Ativo, Ouli’s Ointment and Kreyol Essence have populated their sites with several brands to amplify product offerings, broaden audiences, lift sales and highlight under-the-radar companies. “I see this as a valuable partnership between brands to get in front of a different audience as well as capitalize on a one-stop shopping experience for customers,” says Tracy Castro, co-founder of Canadian skincare brand Ativo. “Traditional retailers usually carry the same consistent products in their store and there are not a lot of opportunities for other brands to be showcased on shelves.”
In April, Ativo started adding third-party brands to its site under a tab it calls The Boutique and about one month later opened its first brick-and-mortar store in Coquitlam, British Columbia. The Boutique carries about 25 makeup, skincare, candle and lifestyle products from brands such as Kari Gran, TOK Beauty, Vitamasques and Hudson & Oak. Brands in The Boutique are carried in Ativo’s physical location as well.
The Boutique expands Ativo’s assortment with brands that don’t directly compete with it, but that provide newness for customers. The selection under the Ativo brand contains over 30 products in cleansers, oils, moisturizers, toners, serums, body care and haircare. Its bestsellers include Smoothing Cream Cleanser, Vital C Brightening Toner and 3D Dew Drops 2% Hyaluronic Acid Serum.
“We have faced challenges landing our products onto the shelves of some boutiques, so we wanted to be part of the solution and showcase brands that are not that well-known or carried locally in stores here,” says Castro. “We want to be unique instead of being just another competitor in a saturated space.”
Ativo purchases inventory outright for The Boutique and steers clear of consignment or commission arrangements to differentiate itself from other boutiques and online marketplaces. Opening orders typically run from $500 to $1,000 to test the market. Ativo currently doesn’t charge brands for marketing, but Castro says that might change. Brands are asked to mention Ativo as a stockist on their sites.
While sales from The Boutique have yet to make their definitive mark on Ativo’s bottom line, Castro says that early feedback from customers has been encouraging. She’s hoping to enlarge the assortment by four to five brands by the end of this year and another six in the categories of personal care, feminine hygiene, candles and home care after that. Brands from the United States are being prioritized.