Bella Hadid rose to fame as the face of labels like Bulgari, Dior Beauty and Jacquemus. But for her latest brand partnership, she comes on board as a co-founder and partner — not just as a spokesperson.
Hadid is joining Kin Euphorics, a non-alcoholic tonic and wellness drink brand that carries beverages claiming to boost creativity or increase calm, thanks to ingredients such as roseroot, reishi mushrooms, l-serine and gaba. She’ll consult on marketing strategy and materials, formulation, development and distribution, as well as, of course, appear in the brand’s marketing materials. Soon, Hadid hopes to add her own family farm-grown lavender to the brand’s formulations.
Hadid has also invested financially in the company, though declined to share the exact figure.
The partnership came out of a brainstorming session Hadid had with her manager, Luiz Mattos and Endeavor’s Talent Ventures team, which focuses on connecting talent managed by WME and IMG (Hadid’s agency) with vetted business opportunities that are entrepreneurial in nature or include equity. When discussing potential opportunities, Kin Euphorics came up: Hadid had been drinking the product, even posting it on Instagram. The Endeavor team cold-called Jen Batchelor, the brand’s founder and chief executive, and soon after the two spoke, a partnership was formalised.
The move marks Hadid’s entry into the wellness space, but it also is another example of a growing phenomenon within marketing, particularly in the fashion and beauty sectors: celebrities — who wield massive influence over their legions of fans on social media — forging brand partnerships that go deeper than marketing and give them a place as a stakeholder in the business.
“Talent is quickly identifying that there really is a way to explore their passion ... through these more entrepreneurial roles,” said Mackenzie Connolly, an associate on Endeavor’s Talent Ventures team.
For Kin Euphorics, finding a partner with the reach and reputation Hadid has could provide a major bump for the business, especially if Hadid is able to believably convey her love for the brand — a key driver in any successful celebrity-brand partnership, according to Doug Shabelman, chief executive of marketing agency Burns Entertainment. That’s part of why these raised-stakes partnerships have become an increasingly popular choice for celebrities and brands alike: investing in a brand not only adds an extra layer of authenticity to a partnership, but it can also prove to be a more financially lucrative proposition than a one-time deal and payout.
“The opportunity to create and have more skin in the game is something that really appeals to the modern celebrity ... They have a bigger seat at the table, and they themselves have become brands that they want to put out there more so than just being a typical endorser,” said Shabelman.
In that respect, Hadid is already doing the work: she regularly brings Kin Euphorics’ cans along with her to shoots and has documented them to her followers on social media. Hadid helped creative direct Kin’s newest campaign, shot by photographer Stevie Dance. Going forward, she wants to introduce the product to her fellow models and others in the fashion industry — she’ll start at the brand’s Sept. 8 launch party, which doubles as a New York Fashion Week kick-off event, that she helped plan.
“There are a lot of creative people, but with creativity comes a sort of brokenness or unbalancedness. I feel that people deserve to feel good all the time …” said Hadid. “That’s why being able to come into this business and bring this back into our fashion industry is super important to me.”
Hadid and Batchelor plan to grow the brand beyond the specialty stores it’s already sold in, such as Erewhon and Soho House, and into new product categories, like wearables or edibles — something Bachelor said Hadid helped her to realise was possible.
“Kin will be everywhere. Kin will be at bars, fashion shows, events and ... at your local grocery,” said Hadid. “We need this in ... unexpected places where people are going to have conversations around what makes them feel good.”
Entering the mainstream is a common goal for small brands in securing major celebrity partners, who, with their massive followings, have the ability to bring niche products to a more broad audience. Additionally, because they are used to communicating with a large audience, they can provide a brand with marketing and creative insights and advice, according to Connolly.
But beyond broad appeal, Hadid also brings with her the cache of being one of the world’s most recognisable models, an asset to Kin’s goal of positioning itself within the beauty and wellness sector, with a focus on feeling good and encouraging self-care. Hadid is just one fashion and beauty veteran the company has employed — it also hired Casey Maher, a Mac Cosmetics veteran, as its creative director.
Hadid’s history with luxury brands is also a boost for Kin, which is looking to label itself as a luxury product. Shabelman said that in working with Hadid, the brand is targeting a higher-end consumer — a shopper who has bought a Michael Kors product after seeing Hadid wear it in an ad may also be willing to pay a premium for a beverage produced by a company she’s a partner in.
But, just scoring a celebrity partner like Hadid doesn’t mean automatic, sustained success. It all depends on how she is utilised in marketing, social media strategy, advertising and appearances.
“You can have the best sponsorship, the best endorser, the best partners,” said Shabelman. “But if you don’t do them the right way, and you don’t actually activate them the right way, then it limits [that celebrity to] being a spokesperson, and sometimes that just isn’t enough.”