https://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle-By Penelope Green
Chrissy Teigen, the appealing multi-hyphenate (model-cookbook author-mum, pop-star wife and sassy social media cynosure), and Kris Jenner, the Kardashian-Jenner matriarch presiding over a portfolio of brands with a total value of $2 billion (A$2.63 billion), as Forbes estimated last October, have some products to sell, and a new company. They’ve been teasing it out on social media for a week, in a mini-movie in which Teigen plays the fool to Jenner’s branding dominatrix, with the former mock-pitching the latter on a new product — any product will do — and being whacked in the face for her lousy ideas.
“I want my own product line because honestly everyone has one already,” Teigen says in the Instagram video, satirising the world of celebrity sponsorship she inhabits. “I even have one.” (Teigen’s company, Cravings, sells cookware and other things.)
The reveal of the new product’s name, Safely, follows a punchline invoking a sex act.
Despite the women’s send-up of influencer capitalism and its often random items, it is a fully formed brand, a line of vaguely plant-based cleaning products that has long been in development, as it happens, although right now it is a business well timed to the cultural moment.
One year on from lockdown, we are still twitchy about hygiene — focused on our sticky counters, and possible sticky encounters — and still bulk-buying anti-bacterial wipes.
Yet many consumers are eager, says one market research company, to not only spend more time cleaning their homes in the future, but spend more money on products without harsh chemicals to do so. As a result, sales of home cleaning products in the US, a more than US$160 million category in 2019, are projected to nearly double over the next six years.
Despite playing the fool, Teigen is no dummy. And Jenner’s business acumen no longer needs to be detailed. While the two women are Safely’s pitchmen and investors, they are not alone in the venture.
Emma Grede, a London-born fashion entrepreneur who is a founder, with Khloé Kardashian, of Good American, the inclusive denim brand (and whose husband, Jens Grede, is a partner in Skims, Kim Kardashian West’s shapewear company), is Safely’s originator. She was canny enough to investigate the product category and to know whom to team up with, and Teigen and Jenner, who are also her friends, were sharp enough to say yes, all of which the three women explained in a Zoom interview Friday.
All three admitted to being neatniks, but Jenner, as always, took the lead, outlining behaviour that would make Marie Kondo proud: weekends spent organising her closets and lining up the points of her shoes just so; the habitual purging of drawers and the deployment of “doodads”, as she put it, within, to make the contents smell nice.
Longtime watchers of Keeping Up With the Kardashians will recall scenes that showed off Jenner’s exacting taste, and her desire for precision in furniture placement as well as storage areas.
“In my DNA is the extremely strong desire to always be cleaning everything,” she said. As a young mother with four children, she was an enthusiastic Pine-Sol user. “If I had that smell, that meant my house was clean,” she said. “I’ve done a 180 in the way I identify what clean means to me.”
Of course, Safely is not the first disrupter of the cleaning space, as marketers like to say. At the turn of the last millennium, in the post-feminist world where an earlier iteration of Martha Stewart once reigned, places of drudgery, like laundry rooms, became aspirational spaces.
What is particular about Safely is not its celebrity boosters, or even its contents. I tried all six of its products, from the Hand Sanitiser, US$6, to the Everyday Laundry Detergent, US$14. They have pleasant, mild scents: the Universal Cleaner, US$6, smells like lemon grass; the Hand Soap, also US$6, faintly musky, like sandalwood. They did their jobs.
It is the packaging that is notable.
The containers are simple, and oversize. There is barely any type; the logo, the only discernible graphic, is a large white water drop shape. The different cleaners come in a medley of glowing, minty greens. The whole is distilled into the kind of generic yet brightly coloured minimalism that plays so well on Instagram. The products read like Product, with a design so reductive there could be anything in there.
Why not, as Jenner pointed out, have a coherent array of bottles under your sink, instead of “a bunch of mishmash or doodads that don’t go together?”
The New York Times