Yes To Brand Growth: 5 Questions with CMO Stephen Matt


Yes To

Yes To Inc. is in major growth mode. The fun beauty products brand with natural ingredients has hired a new CEO with a track record of scaling up: Ingrid Jackel built Physicians Formula into one of the fastest-growing cosmetics brands in the US.

With its affordable products that are at least 95 percent natural and made from blends of fruits, vegetables and botanical extracts—the brand started out as Yes To Carrots before evolving into blueberries and other ingredients—Yes To is now sold in more than 25,000 stores worldwide. It recruited Jackel to get to the next level. Before joining Physicians Formula, Jackel was an executive with a number of other cosmetics brands.

Yes to logo (2015)

“How could I not say ‘Yes To’ this tremendous opportunity to nurture and expand such a unique and forward-thinking brand?” said Jackal in a press release. “I am extremely excited to share my passion for innovation and 20 years of experience with the entire Yes To team.”

A key member of her new team is chief marketing officer Stephen Matt, whose earlier roles include Sephora and Bare Escentuals. brandchannel spoke with him about the outlook for the brand, how it’s managed its growth to date—and what’s ahead.

brandchannel: Many companies have tried to blend nutrition with beauty products over the past several years. Why has Yes To been successful?

Stephen Matt Yes To

Stephen Matt: We started out as Yes To Carrots. The concept was to work with carrots and pumpkins and other nourishing vegetables that are orange and rich in betacarotene, which are strong antioxidants for skin. That was around 2006, when mainstream consumers were becoming more interested in health and wellness.

People understand what fruits and vegetables do for you internally, and that these extracts also help your skin. Our other concepts include coconut oil as a way to provide ultimate moisture. So we’re taking fruits and vegetables that are in your everyday diet and extracting goodness out of them that you can apply topically.

Yes To

bc: Would you say you’re restricting the brand promise to a traditional definition of beauty products—unlike some products, such as Unilever’s Glowelle beverage, which promise a translation from “inner beauty” to outer beauty by consuming them?

Matt: We complete the picture for someone who is looking to be healthy and do things for themselves. We give them an overall improved outlook for their skin as well as the outlook of enjoying life and taking it one step at a time in terms of being healthy, wealthy and wise.

bc: Many food, beverage and cosmetics brands are getting celebrity endorsements or involvement, such as Jessica Alba’s Honest Company. How do you compete in that kind of marketing environment?

Matt: Yes To stands for a positive outlook on life, natural formulations and the third leg is social giving. In this day, when consumers are looking fo more transparency from brands, that’s becoming more important—especially for millennials. That’s our way of expressing how we want to stand as a brand.

Celebrity endorsements are very interesting but we haven’t found a celebrity who is aligned with our brand’s goals. We haven’t ruled that out, but we are emphasizing social giving.

Yes To

bc: Ingrid Jackel talked about Yes To being a “unique and forward-thinking brand.” How is that so?

Matt: Social giving is one aspect of it. We also like to innovate around the fact that our formulas are anchored by efficacious fruits and vegetables. That’s our point of view in natural skin care and we want to own that space. The combination of nutrition and our formulas is a strong connection for consumers to understand the benefits of natural care.

Our new CEO is pretty accomplished in product innovation, so we will see more focus on product innovation with larger, bigger concepts in a short period of time.

bc: Jackel also talked about your irreverent platform. Tell me about that and what it has accomplished.

Matt: The best way to describe Yes To is as a fun, cheeky brand in what can be a serious category. Our personality, our packaging and our brand voice are about not taking life so seriously. Our packaging is bright and fun and definitely pops off a shelf. It’s a brand personality that’s fun along with creating interesting producdts.

Jackel brings almost 25 years of experience to the brand along with her Physicians Formula success. She’s a good person to take things to the next level in beauty, especially in natural. She’s been a chairwoman, CEO and president, so we are looking forward to that leadership to get us to the next point. We would like to double our size in a four- to five-year period.

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