Scarlett Johansson is joining the sea of celebrity skin care founders. Last June, the two-time Oscar nominee announced she would be entering the beauty market with her own line, and on Tuesday, the 37-year-old actress launched an Instagram account and a website offering a sneak peek of her brand, The Outset.
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“I’ve been the face of several luxury brands throughout my career, and all of those experiences were really wonderful,” Johansson wrote in one post, referencing her years with L’Oréal, Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabbana, and others. “But—how do I put this? I guess I always felt like I was playing a character in those campaigns, and as I evolved I wanted to create and represent a brand that was true to me.” Using the hashtag #TheStartOfYou, Johansson’s preview of The Outset suggests a product line centered on eco-friendly and plant-based ingredients.
Johansson will serve as the chairman of the new company, which launched on March 1. Cofounder Kate Foster will be the CEO. Foster was previously founder and CEO of SwearBy, a digital site focused on word-of-mouth product recommendations.
The Outset has funding from the Najafi Companies, a Phoenix-based private investment firm founded by Jahm Najafi, vice chair and partial owner of the Phoenix Suns and McLaren Formula One Race Team. In addition to backing the NBA team and other sports ventures such as StubHub, BodyBuilding.com and Mission Advancement Corp. with Colin Kaepernick, Najafi has a notable portfolio of celebrity-founded lifestyle brands, including Tracee Ellis Ross’ Pattern Beauty and Shay Mitchell’s bag company, Beis.
WWD reported last year that Najafi invested between $5 million to $10 million to fund The Outset launch. When Johansson announced that the beauty company was in the works, the mother of two said she took a step away from her existing endorsement deals to focus on her own venture.
Johansson is joining a long list of stars with cosmetics brands. Rihanna, Jessica Alba, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Lopez already have their own beauty lines, all of which tend to boast an emphasis on clean ingredients, simplicity, accessibility and inclusiveness. But the crowded market isn’t deterring Johansson from entering the skin care space, which helped make Rihanna a billionaire last year.
The cluttered market did not deter Najafi from investing. “The Outset is a special opportunity; for us to partner with an artist, it comes down to core values, passion and commitment…” says Dean Schnider, partner at The Najafi Companies. “Scarlett has been perfecting her own skincare formulations for years and the amount of genuine passion and intentionality that has led to The Outset is a true differentiator in the marketplace.”
While The Outset is a serious business venture, Johansson’s husband, Saturday Night Live star Colin Jost, couldn’t resist making with the wisecracks in the comments of the new Instagram account: “Is this the best way to contact you?” Jost asked a Johansson portrait. “I’m starting a similar brand called ‘Part of a Face’ and would love to use this photo. Thanks.”