E564: Julie Fredrickson, CEO & Co-founder of Stowaway Cosmetics, is a direct-to-consumer innovator taking on a $60b industry




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about this episode

Direct-to-consumer is one of the hottest trends in our industry. No retail, no malls, straight to the customer, and please pass the savings. Today Jason talks to direct-to-consumer entrepreneur Julie Fredrickson, who is innovating in a $60b market ripe for disruption: cosmetics. Stowaway creates make-up in small sizes that you can carry and finish, thereby reducing the inefficiency and waste that characterizes an industry which is 70% controlled by 10 conglomerates. Stowaway, co-founded by Julie and Chelsa Crowley, is also one of Jason’s investments, so it’s a great conversation about how he became involved, his thoughts on the space, Julie’s experiences as a female founder, the power of a simple message for your product, the importance of a good referral program, what it’s like to take on a backwards but powerful industry, and much more.

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  • Paul Towers

    Very interesting to see a company like this get angel funding, but as Jason outlined in the episode other companies like Uber and Airbnb are showing that “Tech” doesn’t just have to be 100% hardware or software focused. There can be a mashup of companies looking to combine the benefits of tech/apps/online presence with a physical offline good or service.

    As a male I’m obviously not as qualified to comment on the subject, but one thing I did pick up on was Julie’s comment about mascara lasting 3 months and their desire to create a product that customers will use 100% of. Therefore I wonder if it makes sense to also sell their products as a subscription (in addition to standalone purchases).

    I.e. If you know as a consumer you will go through the products on average in 3 months, then why not organise a quarterly subscription. That way stowaway can potentially have greater certainty of re-occurring revenue and the customer doesn’t get to the end of their supply and then think about ordering, only to pick some other brand up at the shops in the meantime because they have run out.

    The only challenge maybe that as their product line expands you want people to continually try new things (i.e. different shades of lip stick / blush etc). This could potentially be overcome by advertising to the user in the week or so leading up to their new order (i.e. do you want to add an additional lipstick / change the color) or by including small samples in their subscription to up sell so they go from ordering 1 lip stick a quarter to 2 or 3, etc.

    Anyway another great episode + their website looks pretty good so I think this has a heap of potential.

  • Dale Cates

    Nothing new with what she’s doing. Amway had a subscription like service called Ditto Delivery, and is the industry standard for direct sales. This company is just another me-to.