Ana Wang

Beauty Oils

I started PTL Beauty as part of Shopify’s internal employee build-a-business initiative and developed and launched the entire project within 1 month, in April 2016. I didn’t think too deeply about the concept, choosing instead to challenge myself to bring a product to market as quickly as possible. So I decided on a product that I actually wanted myself, that I could quite accessibly source.

The concept was initially to build a D2C brand featuring 5 beauty oil blends, each targeting a specific skin challenge/type. Beauty oils were just starting to trend in the beauty space around this time. At the time, I was just exiting the beauty blogging space, which I had accidentally become a part of, as a byproduct of the shift happening within the fashion blogging space (that I was a part of) becoming more lifestyle-oriented by the mid 2010s.

At the time, I had my eye on a specific brand that I really wanted to try, but at over $150 per 1 oz bottle, I could never afford it. So I decided to knock off the general concept (luxurious, filler-free beauty oils) and do it without a heavy markup, just a fair one.

My goal was to provide an affordable yet luxurious product, becoming the go-to independent brand for beauty oils, while maintaining integrity in ingredients. I sourced pure, filler-free cold-pressed oils and hand-bottled my own blends, and designed all packaging and marketing material.

During the project, which ran for 2.5 years, I pivoted the concept after analyzing sales figures and determining that the majority of sales were for 2 specific beauty oils, out of the total 5. As a product with a limited shelf life, I could not indefinitely store raw materials, so I decided to offer a standard beauty oil blend (the bestseller) with various essential oil blends to provide a novel, sensorial experience to customers. PTL Beauty Oil in Madge became Beauty Oil. Initially, I thought that I would create limited edition “pop-up” collections, to experiment with a philosophy on consumption that I was interested in pushing further: the ongoing balance between novelty and essentiality, and how sustainable it is for a business to be focused so far on minimalism that there is no “oomph” to product or consumer cycles. I didn’t quite get that far!

After pivoting the concept, I got a bit busy with other projects, so PTL Beauty is no longer active. This project gave me the space to explore and experiment with marketing and design and is the most consumer-accessible product I’ve created so far. I was also able to, during this project, solidify my views and aesthetic, with full control over the brand direction, which received many accolades on Instagram among influencers and shoppers.

The branding was inspired by Parisian drugstores, my 2018 trip to Tokyo, and colour, while really aiming to embrace the calling card of many D2C brands that were emerging around this time: fair pricing for a quality product.