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EXCLUSIVE: Serena Williams Launches the Inclusive Makeup Line She Always Wanted

Wyn Beauty, six years in the making, launches today with 10 products in 680 Ulta stores.

EXCLUSIVE: Serena Williams Launches the Inclusive Makeup Line She Always Wanted

Serena Williams, tennis star and Wyn Beauty founder.

“I love to win — winning is my life,” said Serena Williams, sitting on a couch overlooking the backyard of her home in West Palm Beach, Fla. 

Roughly 30 feet in the distance lies a private tennis court, while a long, wooden table to Williams’ left is covered with mood board imagery, from which a few themes can be surmised — dewy skin, defined brows, an array of neutral to bold-colored lips. Dispersed across the photos are cosmetics packaging boxes, each a bright yellow-green hue dubbed “Wyn Chartreuse” — the signature color of Williams’ new makeup line, Wyn Beauty. 

“Our chartreuse pays homage to the tennis ball, which kind of pays homage to championships, which pays homage to the idea of winning,” continued the 23-time Grand Slam singles champion, widely lauded as the greatest women’s tennis player of all time. 

Since playing her final official tennis match at the 2022 U.S. Open, Williams has been busy. She introduced her recovery brand, Will Perform, that December at Target stores; welcomed her second daughter, Adira, last summer, and over the past year and a half has realized her vision for Wyn — a brand she first began talking about with retailer Ulta Beauty before the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“I’ve been working on [Wyn] for about six years now,” said Williams, who teamed with investor Good Glamm Group as well as Ulta to introduce the vegan, cruelty-free line. The launch comes not only at a time when the makeup category is thriving — Circana reports prestige makeup sales climbed 15 percent in 2023 — but also when female athletes are rapidly gaining prominence in beauty, with buzzy brands like Glossier, Mielle Organics and La Roche-Posay increasingly tapping the group for ambassadorships.

Female athletes helming beauty brands of their own, though, is a more nascent phenomenon — one that has namely been marked by tennis stars and SPF lines. Four-time Grand Slam singles champion Naomi Osaka launched her sun care brand Kinlò in 2021, while in 2014 Russian player Maria Sharapova — who counts five Grand Slam titles — became a co-owner of Holly Thaggard’s Supergoop, now owned by Blackstone.

The first athlete of her caliber to inaugurate a makeup brand of her own, Williams aimed to leverage not just her celebrity but her sport and experience as a Black woman and a working mother for the development of Wyn.

EXCLUSIVE: Serena Williams Launches the Inclusive Makeup Line She Always Wanted

Serena Williams

“We feel bullish about Wyn — for one, because it’s been in the making for a very long time, but also because of what Serena evokes for the consumer. She’s very powerful; she’s probably the most recognized female athlete in the world, she’s empowering and she just happens to have always been passionate about beauty,” said Monica Arnaudo, chief merchandising officer at Ulta, where Wyn is launching on Wednesday online and in 680 doors, merchandised in chartreuse, gold and netted gondolas front-of-store.

The retailer has benefited from the celebrity beauty boom, having similarly incubated Tracee Ellis Ross’ Pattern Beauty and long carried Ariana Grande and Billie Eilish’s respective fragrance lines. “We’ve seen the success of those brands and how they resonate with our guests,” said Arnaudo, adding Wyn’s accessible price point positions the brand to potentially capture a wide share of consumers. “We have the mass to masstige to prestige to luxury — Wyn just fits right in the middle.” 

Ranging in price from $18 for a hydrating lip serum to $29 for a gel-cream SPF 30 skin tint in 36 shades, Wyn aims to offer high-performance products that accommodate an active lifestyle — whatever that may look like.

“It could be someone who’s going to work for a 9-to-5; it could be me, a mom — it could be someone who works at home and is on Zoom meetings. Active doesn’t mean you have to win Grand Slams or Wimbledon trophies — which is OK, too, because — check,” Williams laughed. “It’s about that one-application makeup where you can apply it once and be able to rely on it the entire day.” 

