Local cult beauty brand REFY breaks into US market with Sephora deal

The 28-year-old entrepreneur who set up cult beauty brand REFY with influencer Jess Hunt has secured a deal with Sephora stores across the US and Canada only six months after launching the business.

Jenna Meek from Miles Platting, Manchester, noticed a gap in the market for streamlined brow products after meeting beauty influencer Jess Hunt on a photoshoot and noticing her extensive brow makeup routine.

“It was something ridiculous, like five different eyebrow gels, multiple brushes, and then a pomade and a pencil to do her brows every single day,” said Jenna, CEO at REFY.

“Her Instagram followers constantly asked what products she used on her brows to create her signature brushed-up look, so creating a streamlined brow collection made sense.”

After Jenna spotted the opportunity, the pair went into business together, launching REFY with a three-stage brow collection in November 2020.

During what was a turbulent time for many brands, beauty lovers the world were stripping back their makeup routines during national lockdowns in favour of a more natural, subtle look.

REFY came onto the scene offering a simple way to achieve the ‘no makeup makeup’ look, and consumers responded, buying over 100,000 units in the first six weeks and ensuring an entire stock sell-out for the brand more than once.

The brand quickly captured the attention of mega-influencers such as Molly-Mae Hague, Desi Perkins and Little Mix’s Jesy Nelson and Leigh-Anne Pinnock.

Within two months of the self-funded business’s launch, REFY was approached by senior buyers at Sephora requesting a Zoom call, after buying the products themselves.

As a result, the brand’s first product range launched online and in 320 Sephora stores across the US and Canada this month.

The entire operation runs from the brand’s HQ and warehouse in Ancoats, Manchester, from product development and marketing to logistics and packing customer orders, by a team of just 12.

Jenna said: “Sephora is the biggest beauty destination in the world for premium cosmetics and was the number one retailer I wanted to partner with when I had the initial idea for the three-stage brow collection. I could only have dreamt that we’d complete that goal within 6 months when we first launched the business.

“We’re super excited to bring REFY to a new audience in the US and expand our customer base, encouraging more people to embrace their natural beauty and celebrate themselves with uncomplicated, versatile products.”

“It’s an incredibly exciting time for the business to see what we can achieve next – we have big plans for the next six months!”