Melbourne-based beauty brand Fluff was founded in 2018 by Erika Geraerts, one of the original co-founders of Frank Body. The brand has gone through many evolutions since its conception, and is now experimenting with an unusual drop model, which sees it open its website to sell products just four times a year for one week at a time. “We have often said Fluff is from the future and timing is very much everything in this industry,” Geraerts told Inside Retail. “We wanted to do dif
to do different differently, which a lot of brands say but a lot of brands fail to execute on.” Geraerts has re-conceptualised the very foundations of what a beauty brand is, including the purpose of Fluff’s products: “It’s okay to feel more with makeup, so long as you don’t feel less without it”. Everything about the brand is thoughtful and considered, including its high-fashion packaging, especially its coveted metal cloud compact. “The compact itself really references the art deco period in which women carried around their powder compacts and their lipstick cases, or say cigarette holders and lighters,” Geraerts explained. The beauty refill model In 2018, in line with its launch of lip oils, Fluff introduced its refillable compacts as a way to reduce product waste and lower costs for consumers. “This compact is so beautiful in its weight and its durability, it would be such a shame for people to have to throw this away when they need a new powder,” said Geraerts. Viewing beauty products not just as repeat purchases but as replenishable products shifted Fluff’s business model entirely. “I had this instinct that refillable beauty was going to become bigger and that there was this swell among consumers about what they were expecting from brands,” said Geraerts. “When we first launched refills I think a lot of people looked at us like we were crazy or that the rest of the world wasn’t really ready yet. But now we see the industry catching up and refills have become commonplace which is amazing.” The beauty drop model Then in 2022, the Melbourne-based beauty brand pivoted away from its always-on model towards a quarterly-drop model which meant its website would only open four times a year, a week at a time. The idea was simple: limited supply could focus consumers’ attention. “We thought if we could restrict supply perhaps that would pique people’s curiosity about the product,” Geraerts hypothesised. “There are so many products available and so much brand messaging there is no sense of urgency for consumers so they are paralysed by choice,” she added. The fashion industry has long been a proponent of the drop model, using exclusivity to drive sales, but it is yet to be widely adopted by the beauty industry. For industry outsiders looking in, it was clear to see how Fluff’s drop model addressed consumer sustainability around waste, but it raised questions about the sustainability of the business’ growth. “It really was an experiment and we didn’t know if consumers would tire of the drop model but it’s been received really well and each drop has grown,” said Geraerts. The beauty retail model? Fluff has established itself nationally and internationally as a successful direct-to-consumer brand with a loyal customer base that is ready to add their beauty refills to their cart at each quarterly drop. But the question of partnering with big beauty retailers and expanding into department stores remains open-ended. “We’ve been contacted by every retailer, from the big department stores to the indie retailers. It’s a discussion that I’m always willing to have because I want to see if there is brand alignment and what a retailer could offer Fluff,” revealed Geraerts. “Ultimately, I want Fluff to reach all corners of the world and for everyone to experience our product–but it has to be the right fit both from a business financial perspective in terms of margins and then from an alignment point of view,” she concluded. Both the founder and Fluff confess to having their heads in the clouds, much like its iconic compact, as they dream of what the future of a beauty brand looks like.