We caught up with Nikki Reed and Robin Pattinson at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit to talk about their brand, what they love most about each other, and more.
Reed’s brand has evolved over the years but still focuses on luxury and femininity. She’s always considered herself a brand manager first and an entrepreneur second—which is probably why she’s been so successful as a business owner. She runs her own social media agency, Nikki Reed Global, where she works with brands and businesses to grow their presence on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok.
Pattinson’s brand is a combination of his and Elle MacLeman’s brands. It focuses on health, wellness, and beauty, and is known for its vegan and gluten-free products. He launched Tofu Beauty in 2018, which specializes in ethical and sustainable skincare products, and launched a vegan line, Natural Elements, in 2019. In the future, he sees Tofu Beauty leading the way in sustainability.
What’s Going On?
Reed first noticed that there was a lack of products for women with large breasts when she was shopping online. She launched a survey to see what dimensions women found most satisfying and created two lines, one for small breasts and one for large ones. The rest is history.
Pattinson worked for an agency in Tokyo before moving to the U.S. He then became a creative director for a cosmetic brand and later founded his own agency. One of the clients he worked with was Estee Lauder, and he assisted with the creation of their Access Trio Cream. He was subsequently promoted to Creative Director and Product Manager before leaving to form his own agency, which is currently led by his partner, Jonathan Evans.
What Do They Love Most About Each Other?
They love each other’s company cultures. Reed and Pattinson both come from entrepreneurial families, and they credit their parents for setting the stage for their business ambitions. They both grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and met at Stanford University. Reed graduated with a degree in economics and went on to work for Goldman Sachs. Pattinson majored in literature and then went on to found his own agency, which was initially based in London and later grew to have offices in Tokyo, LA, and New York. Reed and Pattinson credit their education and time in London for inspiring them to start their own agency. They both love spending time in the U.K., and the opportunity to work remotely from anywhere in the world is something that they appreciate about working together.
Are They A Good Team?
Yes, they are. They both respect and support each other’s businesses, and Reed says that working with him is a joy. “I worked with Jonathan earlier in my career, and he’s such a hard worker and a creative problem-solver. When I started working with Robin, I knew right away that I was working with someone who was both competitive and collaborative. I really like that mix.”
Pattinson adds, “It’s been a real privilege to work with someone as talented as Nikki. Not only is she a beautiful woman, she’s also brilliant. For our first project, I had no idea what we’d be doing and didn’t have any prototypes or samples, but she came up with the idea, and I’ve never looked back.”
Reed and Pattinson both love a challenge, and they’re driven by curiosity. Reed notes, “When we were first getting to know each other, Robin and I would sit and talk about all the things that we’re curious about. From that curiosity has come a real sense of excitement about getting to know more people, having more conversations, and being able to challenge ourselves and grow as individuals. Curiosity and risk-taking are important in all aspects of life, and it’s great to see that in our industry as well.”
What Challenges Do They Face?
Despite all the perks that come with being a Creative Director, Product Manager, and Brand Manager, there are a few challenges that Reed and Pattinson face. The first is that the industry is changing and evolving, and they have to ensure that they’re keeping up with the times. In the future, they see themselves continuing to evolve and changing with the times, remaining relevant and in demand. The other challenge is that expectations are changing. Consumers want more, and they want it now. It’s not just about the features of a product, but about the entire experience. When they launched their product lines, consumers didn’t have the same expectations that they do now, and it’s something that they have to keep in mind as they continue to develop and enhance their brands.
Pattinson notes, “What we’re seeing now is that companies have to put themselves in the shoes of their customers and know what they want and need. We have to be careful not to put out a product that the market doesn’t want or need, but rather one that we think will make their lives better.”
How Do They Solve These Problems?
Reed and Pattinson approach these problems by constantly evaluating and reassessing where they stand. They are always considering how they can evolve and change, and are open to new ideas and new ways of doing things. They love to mentor and support young entrepreneurs and creative individuals, and are always looking for the next big idea or invention.
Reed says, “I want to invest in and support the next generation of strong, empowered women who are building their own businesses. That’s one of the reasons why I started the Successful Senior Woman network. We mentor and support successful, empowered women in a network environment so that they can continue to grow and thrive.”
Pattinson adds, “We want to make sure that we’re investing in the right areas and that we’re not just throwing money at problems. We have to always ask ourselves, ‘Is this going to make a positive change in the world?'”
What Role Does Marketing And Product Differentiation Play?
It’s always important for a brand to stand out from the crowd, and marketers and product developers play an important role in creating brand differentiation. One of the biggest differentiators between Reed’s and Pattinson’s products is that the former caters to a smaller audience. “Our marketing and product strategy is focused on differentiators, like the fact that our products are made with natural and organic ingredients, that they’re vegan, and that they don’t contain gluten,” says Pattinson. “Those are the kinds of things that allow us to stand out from the rest and make a positive difference in people’s lives.”
Reed adds, “Sometimes people don’t need a whole lot of convincing to try our products. We have a smaller target audience, and there are certain product categories where we know that women will embrace a product that incorporates more of what they love and value in life—especially when it comes to skincare products. For example, if they’re into natural skincare and want to avoid products that contain harmful chemicals, they’ll be more receptive to our offerings.”
Where Do They See Their Brands In Five Years?
Reed notes that she and Pattinson see their brands, both personally and professionally, as a growing venture. “I think that brands that are built on strong values and that embrace the future are going to thrive as more and more people want to work for and with them. I think that our brands, which are fairly defined by their values and vision statements, will continue to grow, as will our businesses. That’s what’s exciting to me about the future. I’m looking forward to the next five years and seeing where our brands will be and what we’ll be doing then.”
Pattinson shares a similar vision of the future, “In five years’ time, both our personal and professional brands will be even more defined by our values and our approach to the way we live and work. We hope to be able to continue to create positive change and make the world a better place for all living creatures.”
Reed and Pattinson are both extremely positive, driving-force-like individuals who are constantly thinking of creative ways to expand and grow their brands. They’re both committed to supporting and investing in other entrepreneurs and creative individuals who they think can make a difference, and who embody the same values and the willingness to constantly be exploring new ideas and technologies.