When content creator and beauty influencer Desi Perkins launched her eyewear brand, Dezi, last summer, every last pair of sunglasses sold out in under an hour. Now, Perkins is embarking on her next ambitious endeavour with her new skin-care line, Dezi Skin, which went live today with a fragrance-free vitamin C serum called Claro Que C.
The Spanglish play on words isn't the only homage to Perkins's Mexican-American heritage — the ingredients are, too. While her tía suggested putting Vicks VapoRub (a Latinx beauty staple) in the serum, Perkins stuck to a blend that takes her back to her summers in Mexico, featuring Mexican plum fruit, mango, guava, avocado, and more. She recalls learning about how beneficial these ingredients were for her skin, and why they were included in DIY recipes. "Everything I love about skin care was instilled from my family and their Mexican remedies," she says.
Anyone can appreciate the high-quality formula, but making sense of the product's name — Claro Que C — requires at least some Spanish-language comprehension. That said, Perkins was more concerned with creating representation in the beauty industry than choosing a product name everyone would understand. She points to the many French brand and product names she's had difficulty pronouncing over the year, though that never stopped her from giving it her best. "It's fine if you butcher it," she says, "as long as you're trying."
Perkins is enthusiastic about joining the wave of influencer-founded brands hitting the market. This boom might earn some skepticism from those that feel influencers are "cashing in" on their followings, but Perkins believes that content creators can make for the perfect founders. For starters, they test out many products sent by brands, and gain insights from their collaborations: Perkins worked with sunglasses brand Quay before launching her own eyewear and beauty brands like Ole Henriksen prior to Dezi Skin. "Not only did I learn so much from working with brands along the way, but I also picked up on what I would do maybe differently," she says.
Influencers also have a close-up view into consumer feedback from their followings. "I'm able to hear what they want and what their concerns are," Perkins says. From that unique intel, she was able to see that consumers were looking for more products with form and function. While clinically-based brands might deliver in performance, some found them lacking in consumer experience, and vice versa. So, Perkins set out to make effective formulas with beautiful experiences and packaging — a priority for every product released under her brand.
That attention to detail is exactly why Dezi Skin went to market with only one product, not an entire lineup. Perkins didn't want to overwhelm customers, and furthermore, she doesn't expect them to only use her skin-care products, so she's happy to enter the market slowly. She also wants customers to be able to tell when a specific product is working for them, which isn't possible when you're experimenting with various products at once.
So why did Perkins choose to enter the skin-care business before makeup, when it was her makeup tutorials that propelled her to YouTube fame? That's a question she anticipates getting a lot. Her response is that she wanted to take it back to the lessons she learned from her first passion: sketching and painting. There, Perkins learned the importance of prepping the canvas, not jumping straight to colour. "At the end of the day, what's important to me is my canvas," she says.
As for what's next from the brand, the founder gave us two hints: hydration and glowy skin. But we wouldn't be surprised to see makeup come from the YouTuber sooner rather than later, as her growing businesses prove that the Desi Perkins empire is only getting started. "You never know. I might come out with a toaster next year," she teases, "but I do have some more ideas for the future."
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