founder Ning Li launches cosmetics startup Typology

Meet Typology, a new Paris-based startup that designs and sells directly to consumer quality skincare and cosmetics products. The startup has been founded by co-founder Ning Li and is officially launching today.

“Typology is a relatively ambitious project. We want to challenge FMCG [fast-moving consumer goods] brands with a digital pure player,” Ning Li told me. “I spent all my career working in e-commerce. I’ve seen a lot of industries move from offline to online. But some industries, such as cosmetics, food and do-it-yourself, have been migrating to online channels more slowly.”

And it starts with a list of values. Typology wants to differentiate itself from cosmetics giants with simple lists of ingredients and no dangerous product for your skin or the environment. The company also promises that all its products are vegan, cruelty-free and made in France.

So the startup ticks all the right boxes. But if you’ve been following up-and-coming skincare companies, there are countless brands that make the same promises.

The main difference is that Typology doesn’t want to become yet another small-batch beauty brand. The team wants to create an e-commerce giant with multiple sub-brands, hundreds of products and an aggressive e-commerce strategy.

“Unilever, L’Oréal and P&G represent over 50 percent of the market. And on the other side, you have a ton of independent brands that are quite small and will probably never stand out,” Ning Li said.

Typology plans to launch 10 different product lines over the coming months. Each line will have its own concept and its own sub-brand. Everything has been developed in-house.

Today, the startup is launching three sub-brands. “Raw” is all about mixing products at home. You can order a kit and you’ll get oils, powders, spoons and a small box to create your own mask, hair oil, beard oil, etc. You can also order each product individually — Raw products are only made using one ingredient.

In the “Lab” product line, you’ll only find cosmetic serums. The company has launched six different tiny bottles for now. Each serum has its own set of properties depending on your needs.

Finally, “Ten” products are basic skincare products with less than 10 ingredients. The company is starting with face, hand and body moisturizers. Soon, the startup will also launch shower gels, shampoos, micellar water and a makeup remover.

When it comes to branding and packaging, Typology is betting everything on a minimalist design. I’m sure branding experts will tell you that clean, white labels mean transparency and simplicity. It’s also worth noting that Typology is a unisex brand.

The company wants to use recyclable packaging as much as possible by relying on glass and aluminum — you’ll get plastic bottles if you order bigger products though.

For now, Typology is only available in France, but the company plans to expand to other European countries very quickly. And they probably mean it as they have raised a significant seed round.

The startup has raised a $10 million funding round from Alven Capital, Marc Simoncini, Xavier Niel and Firstminute Capital. There are now 12 people working for Typology.

Some sub-brands will likely be instant hits while others might not attract that many customers. Typology is taking advantage of its bank account to try many different things and experiment when it comes to positioning. It’s going to be interesting to see how the product lineup evolves over the years.