A Houston-based beauty brand is about to blow up. All-natural skincare line Camellia Alise will soon be sold on Walmart.com and Jet.com after founder Lyndsey Brantley nabbed a deal with the multinational mega retailer at last month's annual open call for new products.
Brantley's "Fresh Start" pre-shave exfoliant impressed Walmart buyers enough to add it to the online inventory, a validating moment for the Houstonian whose brand of sensitive skin must-haves was born from her own battle with PCOS. Symptoms left her skin prone to irritation and ingrown hairs, and no products on the market seemed to help–so, using her medical aesthetics license, she made her own.
From shaving cream to face wash, Camellia Alise products pair camellia (or tea seed) oil with other high-quality ingredients to help naturally prevent razor bumps, ingrowns, acne scars, and stretch marks. Brantley heard from enough customers that her stuff was legit, so she took it on the road last month, joining 450 other business owners all lobbying Walmart for a spot in its inventory.
In two meetings—with buyers from Walmart's multicultural and wet shave departments—Brantley pitched her products. The situation was not unlike Shark Tank. "It's scary, it's high-pressure," she says. "They're looking at you saying, okay, show me what you have."
She did, and they bit. Buyers told Brantley they loved the smell, texture and professional, store-ready packaging of her products. They also gave her feedback, like using bigger jars that are less easily stolen off store shelves.
For now, Brantley's exfoliant will be sold online-only, but she plans to return to next year's open call to try and get an in-store deal. She attributes some of her first-time success to having her manufacturing data on-hand for buyers: "I had all the science behind what I was doing, and that made a difference," she says.
Brantley's Walmart deal comes on the heels of another with Amazon, and the entrepreneur has no intention of stopping anytime soon. "I'm also going after Target in a month or two," she says. "I'm trying to be similar to the Dollar Shave Club one day. I want to be a big name shaving company that is a household brand for natural, preventative measures for razor bumps, because that's one of the things that sets me apart ... it's a natural alternative to what's currently on store shelves. I'm really excited to bring it to the market."
Brantley was one of 20 Texas entrepreneurs—including two from Houston—to compete at the open call, though she says it wasn't a competition at all. "Everybody is rooting for the other person," she says. "It was such a great experience to meet all of these other entrepreneurs. ... Once they come out of their meeting you're like, how did yours go?"
She commends Walmart for investing its resources into U.S.-made products and businesses—and, of course, she's even happier to be among the chosen.
"For me, it's a little life-changing," Brantley says. "I'm just super excited to have the opportunity to market my product and my brand so much farther than I could on my own."