Ending Soon! Save 33% on All Access

How Success Happened for Selina Sykes and Laura Fruitman, CEO and CMO of The Uncovery Creating Unilever's engine for experimentation and growth in beauty and well-being products.

By Robert Tuchman Edited by Dan Bova

The Uncovery

Innovation has always been at the heart of Unilever, from successfully re-inventing soap in the late 19th century to pioneering sustainable living today. Their current innovation agenda is fueled in part by a strong ecosystem of groundbreaking programs that explore growth opportunities beyond their existing portfolio, like China's Uni-Excubator, the Positive Beauty Growth Platform, and Unilever Ventures.

Also on the innovation agenda is The Uncovery, a brand incubator led by CEO Selina Sykes and CMO Laura Fruitman, that brings together the best of Unilever's capabilities with the spirit of organic experimentation, to develop and launch new brands in high growth spaces and drive portfolio transformation in beauty and wellbeing.

Related: How Relentless Optimism Fuels Success for Hilary Schneider, CEO of Shutterfly

Discovering what consumers need and delivering it fast

"While Unilever's core beauty brands focus on landing innovations for consumers, at the Uncovery we're enabled by our agile model to develop and experiment with digitally native brands which access spaces beyond the priority scope for our big brands. Our model allows us to move fast – our fastest launch to date has been 39 days from idea to delivery," says Selina Sykes, VP, New Business Creation at Unilever. "Beauty and wellbeing is a rapidly evolving market. In order to be at the forefront of trends and serve the consumers of the future as we wish to, we will need to be able to innovate and adapt as efficiently as possible."

The Uncovery is enabled by its agile innovation model to develop new, digitally native brands in high-growth spaces that drive the transformation of Unilever's portfolio. It has built a data-driven brand development process that uses revolutionary insight capabilities, and an ecosystem of collaborators to enable the delivery of breakthrough innovation. In this way, the cross-functional teams of The Uncovery can ideate, test and experiment at speed to solve meaningful consumer problems and provide solutions for underserved needs.

Related: Inside This Booming Successful Plug-and-Play Network for Comedy Podcasters

"Our brands at The Uncovery are providing consumers with product solutions that they not only want, but need," says Laura Fruitman, Chief Marketing Officer of The Uncovery. "We identify consumer needs and demands in spaces that are currently underserved and work quickly to find superior solutions that we can launch and test as brands with them."

Developing purpose-driven brands

In 2021, The Uncovery piloted the development of purpose-led brands including Mojo, For Every Type, and Ferver. Each brand was created and executed by a lean dedicated cross-functional team in a disruptive end-to-end innovation model, delivered, from idea to production in 6 months, and co-creation network of third parties and customers:

  • Mojo a product line focused to support women to feel their best through menopause, offers holistic perimenopause solutions. The goal is to build a brand that addresses a consumer segment that often feels invisible, through a community of support, expertise and advisors.
  • For Every Type was launched around the same time to offer premium hair care for protective styling that's healthier for natural hair. The ambition is to leave a long-lasting, positive impact on the black beauty industry with clean formulations and innovative formats.
  • Ferver is responding to the demand for clean skincare by employing fermentation, an active powerful natural process with potency at its heart, to supercharge the efficacy of skincare actives.

The Uncovery also serves to further build Unilever's capability in strategic territories, such as delivering digitally native brands with direct-to-consumer and eCommerce exclusive pure-play propositions.

To date, The Uncovery has brought 7 eCommerce-focussed new brands in various high growth spaces to launch on the US market with skincare brand Ferver now available at Target.

Robert Tuchman

Entrepreneur Staff

Host of How Success Happens

Robert Tuchman is the host of Entrepreneur's How Success Happens podcast and founder of Amaze Media Labs the largest business creating podcasts for companies and brands. He built and sold two Inc. 500 companies: TSE Sports and Entertainment and Goviva acquired by Creative Artists Agency (CAA).

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Business News

TikTok Reportedly Laid Off a 'Large Percentage' of Employees as the App's Fate in the U.S. Remains Unclear

Laid-off TikTok employees were notified Wednesday night through Thursday morning.

Personal Finance

This Investment Bundle Includes a Trading Course and Stock Screener Tool for $150

Approach the stock market with an increased understanding.

Business News

Four Seasons Orlando Responds to Viral TikTok: 'There's Something Here For All Ages'

The video has amassed over 45.4 million views on TikTok.

Growing a Business

5 Strategies to Know As You Scale Your Business

Scaling a service-based company requires a comprehensive approach that goes beyond simply increasing revenue. It requires careful planning, strategic decision-making and a deep understanding of market dynamics.

Growing a Business

The Right Way to Ask Someone for a Million Dollars, According to a Fundraiser Who Does It For a Living

No matter what you're raising money for, Wanda Urbanskia says, the same basic rules apply.