Doré is the best (and most affordable) gift to skincare that you might not know about yet. Hear from Emily Yeston, the brains behind the business, on how she and partner Garance Doré got to where they are today.
And be sure to scroll to the end for huge savings on Doré. (You can thank us later ;)
NELL: After 11 years of high profile fashion blogging, you and Garance Doré, the brand namesake pivoted to skincare. How and why did this big pivot happen?
EMILY: The shift started in 2019, after Garance and I went to a silent meditation retreat. Prior to that, we had been seeing a lot of changes in the industry. Advertisers were moving away from partnerships and putting much more emphasis on Facebook and Google ads. And after a week of being together but not talking to each other at this silent meditation retreat, we both came out of the experience having had the same insight that we were ready to close the chapter on what we had done with media. It had been a really good run, and we just didn't want to be in a race to the bottom when it came to trying to secure advertisers.
We knew that something needed to change, but we didn't necessarily know exactly what would be next. Fast forward to the pandemic, the skincare idea came as a bit of an AHA! moment. We had been talking about what we could do with the brand. A friend had suggested beauty, and I was very quick to say, "No one needs another beauty brand." But at the same time, I had this insight into the French pharmacy space in particular, and once I saw it, I couldn't not see it. Given Garance's French roots and the French point of view that we had always had on the Doré site, we were really well poised to move into this next chapter centered on skincare.
N: What do you think it was about that experience that led to this shared conclusion to close the media chapter?
E: At the retreat Garance and I finally realized how much pressure we had put on ourselves to keep the media business up over the years and just how exhausting that was. I think each of us saw that so much the intensity of the industry was actually self-inflicted and not something that we had to keep opting into. During a week of silence, I moved through a process of forgiving myself for all the pressure I'd put upon myself. It was such a gift to see that life could be simpler than we had made it.
N: Can you break it down for us? What exactly is "French pharmacy skincare" and what is "clean beauty"?
E: French pharmacy skincare is skincare that's celebrated for being clinically efficacious. That means that products are actually tested by dermatologists and scientists to have real results behind them. We use technology to tell us, for example, how long does the skin stay hydrated after you apply a product. We're actually using data to reinforce what we're saying around a message. A lot of French pharmacy skincare is typically formulated for sensitive skin. It's also typically affordable. To us it was essential to have formulas that are that high performing but at an accessible price point.The French really make you feel like beauty doesn't need to be expensive to be good.
Clean can mean 100 different things depending on who you're talking to, but for us, clean really meant safe. And so all of our products are EWG verified for consumer health and safety.
N: Currently, the line is 3 products: Le Cleanser, Le Baume and La Crème (all of which I'm obsessed with). How do we get everything we need from these products?
E: The myth of skincare that the marketing world has sold to most customers is that more is more, when really less is more. We found that our skin is healthiest when we pare things down and get back to basics.
Skincare should really be a three step process: cleansing, treating, and then moisturizing. So we've started with a cleansing option which is incredibly gentle and hydrating. It's so important not to use a cleanser that's drying out your skin, which is that tight feeling that people get after they wash their face with something sudsy. That's usually an ingredient that's just creating a foaminess and is not actually cleaning your skin.
After cleansing, treatment would be second, which is something that we're working on formulating now. If you have an issue that you're dealing with--hyperpigmentation or acne for example--you would use a serum step. We have them coming!
And then the moisturizing step is the hydrating step that's meant to lock it all. Our cream is formulated to be used at night and in the morning, and our balm is a specialty product that's meant to create that extra boost of hydration, and not necessarily just for your face, but other parts of the body that might be suffering from incredibly dry skin.
We wanted to start simple encouraging our customers to take a step back, reassess how many steps were in their routine, and start to pare things back. Good skin also comes from consistency, and it's hard to stay consistent when you have a ten step routine. So, bringing it back to basics and doing it every day is really what helps you achieve great skin.
N: Well, I have to say, sitting across from you, I have not stopped looking at how amazing your skin is. And it doesn't look like you're wearing any makeup!
E: Thank you so much. I have a little bit of Saie Slip Tint on for SPS coverage, but that's it.
N: Let’s talk about your affordable price point! Your products are between $12-36. How is it possible? Is everybody else just charging way too much? How is Doré so inexpensive by comparison?
E: The majority of the profit margin in beauty goes towards marketing spend and operations, not the cost of making the product. We fought really hard to be able to retail our products for as little as possible, because that accessibility was incredibly important to us. Every consumer should have great clean options for skincare, even in “mass” retail. Just because a cream is $300 does not mean it costs more to make or that the ingredients are more expensive. It means that the brand has a 95% margin on their products. This was something we had become very well-aware of as we worked with larger institutional beauty brands over the years. And that wasn't a cost that we felt should be passed through to the consumer.
N: From one co-founder to another, what do you see as the biggest benefit of partnership over sole-preneurship?
E: I think partnership is so essential in running a business and totally undervalued. The myth of the "girl boss" was a narrative that was sold to us without the depth or the complexity of what it is to run a business. Having a partner to do it with and to be your support system and to bounce ideas around with and to go through struggles with is so important. Also, I think it's really hard to think that someone can do everything. We have natural skills and talents and abilities, and we should be able to celebrate those!
In our case, Garance is truly a visionary, an artist, a creative. She has an amazing eye, she has amazing taste, she has amazing sensibility, and she has a really great way of connecting with people. I'm more of an operator. I like structure, I like processes, I like numbers. So our relationship of bringing those two skill sets together has created a partnership that has survived for over a decade, because there's a lot of respect for what each other does and a lot of support everyday with helping each other through any of the challenges that we have.
N: I completely agree. Maybe I could have launched Kibou without Steph, but it wouldn't have been at all what it is today--not the brand, not the beauty, not the community. It wouldn't have been full of joy and certainly wouldn't have been in quality or beauty or anything.
So on the topic of what you gravitate towards, what are you loving most about your new role?
E: I’m loving connecting with customers and I'm loving connecting with the teams in the stores where you can buy Dore products. The education component has been really fulfilling and really gratifying.
N: What’s the biggest challenge?
E: There are not enough hours in the day to do everything that you want to do at the level that you want to do it all the time, and you just have to accept it.
N: Outside of Doré, assuming that you're not going to do this until the day you die, what's next in ten or 20 years for you?
E: I have no idea, because I had no idea I would be doing this. And so what I've learned, especially through moments like the silent meditation retreat, is to just keep taking everything one day at a time and to not create expectations for myself, for the future.
N: Emily, thanks so much for taking the time to talk with me today. Before I let you go, I have to know, what’s in your Kibou right now?!
E: My phone, my Doré Le Baume, AirPods, extra doggie pick up bags, sunglasses, my Kibou hand sanitizer, and my keys!
And check out their #supersimple advice on how to wash your face HERE.
“The key to the #supersimple way of life that Doré believes in, is that you need to know how to do the simple things (like washing your face) very, very well.”
Love this, just ordered the trio!