Online Exclusives

Recipe for Success

By Christine Esposito, Associate Editor | February 3, 2010

Heather Reier has grown Cake Beauty from the confines of her kitchen to international stage.

The beauty industry is filled with stories of the entrepreneur who started out with an idea and dream. While many will launch a product, few will actually make it in the competitive world of cosmetics. Cake Beauty is one company that has defied the odds.

Founded 2003, this Toronto-based firm has grown considerably from its early days in founder Heather Reier’s kitchen. With a staff, office and warehouse space that’s tripled in only six years, Cake Beauty sports more than 30 permanent SKUs and a rolling roster of limited edition products sold everywhere from Manitoba to the Middle East and from Alaska to Australia.

Reier’s goal was to create a line of products that was the true marriage of style, innovation and supreme quality.

“Much has changed since my days in the kitchen,” she said, “however my goal and vision remains the same.”

Part of that vision is to focus on natural ingredients and create products that are multi-purpose, evidenced by its hero SKU, Satin Sugar Refreshing Hair and Body powder, a talc-free product that can be used as a dry shampoo and on the body. As a first of its kind in the beauty marketplace, Satin Sugar developed a celebrity following and essentially put Cake on the map.
Heather Reier, founder, Cake Beauty
Among the brand’s newest products is the Milk Made Body collection, a set of products that cleanse, polish and nourish skin. The range includes a hydrating moisture milk, frothing bath and shower cream, sugar scrub and manicure set that includes tools and Cake’s best-selling Velveteen Hand Crème.

All of Cake Beauty’s products are manufactured in Canada, and Reier takes pride in making them as eco-friendly as possible.

“Our 100% paraben-free formulas are 90-95% naturally based so you can feel good about indulging in our luxurious skin treats. We only use plastic bottles and caps and paper tubes and boxes which are recyclable,” Reier said.
Apart from gift sets, the firm uses minimal to no outer packaging beyond the bottle or jar, a look that Reier says works well in an open-sell environment.

That environment is competitive, and some would argue that Reier’s company is just another one of those firms that take a minimalist approach to skin care, ala Bliss or Philosophy.

“Our greatest points of difference are our formulas, ingredients and our multi-purpose product focus,” said Ruth Goudie, director of operations.“We are a stylish brand with ‘farmers market’ formulas that provide results that we stand behind. This has been the cornerstone to Cake Beauty and a big part of our success. In addition, many of our products are designed for the ‘girl on the go’ and are therefore multi-purpose. This sets us apart and been key to our growth over the past few years particularly.”
The Cake Beauty Milk Made Collection.
According to Goudie, Cake’s collection is much tighter than many of its competitors—and with good reason.

“We launch front runners and strategically fill retail shelves with productive SKUs,” she said, calling Cake “the marriage of style and substance.”

It is a combination that has helped grow the company.

“We fared quite well through 2008 and into 2009,” Goudie told Happi, noting that a particular highlight has been the company’s growth via Sephora. “We have benefited from the growth within Sephora as they continue to open new doors across Canada,” she said.

Cake regularly ranks within the top five skin care brands in Sephora Canada and Cake sales at Sephora are up 92% year over year, according to company officials.

But aside from the expansion with Sephora, growth in general “was certainly not a ‘cake walk’ this year,” Goudie noted. Many of Cake’s retailers started to run lean on inventory, scaled back purchases and wanted just-in-time delivery.

“This, in turn, affected our forecasted revenue plans,” she said.

Another component to Cake success has been its stakeholders’ ability to make critical decisions, especially as the recession hit the beauty business. For example, this past summer Cake’s team collectively agreed to move to a four-day workweek and take Fridays off.

“It was the right move that allowed us to reduce expenses, maintain a great team and proactively plan for the balance of the year—not to mention enjoying the additional work-life balance and a nice Canadian summer,” Goudie said.

To further bolster its business, Cake became more promotional over the past year regarding its wholesale and retail operations on—a move described by company officials as “essential” in order to compete.

Looking ahead, Reier and Goudie are excited about Cake’s prospects in 2010, pointing to a number of planned product launches.

“Plus, we have some very exciting business opportunities that will increase our distribution,” Goudie added.

Reier, who just had her first baby at the end of 2009, remains committed to steering Cake’s success—which has already been recognized by the industry. Reier confirmed she has been approached by larger firms interested in acquiring Cake Beauty, but the timing was never quite right.

“It is a great complement to have a multinational take interest in what I have created,” Reier said. “I don’t have immediate plans to sell Cake Beauty. That being said, it may make since at some point to partner with a multinational to assist Cake in reaching an even greater potential. I have a lot of passion for the business and a great desire to see it become a larger success.”
blog comments powered by Disqus
  • Skin Care of One’s Own

    Skin Care of One’s Own

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||October 3, 2016
    Nu Skin’s ageLOC Me—which melds the worlds of smart-phone technology, efficacious ingredients and personalization

  • Proof Positive

    Proof Positive

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||October 3, 2016
    Testing service providers enable companies to back up their claims and stay in compliance with regulations.

