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DIY beauty is ‘here to stay’: Olive & June CEO

Sarah Gibson Tuttle, Olive & June Founder and CEO joins Yahoo Finance’s On The Move panel to discuss why more people are looking to paint their nails at home as well as break down how the nail salon industry is faring amid the pandemic.

Video Transcript

JULIE HYMAN: One nail brand pivoted to try to get more people to do their nails at home during the pandemic. It's called Olive & June, and the Founder and CEO is joining us now. Sarah Gibson Tuttle is joining us from Los Angeles. Sarah, thanks for being here. So I know that even before this pandemic, you all were selling at-home manicure kits. But did you make any changes to the kits during all of this, and then what kind of uptick in demand did you see as a result?

SARAH GIBSON TUTTLE: Yeah, absolutely. So while we create our kit a year prior to COVID hitting the United States, we actually created a ton of content around our Studio Box and around our mani kits for our community, because they were really excited to paint their nails at home but really needed the tools, the education, the content, really like the tips and tricks on how to create this, you know, how to get this salon perfect manicure at home. So for seven weeks, I went live on Instagram every day on the Olive & June channel, and it was really fun. I mean, I think our community was really excited for not only the education, but also the fun of it, and we really were able to give people a little spark of happiness during kind of a crazy time.

MELODY HAHM: Sarah, tell us more about the kind of demand you've been seeing. I know we've talked previously about the YouTube world and how influencers on their own were sort of doing these reviews and really getting the word out. How do you anticipate this being sort of a sticky adaptation, even after the pandemic? Will this be something that people are still excited about, or is this sort of a survival tool as a lot of those places don't seem safe to get your nails done?

SARAH GIBSON TUTTLE: So it's a great question, because prior to COVID, what we saw was that our community, on average, they were doing their nails about 12 times a year on their own with the tools, sometimes going to a salon, but about 12 times a year. After they got their Studio Box, they were doing their nails about 38 times a year. So we immediately saw as soon as we gave them the tools, the salon vetted and professional professionally minded tools and products, they were able to actually achieve the salon perfect manicure at home. And what happened is that, you know, that basically the more they're doing it, the better they're getting at it. So all of this content just laid on top of the fact that we had created this box of products that actually could give you that salon perfect manicure at home. So as we see the incident rate go up, we know that they're really excited and having fun with it.

You know, DIY beauty is back and here to stay. What we've been able to do is take a professional service and make it accessible for everyone everywhere at this affordable price point. So post-pandemic, I think you're absolutely going to see in many categories that DIY continues to be like a shining point for people in their lives, and I believe that beauty will be one of those points.

JULIE HYMAN: Sarah, you all do have in-person services as well, right?

SARAH GIBSON TUTTLE: We had salons prior to COVID, yes.

JULIE HYMAN: And so if what you're saying is true, then what happens to that part of your business, or are you really looking to shift or follow where the demand ends up being?

SARAH GIBSON TUTTLE: You know, another great question. So the demand for salons, there's about four to five times more demand for salons than there are appointments, and so salons aren't going away. And what we love about salons is that these nail artists are doing amazing manicures, amazing pedicures, nail art, et cetera all the time. But the problem is is that across the country, outside of the coasts, you don't have the same accessibility to salons and to appointments that you do on the coasts.

And so how do you satisfy for that demand? You create a product that people can actually get the salon perfect manicure at home. So it's a bit of a coastal versus non-coastal play, but also, you're satisfying beautiful nails for everyone in different ways at different parts of the country. But I have to say, I do have a lot of friends in Los Angeles where I live, and all of my friends have been so excited about the fact that they can actually fix a chip, like do a polish change in between their manicures, in between their professional manicures. And so the Studio Box really helps people no matter what kind of, you know, what cadence they're going to the salons.

JULIE HYMAN: All right, Sarah, thank you so much. Sarah Gibson Tuttle is the CEO of Olive & June and Founder as well. Thanks so much.