how long,” said Solomon, who has coined the category “athbeauty.” Her goal is to offer performance makeup akin to that of a MAC Cosmetics or a Milk Makeup, but geared toward the “outdoorsy, sporty type.”
In terms of distribution, the brand is eyeing partnerships with wellness retailers and fitness venues in addition to its direct-to-consumer channel.
“We would like to speak to that person who just wants to move, feel powerful and healthy with their body — ‘athlete’ shouldn’t just be someone who is able to perform high-level sports,” Solomon said.