Three years ago, Christy Prunier‘s 7-year-old daughter Willa was taking a shower using her younger sister Julia‘s Johnson & Johnson baby products. “Why isn’t there something for me?” she asked her mom.
Christy started thinking about her own skin woes — horrible acne in her teens, skin cancer later on. Though she has flawless skin as an adult (“I’ve spent thousands on lasers! I’ve tried everything, and I continue to.”), she wanted better for her daughters. So she and Willa scoured department stores, drugstores, and everywhere in between for tween-appropriate products. They found virtually nothing, and thus Willa the company was born.
“We did lots of focus groups with girls and with moms, uptown and downtown,” Christy explained. “We tried to figure out things like why they weren’t washing their face. Well, they’re afraid of getting products too close to their eyes, or they’re not fun. They’re not applying moisturizer because they’re afraid what’s out there will clog their pores or cause breakouts or make their skin shiny. They’re not putting on sunblock because they don’t like the stickiness of it. We learned all these things, so for each formulation we had to really start addressing the issue of making it enjoyable.”
This week Willa launched its first dozen products, proving that a tween beauty brand can be both aspirational and accessible. The all-natural formulas come in sophisticated packaging, with the prices falling between $1.75 (a single-serving face mask) and $14.50 (tinted moisturizer with SPF). While the brand targets the 7-14 crowd, the paraben and sulfate-free products appeal to adults as well. The foaming face wash and moisturizing face serum are especially grown lady-friendly, as are the addictive lip balms.
With deodorant, body scrub, and more in the works, the Pruniers’ dream has finally become a reality. “It’s taken a long time for everything to be exactly right,” Christy explained. “You only have one shot to make an impression, and all of us are so discerning about products. You don’t go back to them if they’re not exactly right.”
this is some kind of spaceship or something.