  • Change Is in the Air

    Change Is in the Air

    Doreen Wang, BrandZ ||October 3, 2016
    Technology is changing the personal care market

  • A Facial Bar Grows in Brooklyn

    A Facial Bar Grows in Brooklyn

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||October 24, 2016
    With three doors in Canada, Blitz Facial Bar opens its first US location in one of the hippest areas of New York.

  • Free and Clear

    Free and Clear

    Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor||October 17, 2016
    OY-L aims for zero-chemical skin care.

  • Coming Clean on a Host of Issues

    October 17, 2016
    Cleaning Products Conference is set for Nov. 9-11, 2016 in Washington DC.

  • Let the Magic Begin!

    Let the Magic Begin!

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||October 10, 2016
    IFSCC Congress gets underway at Walt Disney World this month.

  • Ogee Opens for Business

    Ogee Opens for Business

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||October 10, 2016
    Banking on the power of jojoba oil, a Vermont-based start-up is the newest player in organic luxury skin care.

  • P&G’s Latest Patents

    P&G’s Latest Patents

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||October 10, 2016
    A look at recent patent and IP related news from the biggest household and personal care player in the US.

  • A Cosmetic Armor Against Pollution

    A Cosmetic Armor Against Pollution

    Julia Comas, Cristina Davi, Elena Canadas, Laia Gonzalez, Raquel Delgado, Lipotec SAU||October 3, 2016
    Lipotec’s Pollushield creates a barrier between skin and pollutants and boosts the antioxidative potential of skin.

  • Cosmetic Chemists Head to Orlando Next Month

    Cosmetic Chemists Head to Orlando Next Month

    September 26, 2016
    Organizing Chair Guy Padulo explains why you should attend the IFSCC Congress.

  • Restoring Rembrandt

    Restoring Rembrandt

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||September 26, 2016
    Ranir LLC has acquired Rembrandt, an iconic name in teeth whitening, and plans to make it a staple in the value segment.

  • Active Agents

    Active Agents

    September 19, 2016
    On the surface, surfactants may seem staid, but the market, and the supplier activity driving it, is bubbling.

  • Jam On It!

    Jam On It!

    Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor||September 19, 2016
    Jamberry sees success in artsy nail accessories.

  • Expanding Erbaviva

    Expanding Erbaviva

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||September 13, 2016
    A farm-to-bottle organic brand celebrates its 20th anniversary with a new look, new products and plans to expand in the US.

  • Vintage Glamour Rules the Runways at NYFW

    Vintage Glamour Rules the Runways at NYFW

    Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor||September 12, 2016
    A look at trends in cosmetics and hairstyling.

  • Rock n Roll

    Rock n Roll

    Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor||September 6, 2016
    A new sunscreen applicator is slowly making noise in the industry.

  • Lauder’s Latest Patents

    Lauder’s Latest Patents

    September 1, 2016
    A composition with NIR light emitting material, a skin care device and more awarded to this beauty business giant.

  • ‘Lash’-ing Out!

    ‘Lash’-ing Out!

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||August 29, 2016
    All eyes are on Lash Star Beauty, a lash-centric beauty brand that recently made its QVC debut.

  • Long Term Sustainability In the Nonwovens Market

    Long Term Sustainability In the Nonwovens Market

    August 23, 2016
    Learn more at Cleaning Products USA, Nov. 9-11, 2016

  • Fro Yo!

    Fro Yo!

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||August 22, 2016
    Project Beauty dishes out Hairgurt, a line of vitamin-rich hair shampoos and conditioning masques.

  • TLC for Those Who Need It Most

    TLC for Those Who Need It Most

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||August 22, 2016
    New curriculum debuting at Bellus Academy helps estheticians treat a population that needs TLC.

  • And Now for Something Completely Different…

    And Now for Something Completely Different…

    August 15, 2016
    Phlur is out to make you rethink fragrance packaging.

  • The Butler Does It

    The Butler Does It

    August 15, 2016
    A new green cleaning product at your service.

  • Individualism IS The American Way

    Individualism IS The American Way

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||August 15, 2016
    Why blue hair and BB creams still thrill US consumers.

  • Red, Black & Blue

    Red, Black & Blue

    August 8, 2016
    No matter who wins the US Presidential election, Americans expect their finances to get bloodied and bruised in 2017.

  • It

    It's a Shoe In!

    Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor||August 8, 2016
    Butter London links up with footwear designer for special collaboration.

  • The Power of Three

    The Power of Three

    Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor||August 1, 2016
    Iles Formula tri-system for tresses garners a celebrity following.