OG influencer brand Summer Fridays has turned five years old.
Founded by lifestyle bloggers Marianna Hewitt and Lauren Ireland in 2018 with one stock keeping unit — Jet Lag Mask, now a Sephora bestseller — the brand is marking its fifth anniversary with its first New York pop-up, open from March 10 to March 12 at SoHo’s Upside Pizza.
“It’s rewarding to create an immersive Summer Fridays experience; you can kind of get an understanding of the brand on our Instagram or website, but to be able to see the brand in a physical space with other community members and getting to meet Lauren and I — that’s something so special,” said Hewitt, adding visitors will be able to enjoy free pizza, shop limited-edition merchandise and test new Lip Butter Balm shades at the pop-up, which is the brand’s first outside of Los Angeles, where she and Ireland reside.
The brand has seen a number of other firsts to fruition lately: last August, the brand entered the makeup category with its skin care-infused Sheer Skin Tint, which retails for $42 and comes in 10 shades offering lightweight coverage, and in January, Summer Fridays introduced a retinol: Midnight Ritual. Retailing for $62, the serum taps two forms of retinoids and a blend of hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, oatmeal and tiger grass, geared specifically toward those with sensitive skin, as well as first-time retinol users.
“There’s this fear around certain products like retinol because you don’t want it to cause redness, or you feel like your skin isn’t ready for it,” said Ireland, who was between pregnancies during the product’s development, which helped inform the approach that would be “gentle enough, but still efficacious.”
The brand’s inclusive approach to formulation appears to be resonating: according to Hewitt, Summer Fridays will soon celebrate 4 million products sold (for reference, this time last year the brand was celebrating 2 million products sold). Industry sources estimate the brand could do between $45 million to $50 million in sales in 2023, though neither Hewitt nor Ireland commented on the figures.
“It feels like we’ve grown up over the last five years,” said Ireland. “We started as one of those first influencer skin care brands, and have grown into a brand that stands on its own — our community is now much bigger than us.”
On the menu for 2023, Summer Fridays, which is available exclusively at Sephora North America, and internationally at Mecca Australia and in the U.K. at Boots, Selfridges and SpaceNK, is going deeper into makeup and hybrid products.
“We never think trend-focused when it comes to our brand,” said Hewitt, noting that while the brand does often look to its community for direction and feedback, it only executes launches and initiatives which have the potential to sustain momentum in the long term. “Five years after launch, Jet Lag is still a bestselling moisturizer at Sephora — we want to create more of those products. It’s not about buying more things, it’s about buying more of your favorite things, to hold onto forever.”