“We were both boy moms,” said actress Julie Bowen of connecting with business partner Jill Biren, who sent their kids to the same elementary school in Los Angeles.
“We’d see each other at birthday parties and were always friendly and said hi,” continued the “Modern Family” star. “But the instigation of this was one particular birthday party when we were complaining about the way they were starting to smell.”
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Their pre-teen boys, that is. Bowen, who has three, joked that they would soon be drowning themselves in cologne to cover up the body odor. But for Biren, with two of her own, it sparked an idea: Why not create a beauty line of their own?
“She led me and together we have forged this path,” Bowen said of Biren.
Formerly the director of style and luxury at Condé Nast in L.A., Biren had cultivated relationships in beauty for over a decade.
“When Julie and I were talking, I felt pretty confident that I could tap into my resources and how to go to market,” Biren said. “We’ve been doing this together, a very small, scrappy team. And we lead with the fact that we’re moms. We’re on this journey.”
The duo decided to launch JB Skrub — playing off their shared initials — a colorful range of skin care for boys and those who identify with boyhood. Out Tuesday, they launch direct-to-consumer with five stock keeping units: a body wash and body spray for $20 each, a $16 face wash, $18 face lotion and $20 toner pads. Self-funded, they project seven-figure sales in their first year.
Formulated in Southern California, the products are pediatrician and dermatologist approved, Biren said. The brand follows Credo’s “clean” guidelines using ethically sourced ingredients and PCR plastic (coming from China), she added: “For packaging, we utilize a company that’s based locally here in Los Angeles.”
“Our goal is to get more and more environmentally conscious and reach, obviously, zero waste,” chimed in Bowen. “But we had to start somewhere and we couldn’t wait for the entire market to catch up. We would love to make everything in the U.S. so we weren’t shipping stuff overseas, because that’s wasteful. We’d love to support the American economy. But for now, we had to start where we could start and that was with as much PCR as we can use.”
Every element of the creation process was made with kids in mind. Using pumps in packaging, for example, meant they could help with portion control. And determining that the target consumer preferred scented products, they opted for botanical orange peel.
“Our sons, plus their friends, were our test audience to market,” Biren said.
But the brand isn’t just for boys, Bowen added. “You know, women, girls can use it.…We just happen to have boys. And that’s who we developed this for, but the product is good for all. The goal was to give kids ownership of their hygiene routine.”