Skincare innovator Stryx pivoted its messaging amid COVID-19. Sales have returned to pre-crisis levels.

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Stryx co-founder Jon Shanahan details how his cosmetics and skincare company has re-positioned its messaging in response to the coronavirus crisis.

About Stryx

Stryx is a men’s skincare and cosmetics company that offers specially-designed and formulated products for men.

The company’s concealer tool and tinted moisturizer help men cover blemishes, dark undereye circles, razor burn, and more to look and feel their best everyday.

They are one of the innovative digital-native, direct-to-consumer brands helping men live well.

I interviewed Jon about how he is positioning his business during the COVID-19 crisis.

Pivoting quickly, sales recovered

Jon said that Stryx saw a dip in sales around mid-March when many of the shelter in place measures were started across the United States.

Jon reacted by pivoting his marketing:

We quickly pivoted our messaging and our organic content to focus around best practices for working from home, how to look your best on Zoom and other web calls, and we saw sales come back to pre-virus levels.

He said he has been encouraged by the feedback so far on his recent blog posts and YouTube videos around working from home and developing a routine, like the one embedded below detailing 3 ways to look your best on Zoom calls.

“I will continue to do more of that,” Jon added.

Grooming products resilient during WFH

As Jon looks ahead in 2020, he sees the grooming category to be “quite resilient.”

He observed that grooming products similarly held up well during the 2008 recession.

Jon explained that,

As more men are working from home they still want to look their best and, as web calls become more ubiquitous, their appetite for experimenting with products like cosmetics seems to be rising.

Stryx is also in the midst of rolling out nationwide to 2,000 CVS stores.

“That process has been moving along quickly as they’ve performed well amidst the current retail climate,” said Jon.

You should start to see Stryx’s products in CVS starting in May.

Delayed hiring, minimal supply chain impacts

Stryx’s two current products are produced entirely in South Korea. That supply chain has seen minimal impacts so far, Jon told me.

The company is ramping up production now for a large run to fulfill its CVS roll-out.

Their third product, an innovative facial gel cleanser, which launched on Kickstarter in February, went into production in March in the United States.

“We’ve been closely monitoring that for any delays as well,” said Jon.

Right now, Stryx is primarily comprised of Jon and his co-founder Devir Kahan. “We have the benefit and the burden of a small team,” he said.

Jon is quick to acknowledge this puts Stryx in a different position than some others.

“I really feel for the other brands and small businesses that have to lay off team members,” he said.

Still, Stryx has delayed hiring amid the current crisis.

“Our plan for this year was to bring on two additional team members as we expand but we haven’t made any hires yet,” said Jon.

Supporting small business like Stryx

“Right now is hard for everyone, especially small businesses,” Jon observed.

“If you’re in a position to continue supporting brands that have helped you and delivered great products, at a minimum get a gift card that can be used next time you make a purchase,” he added.

He noted “I always tries to support local first and then the companies that I truly believe in and have made an impact on me.”

Jon flagged a number of innovative brands that he believes in, including Ministry of Supply (see my interview with co-founded Aman Advani), Boardroom Socks (available on Amazon), Satchel and Page, and Duke Cannon Supply Company.

If you’re looking to upgrade your Work from Home wardrobe, see my guide to performance professional wear, these options for blue-light blocking eyeglasses, the innovative companies involved in the Brands for Better coalition, and these 60+ direct-to-consumer brands helping men dress sharp in the digital age.

You can also read more about other entrepreneurs’ experience dealing with the COVID-19 crisis, including Wylie Robinson of Rumpl, Eric Powell of Ratio Clothing (which makes some of my favorite made-in-America flannels), Alex Hendeles of Unsimply Stitched, and Derek Tian of Black Lapel, one of my favorite online custom tailors. (Get $50 off your first custom suit from Black Lapel using code FTOMODERN).

And if you would like to support Jon and Stryx, they have discounted their Starter Kit bundle for anyone that wants to restock or try out their products for the first time.

“We’re excited to expand the starter kit soon to include our new Gel Cleanser,” Jon said.  He added, “fingers crossed on the supply chain I mentioned.”


About Jake

Jake is passionate about exploring entrepreneurs' global journeys. He founded Modern Fellows in 2012 to get to know the entrepreneurs behind the innovative brands helping men dress sharp in the digital age.  Jake has written about entrepreneurship, international business and/or fashion for outlets including Business Week, Forbes, Inc., Details Style Syndicate and Primer Magazine, and has provided analysis on international business for BBC Radio, NBC News, CNN and Time Magazine.

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