E-commerce entrepreneur Ning Li was taking a break from work to look after his young daughter (if you can call that a break!) when his latest business, the online skincare brand Typology Paris, was born.
Having co-founded and built Made.com, a hugely-successful digital furniture store, he had recently stood down as CEO so he could move from London to Paris to live full-time with his new wife and daughter.
“It was born from a lifestyle change,” Ning says. “I’d got married and had my first child, and decided to be a stay-at-home-dad and focus on my family. My daughter had some eczema issues, so I went to the pharmacy to look for some cream, and it was such an overwhelming experience. I was confronted with 100 different options, and then when I turned the bottle around there’s this long list of ingredients, and that’s scary.”
This inspired Ning to launch Typology Paris in 2019, which focuses on using as few ingredients as possible, organic natural products sourced from sustainable farms where they can, while maximizing the active elements by keeping formulas simple but powerful. And he chose the direct-to-consumer model to sell the product, partly because that was where he had enjoyed business success in the past, but also because he felt that was the best way to give the customer the most honest and detailed information.
“On the online channel, you have more space and time to explain the product and the ingredients, as opposed to via a distributor who doesn’t really know your product, and are more incentivized to sell your product than explain it to the consumer,” Ning explains.
Typology Paris was launched three years ago in France only and, according to web market data company Foxintelligence, last year became the leading online skincare brand in the country — the land of L’oreal, Clarins and many more of the world’s most famous beauty firms. Now Typology is finding global success as they expand into other major markets around the world.
A “diagnostic test” on the Typology website helps consumers identify their skin-type and the best products for them. And this practical approach, along with the clean, functional aesthetic of the brand, appeals to both men and women.
“From a science point of view there is no reason to have different products for men and women,” Ning explains. “It’s pure marketing. One of the first decisions we made when we started the company was to not have a marketing team. We want the product to come straight from the lab to the customer, with a very minimalist, standardized design.”
Here, Ning suggests three of his simple and effective products that every man could make part of his daily skincare ritual.
Exfoliating Cleansing Gel
“We are confronted with a lot of pollutions and dust every day, so it’s important to keep good facial hygiene. This PHA and aloe vera cleansing gel features 98% naturally-derived ingredients, and also offers micro-exfoliation. So it gently cleans the skin, without attacking it too much, while also removing the surface of dead skin cells to help your skin regenerate faster.”
Nine Ingredient Face Moisturizer
“Our minimalist moisturizer has just nine ingredients, which means it’s great for all skin types, including people with sensitive or oily skin. The more you exclude from the formula, the less likely it is to cause allergic reactions. And the simplicity of the formula also allows you to have the highest concentration of the active ingredient, which here is hyaluronic acid.”
Purifying Night Serum
“Our night serum is 100% natural, and is applied in the evening before you go to sleep. At night your skin regenerates, so it’s the best time to nourish your skin. This helps to purify and helps with imperfections, and is an oily serum so does not dry your skin.”