On the Rhode to the U.K. With Hailey Bieber

LONDON The road for Hailey Bieber’s beauty brand, Rhode, is getting bigger and longer as she ventures into the U.K. market on Wednesday with her three hero products: the Peptide Glazing Fluid, the Barrier Restore Cream and Peptide Lip Treatment.

The products will all be under the 30 pound mark and available on rhodeskin.com.

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“We are really passionate about making these amazing formulas accessible at this price point, that’s absolutely a tenant of the brand that we’re carrying over to the U.K.,” Melanie Bender, chief executive officer of Rhode, told WWD on a Zoom call with Bieber.

The clean beauty brand has been selling out quickly, allowing it to order larger quantities and reduce costs.

“We crossed the eight-figure threshold over a six month period with just 11 days of selling. We’re going in there and making big orders for a young brand like us, which then lets us tap into more of those cost efficiencies that you typically don’t get until you’re maybe a L’Oréal or Estée Lauder,” said Bender.

Bieber brought Bender into Rhode’s operations in October after four months without a CEO.

Hailey Bieber Eli Russell Linnetz
Hailey Bieber brings Rhode to the U.K.

“We saw eye to eye on every single thing, from formula to sustainability to aesthetic to the priorities of what’s important to me as the founder,” said Bieber, who is the brand’s majority owner, chairwoman, founder and creative director.

“She just really understood that vision and was like, ‘I hear you, I see your vision, I see you and here’s how we can team up and help you scale it and bring it even more to life,’ and that’s a quality that I think takes time to find and it’s very rare, so I had to just snatch her up,” she added.

Bender was the president of clean beauty brand Versed, which she catapulted into a TikTok sensation with more than 50 million organic views via a campaign with creator Aisha Nur for the brand’s Doctor’s Visit Instant Resurfacing Mask.

The collaboration led to the product becoming the second bestselling product on versedskin.com, translating into a 3,000 percent sales increase and a 400 percent sales gain for the product on the brand’s other retail channels.

When Bender was making her decision to join Rhode, she watched “the making of Rhode” on Bieber’s YouTube channel, where she found out that the two of them share the same birthday.

“This is a sign, it’s the universe telling me to trust your gut,” said Bender.

Bieber, who has a following of 10.8 million on TikTok, is often sharing tips from behind the scenes of her life, including fashion, beauty and cooking on her social media channels.

“This brand for me is opening myself up to everyone and I want everybody to be able to be part of it. I love calling it ‘The world of Rhode’ because I really want it to feel like it’s this world that you step into, from the aesthetic to the imagery to the products themselves,” Bieber explained, adding that she’s formula and product obsessed because she’s “gone through so much trial and error with skin care” and wants her products to be as “universal as hopefully possible.”

rhode beauty Hailey Bieber
Rhode’s Peptide Lip Treatment in Watermelon, Salted Caramel and Unscented.

Bender said the brand has had international reach from the getgo — they launched in the U.S. in June last year followed by Canada, and the U.K. seemed like the most natural progression as they planned their expansion strategy.

“About 50 percent of our traffic comes from outside the U.S. despite not really doing any active marketing in those international markets,” said Bender.

“India is one that I’m particularly excited about because of what a huge and growing beauty economy it is. It’s our number two international source of traffic after Canada,” she added.

Bieber is also eager to roll Rhode into Brazil because of her mother’s heritage and the sentimental value that carries.

Since the inception of the brand, the 26-year-old has been firm in not expanding Rhode’s categories too quickly.

In November last year, she introduced a new flavor of the Peptide Lip Treatment in Vanilla Cake as part of her birthday celebrations.

Later this year, Rhode will be officially launching into a new category: makeup.

“Color is going to be the next phase that we’re going to step into still with the approach of curated edited essentials, but I wouldn’t take any beauty category off the table if that makes sense,” said Bieber.

“Rhode is always going to be skin first. Healthy and hydrated skin is always the perfect base for great makeup and you know that’s always going to be the focus even in color,” she reiterated.

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