EXCLUSIVE: Serena Williams Launches the Inclusive Makeup Line She Always Wanted

Wyn Beauty’s Word of Mouth Max Comfort Matte Lipstick, which comes in 10 shades retailing for $20 each.

Ulta will market the launch via a slew of social content in which Williams details her locker-room makeup routine and the inspiration for Wyn; free brand gifts with purchase, and in-store voiceovers by Williams encouraging shoppers to check the line out. Though neither Williams nor Ulta commented on sales expectations for the launch, industry sources anticipate Wyn could do between $40 million and $50 million during its first year on the market.

Among the other offerings comprising Wyn’s 10-product, 96 stock keeping unit lineup are a soft-matte concealer in 20 shades; tubing mascara; waterproof liquid eyeliner; brow and eye pencils; a hybrid lip and cheek color, and matte and satin lipsticks, each coming in 10 shades. The complexion and lip products are infused with jojoba oil, sunflower extracts, squalane and other hydrating ingredients to provide nourishment during wear. 

“Longevity was the most important thing for me,” said Williams, for whom winged eyeliner became an on-court signature during the second half of her tennis career. “I always had on something — as a tennis player, you’re sweating and dripping and so it’s like, ‘What can I wear that best represents myself?’ — but that’s also not super easy.”

In other cases, Williams would find herself grappling with products that didn’t adequately cater to her skin tone. 

“For years I would travel to countries that didn’t have products that were made for me, but I still had to show up to press, to events and I had to look decent,” continued Williams, who as a result had to cultivate her own makeup skills at an early age. “I really had to champion doing my own makeup, learning how to do my own face in order to be able to show up years ago, when there weren’t these 20- to 40-shade ranges.” 

In creating Wyn’s skin tint and concealers, Williams began with the darkest skin tones first, working her way toward the lighter shades to ensure people of all skin tones could use her products. The brand brings Ulta — which now carries 50 Black-owned and founded brands — one step closer to reaching its 15 Percent Pledge commitment. The retailer is closing in on the halfway mark toward 15 percent in its overall selection; in hair care, it reached 15 percent in 2023.

Wyn also joins Ulta’s Conscious Beauty assortment, an important consideration for Williams. “A big key for me was ‘clean,’” she said, gesturing toward her backyard fruit patch, a chicken coop and bee garden. “As much as we understand gut health, we need to start understanding what we’re putting on our face. Clean is where the journey began.”

EXCLUSIVE: Serena Williams Launches the Inclusive Makeup Line She Always Wanted

Wyn Beauty’s Nothing to See matte concealer; Most Versatile Pigment lip and cheek color, and SPF 30 skin tint, which comes in 36 shades.

Among Williams’ earliest encounters with makeup were her frequent childhood raids of her mother’s red lipstick collection. “I used to put it on my lips, then on my cheeks and on my eyelids — then my dad would be like, ‘You can’t wear red lipstick,’ and I was like, ‘Oops,’” recalled Williams, whose passion for beauty goes wide; in 2020, she embarked on a 240-hour class to obtain her nail technician license. “I’ve been doing my nails since I was really young, so I loved learning the ins and outs of that.” 

For Williams, who divides her time between Wyn, Will Perform and Serena Ventures, which is the venture capital fund she cofounded in 2017 to support underrepresented founders, part of the significance of this launch is the synergy it brings to her ongoing endeavors. 

EXCLUSIVE: Serena Williams Launches the Inclusive Makeup Line She Always Wanted

Serena Williams

“They all come together in the end — whether it’s Will Perform or Wyn or Ventures — they all speak to each other, with Ventures being kind of like the mama,” said Williams, whose goal in crafting Wyn’s debut collection has been to curate a lineup of essentials, with future innovation to be informed by consumer feedback. 

“It’s those 10 items where, if you were were on ‘Survivor’ and could only have 10 things in your makeup kit and you still want to look good because you’re going to be on camera — this is that.” 

Tags

  • cosmetics
  • Serena Williams
  • tennis
  • Ulta Beauty

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