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How Go-To Skincare went from startup to industry leader acquired by BWX

The pillars behind the brand’s extraordinary success.

Synonymous with millennial peach hues, delightful ingredients, sassy puns and simple products that are both efficacious yet foolproof, Go-To Skincare has transformed the relentless beauty industry – and it’s made a few million along the way.

Fed up with the overcomplicated skincare industry, former beauty editor Zoë Foster Blake founded the venture in 2014 to create effective and trustworthy products. In the space of just eight years, the once small startup exploded into a beauty empire worth A$177 million, catching the attention of BWX.

Foster Blake sold a controlling stake of 50.1 per cent of Go-To Skincare to the ASX-listed natural skincare business in August 2021 for A$89 million, opening up a realm of opportunities for the fun, skin-loving brand.

“From the Go-To perspective, it feels really natural to partner with BWX on this next phase of Go-To’s growth, and there’s a really, really exciting opportunity to cement Australia’s standing in the world as the leader of simple and efficacious skin care,” Foster Blake shared.

“I have so much I want to do with Go-To and the BWX partnership really gives us the opportunity to do it better and faster.”

Established as a direct-to-consumer brand, Go-To Skincare has formed a loyal following where the products have become the ‘go-to’ for millions of skincare devotees.

“Marketing and a good story will get you the first sale but it won’t get you repeat purchases.” – Zoë Foster Blake

Although the business initially began for women, the Founder and Chief Creative Officer soon launched Gro-To – an award-winning, gentle, cruelty-free range for babies and children – and Bro-To, the brother brand of Go-To.

Go-To Skincare

“We really prioritise efficacious but gentle formulas, and are working hard on sustainable ingredients and packaging,” the author turned beauty mogul explained. “It’s a really important pillar for us, which is very strongly aligned with BWX’s natural focus.”

Representing a strategic and financially compelling opportunity for BWX, the synergistic partnership also allows the natural beauty and wellness business to propel Go-To Skincare’s international expansion.

BWX Group CEO and Managing Director Dave Fenlon shared his excitement in partnering with the brand earlier this year.

“Zoë is a proven brand-builder and innovator,” Fenlon said. “Go-To is an authentic brand with an exceptionally loyal customer following, omnichannel offering and exciting growth outlook. Through this partnership, BWX intends to support Go-To’s growth potential by leveraging our capability, resources and international distribution network.

“This partnership will provide BWX with an opportunity to accelerate our international growth strategy, increase our sales via the direct-to-consumer channel, while also providing access to a potential new growth customer demographic and exposure to a premium brand which complements our existing portfolio.”

While Foster Blake launched the brand into the US market in 2018, BWX will drive the growth for further international consumers within the masstige (prestige for the masses) sector.

And the acquisition doesn’t mean the end of Go-To that its dedicated followers have grown to love. The Founder will continue to operate independently while leveraging BWX’s scale benefits, international distribution and support.

“It’s my baby. I’m very protective. I’m very excited about the future of Go-To and that’s a big reason we’ve joined up with BWX to go at it really hard,” Foster Blake said.

From startup to industry leader

Beginning as a way for the entrepreneur to explore a market gap, Foster Blake nurtured the fresh idea into becoming an iconic brand, achieving the pinnacle for many small business owners – acquisition. The founder shares some of the pillars behind Go-To Skincare’s extraordinary success.

Know the point of difference

“I wanted to disrupt an industry I felt had become overly complicated and very confusing for the consumer. I could see the gap for simple, effective and fun skin care.”

Understand the vision

“Many women felt intimidated and confused by the skincare category. They wanted great skin but didn’t know how to get it – they wanted the shortcut. Go-To offers a really effective, really trustworthy, credible and foolproof way to look after your skin.”

Become the best

“Go-To is a digital native brand. Our primary channel is direct-to-consumer, representing almost 60 per cent of our sales. When it comes to ecommerce capabilities, marketing strategies, customer service and how we do everything, I believe we’re the best in class. We’ve been doing it for a long time and we do it very well.”

Leverage any expertise

“[Our] digital expertise underpins multiple touchpoints, including more than one million social media followers, and it means we can continue to unlock new customers and really engage and play with them at every step.”

Stay in your own lane

“There are so many new brands and influencer brands out there these days creating a very exciting but also noisy, confusing market, which actually works to Go-To’s benefit because we’ve always had the simple, effective, foolproof, instantly understandable offering.”

Quality and integrity above all else

“The fact we’re in Mecca, which is Australia’s premium retail channel for beauty, speaks volumes because we have A$30–A$40 products sitting alongside A$300 serums.”

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