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In today’s petrochemical-laden world, most health-conscious consumers pay very close attention to the ingredients in the foods they consume, and even the materials of the bottles they fill with their drinking water and other durable goods in their homes. Counter to this trend however, most cosmetics products don’t do a great job of displaying their ingredients, or may even obscure their labeling through deliberate use non-common ingredient names.

ClearForMe is a New York Founder Institute portfolio company creating new transparency for the cosmetics products industry. Led by Founder & CEO Sabrina Noorani, the company this year launched a simple to use API search tool for cosmetics ecommerce retailers.

With ClearForMe, users can exclude ingredients that they may be allergic to or want to avoid, or include ingredients they are looking for, then filter results by specific product type. The result is a simple search tool that ensures the consumer purchases products safe for them and their own skin. According to CEO Noorani, 

ClearforMe empowers customers to find the perfect products for their needs by providing a discovery tool using ingredients. Our API is smart for retailers’ products, their customers, and most importantly, their bottom line. Our mission is to empower consumers and raise awareness around what they are putting on their bodies through the information that is clear and simple to understand.

If it sounds simple, that’s because it’s designed to be. ClearForMe allows retailers to easily tap into their vast industry-leading database of cosmetic products ingredients, mapping every ingredient across a retailer’s own SKUs, so customers can easily find the right products in their stores. The solutions allows cosmetics online shoppers to filter through products quickly, and find the ones that more closely align with their interests, values, or allergy sensitivities.

Since launch, ClearForMe’s solution has already resulted in an increase in order value of 15.5% for retailers using the product! This is because when consumers find products that truly meet their needs, they become recurring customers – which are every ecommerce retailer’s goal. Because of their clearly demonstrated early Customer Success, ClearForMe has secured a $150,000 seed round, as well as a deal with retailer Credo


Consumers Demand To Be More Than Statistics: They Want Solutions

Just like food restrictions, products that are applied to the skin can sometimes cause irritation or other issues, even when they are supposed to do the opposite. A few relevant statistics help tell the full story:

  • One in two Americans have sensitive skin
  • One in 10 have skin issues caused by allergies
  • One in three women are mothers
  • Four out of five young people between 11 and 30 years old suffer from breakouts
  • 65% of women find the number of options when shopping for products overwhelming

Statistically speaking, retailers may accidentally create negative online shopping experience, due to the guessing game associated with a lack of transparency from the very products they sell. CEO Noorani says, 

It’s not just the ingredients that can be irritating or cause synonyms. ‘Good’ ingredients do too.  Even an ingredient as basic as water can have different variations on labels. Vitamin C, the only antioxidant that boosts collagen production, has more than 35 synonyms.  Salicylic acid, a beta-hydroxy acid that helps exfoliate the skin, has 12 synonyms.

This is why ClearForMe offers two solutions: the API that personalized product finder for retailers, as well as an ingredient synonym query search. Combined, retailers are able to deliver in the key product information to consumers, which also keeps them engaged on their own website rather than navigating elsewhere to research and becoming distracted. Ultimately, this increased customer engagement results in greater purchasing loyalty, and increased revenues from greater customer lifetime value.

Like other consumer-facing innovations, the idea for ClearForMe came from Noorani’s personal experience with a cosmetic product. She explains, 

I developed a skin allergy around my mouth. My lips would swell up, and the skin on and around my lips peeled so much I started getting frequent staph infections. I was embarrassed, self-conscious and scared. My dermatologist did a patch test on me and told me I need to avoid fragrance and formaldehyde, two of the most common skin irritants found in soap, shampoo, cleansers and even baby products.

Unfortunately, simply trying to avoid these ingredients was only the starting point. Due to the synonyms in use and lack of transparency, it was still possible for these ingredients to be presented in cosmetics she used. Noorani continues, 

But, knowing what I had to avoid didn't arm me with how to solve my problem. It actually proved just as impossible to find products that were clear for me. ClearForMe allows anyone who suffers from allergies, or simply cares about the ingredients they use, to choose what they care about, simply scan or search a barcode, and know in an instant if that product is clear for them.

 

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Graduates of the Founder Institute are creating some of the world's fastest growing startups, having raised over $950M in funding, and building products people love across over 185 cities worldwide.

See the most recent news from our Grads at FI.co/news, or learn more about their stories at FI.co/journey


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