When she launched Testament Beauty last year, Sophia Chabbott started small with two mascaras. Now, she is thinking big.
The former editor, who has experience at Saks Fifth Avenue, WWD and Glamour, is bringing the Mediterranean diet mindset for her beauty brand’s face to new product categories. Testament is introducing its first daily use products, Ancient Vine Vitality Serum and Damascena Rose De-Stress Moisturizer, debuting respectively for $120 and $88 online with Neiman Marcus, Macy’s, Anthropologie and the brand’s own site. The serum will tip in October, followed by the moisturizer in the winter.
Just over a year later, the brand’s DNA has proven to resonate with consumers and retailers alike. “I have always loved skin care and as an editor for over 15 years, I had a unique point of view on different categories,” said Chabbott. “When I opened my dresser, all these little jars and bottles were about anti-aging, prevention, correction, and that kind of language left me with an ‘I have to fix this’ mentality that didn’t feel very good. There was a lot of clutter and complications right there on my dresser. I had an epiphany that I wanted a skincare practice that was intuitive, products that used garden-grown ingredients, one that felt positive and delivered results. It was a eureka moment.”
What Chabbott has coined the “Mediterranean diet for the face” informed every step of creating the brand, from the nature-minded ingredients to the packaging itself. “The aspect of the Mediterranean diet and culture connects so many people from so many different cultures. In the last couple of years, the conversations I’ve had with customers, retailers and influencers, there’s a sense of familiarity,” Chabbott said. “It’s like this idea of sitting at a table, enjoying a meal with friends and family. This idea makes people feel comfortable, it brings people together. I want customers to feel like they are coming home when they use my products.
“I also went back to my heritage,” he continued. “I remember going to my great-grandmother’s house, that kitchen, the garden, the experience of the Mediterranean diet was a fundamental part of my childhood. She used plants from the garden to make skin care. The Turkish coffee mask is a direct reference to her, she had the most amazing Turkish coffee.”
Testament launched in July 2021 with the two masks, a Turkish Coffee Scrub and a Moroccan Chamomile Sleeping Mask, as a Saks exclusive. Leveraging the strength of the store has been instrumental in scaling the business. “Even when you think about the power of search engine optimization, those associations even increase the ranking of testamentbeauty.com. Digital touchpoints are very powerful and our retailers have partnered with us to scale,” he said.
Chabbott did not rule out expanding Testament’s physical presence. “We’ve talked to some of our partners about testing at key gates across the country,” he said. “Everything is designed to appear on a website and on social media [media], but there’s nothing like seeing and feeling a tactile product in person. Both are important.”
From an innovation perspective, Chabbott’s game plan was to launch the products that came with instant results and gratification. With shoppers hooked on the brand, he is focusing on everyday products to increase retention rates. “Refill rates for masks are just not what they are for everyday products,” he said. The focus is on “incorporating Testament Beauty into our routines, morning and night,” she said.
“I wanted [consumers] to know they were getting value from Testament Beauty, I could see results right away and increase results with continued use,” continued Chabbott. “With everyday products, it takes a week or two weeks to really make that impact. We have proven our worth with both of our products, they have become cult favourites. With these new ones, Testament Beauty will be in the daily life of our clients”.
Industry sources estimate the two releases will exceed $1 million in retail sales during their first 12 months on the market, though Chabbott would not comment on projections. However, given the initial consumer response to the brand, she is optimistic. “The openness of our approach with the first two products resonated with customers. People saw the results right away and enjoyed the experience,” said Chabbott. “While our approach is straightforward, our packaging speaks to us and provides a holistic approach. The packaging also serves as a decoration. Customers post on Instagram about using our containers as jewelry catches, I sometimes grow herbs in my jars. The formulas that have the impact that they have and that holistic approach are working.”
The moisturizing cream includes rosa damascena, along with chamomile extract and probiotics, and was developed with all skin types in mind. Ancient Vine Vitality Serum, a multipurpose facial oil, includes Grapeseed Oil, Vitamin C, Raspberry Seed Oil, and Pumpkin Seed Oil for a nutrient-packed hit of hydration.
Chabbott’s top priority is building Testament brand awareness, as its customer spans the full range of ages, demographics and geographies. “We are a brand that currently does not accept external investment. The biggest challenges lie in building to gain brand recognition,” she said. “What stays is that holistic experience, plus the idea that people connect with the brand in an intuitive way.”