Testament, a new beauty treatment brand, is a tribute to Sophia Chabbott’s family heritage. The fledgling company, which is centered around her Sephardic great-grandmother’s favorite ingredients – the same ones that figure prominently in the celebrated Mediterranean diet, including herbs such as Moroccan chamomile and rosemary – is launching two new products and expanding its distribution.
The company is adding daily use products to its two signature treatment products, Moroccan Chamomile Sleep Mask, $72, 1.7 oz., and Turkish Coffee 3-in-1 mask, $68, 1.7 oz.
The new items include the lightweight and power-packed Damascena Rose De-Stress Moisturizer, which targets the effects of environmental and emotional stress on the skin, and the daily use Ancient Vine Vitality Serum, an oil-serum with passion fruit seed oil, raspberry seed oil and copious amounts of Vitamin C. The products are so new, pricing hasn’t been set yet.
“My grandmother had gardens in Brooklyn,” said Chabbott, former digital director of WWD and editor at Glamour. “My great-grandmother inspired the brand. The Mediterranean diet is a huge part of how I grew up. I started to get really into gardening and volunteered at a community garden in March.”
The brand in July launched the sleeping mask and 3-in-1 mask at saks.com and testamentbeauty.com. The beautiful packaging sets the brand apart, from the Italian glass jars with beech wood tops, which are biodegradable, to the outer boxes, which are festooned with graphic blooms and ripe fruit.
In addition to saks.com, Testament in January will be sold at Anthropologie, Haven Well Within and Poole. “We’re in talks with some other major national and international retailers,” Chabbott said. “More news to come on that front soon.”
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Chabbott is part of a trend of former magazine and newspaper veterans leveraging their expertise and launching beauty companies. The most well-known example is Allure founding editor Linda Wells, who introduced Flesh Beauty. Others include Kim Van Dang, another WWD alumna, who launched KimVanDang Fragrances, and Annie Kreighbaum, former executive editorial director of Into The Gloss, who co-founded body care line Soft Services.
The Testament founder said she’s always been obsessed with skin care and couldn’t find efficacious, affordable products on the market that suited her needs. “Six or seven years ago, I started getting rid of brands with chemicals and cleaned out my vanity. A lot of these products I couldn’t afford and they really didn’t do much for me.”
When Chabbott noticed that women in the workplace were complaining about their appearance, she said, “All of a sudden I had this epiphany. These girls were stunningly beautiful. What were they seeing? Then I said, ‘Wait, you do that too.’”
“The Mediterranean diet is always in the zeitgeist. I wondered why no one was doing a Mediterranean diet for the face,” she said, adding that she took a page from the farm-to-table movement, with garden-to-face ingredients.
“I’m not going to tell you you’re going to look different with my products. I was thinking about how when you’re happy you glow from within,” she said, adding that that’s the effect Testament products achieve.
“I started exploring and researching ingredients like crazy,” Chabbott said. “I found an amazing chemist. The goal is that they’re lovely to use and smell beautiful. You use them and see a difference in your complexion.”
Testament’s skin treatments are loaded with cell-regenerating antioxidants, hydrating oils and plant-derived actives that freshen and brighten. The clean formulas are vegan and cruelty-free, and free of mineral oils, petrolatum, sulfates, phthalates, gluten, parabens. All of the ingredients are responsibly-sourced.
In addition to Moroccan chamomile, the sleeping mask contians niacinamide, an ingredient whose skin-restoring benefits include the ability to visibly improve the appearance of enlarged pores, uneven skin tone, fine lines, dullness and a weakened skin surface. The best time to use Niacinamide is at night when there isn’t a threat of UV damage or stress, Chabbott said.
The sleeping mask is also infused with a proprietary Mediterranean Anti-Oxidant complex, an exclusive blend of potent botanicals, including cooling peppermint, redness-reducing oregano and lavender to soothe and moisturize. “They’re classic, familiar ingredients,” Chabbott said. “A lot of them are in your kitchen.”
“I use this product when my skin’s in a mood,” Chabbott said.
The Turkish Coffee 3-in-1 mask, which contains anti-oxidant-packed cacao, skin-nourishing avocado oil, anti-inflammatory botanicals like safflower and sunflower, and enzymes, resurfaces, tightens and hydrates the skin. Nourishing fatty-acids help restore skin’s balance and natural radiance, and anti-aging ceramides and niacinamide leave the face feeling supple, vibrant and smooth.
Of course, there’s the Arabica coffee seeds ground into a delicate powder. “My great-grandmother made a mean cup of Turkish coffee,” she said. “She’d read fortunes in the grounds and then use them as a mask, scrub and skin resurfacer.”
Chabbott said the product jars are designed to be pieces of decor. Everything is made in the U.S. “I was very inspired by Mediterranean mosaics combined with the idea of growth and blossoming,” she said. “The logo is the sun bursting with florals and pomegranates.”
“The Mediterranean way of caring for your skin is the most simple, straightforward and effective path to radiant skin,” Chabbott said, adding that Testament Beauty is bringing this ethos to skincare.
Working on a shoestring marketing budget, Chabbott turned to influencers to spread the word. “We sent out lots of influencer boxes,” she said. “We’re not using paid influencers. There’s a huge jolt of energy when someone experiences it for the first time. Everybody’s response has been amazing.”
Chabbott navigated supply chain challenges with aplomb. “While Testament Beauty launched a bit later than expected due to strains on the global supply chain, we have adapted production to the fit the times,” Chabbott said.
“The original plan was to launch a new product each quarter, in tandem with the seasons. Now, instead of placing purchase orders piecemeal, we’ve extended our lead times to allot for the state of affairs, placing purchase orders for two and sometimes four stockkeeping units at a time,” she added. “This way, we have an array of newness at the ready and won’t be at the mercy of a delay on any one ingredient or component.
“It’s taken us a while to launch the products,” Chabbott said. “As much as I knew going into this, I had much to learn. I’m having a blast.”