25 - Melanie Bender, Versed
In our 25th episode of Earned, Conor sits down with Melanie Bender, president of Versed, the “cleanest drugstore skincare brand out there” and one of the fastest-growing, too. We hear about Melanie’s non-linear path to the beauty world—from earning a degree in aerospace engineering, to sustainability consulting, to co-founding her own marketing agency—before diving into how she became the founding GM of Versed in 2018. We learn about Versed’s wild success since its launch, and Melanie shares how the brand’s community-first approach, along with its commitment to transparency and accountability, resonates with consumers and helps foster connections that are otherwise missing in drugstore skincare. Conor asks about the challenges that come with hypergrowth, and Melanie emphasizes the importance of growing “in the right way”—with purpose and longevity in mind. We then switch gears to marketing, as Melanie explains why Versed prioritizes its DTC channel despite its significant retail footprint, and reveals a few of the brand’s innovative marketing strategies. Finally, we explore Versed’s organic approach to influencer marketing, and the rise of its affiliate program.