This is the third installment in an interview series with the 2021 Target Takeoff Beauty cohort. Participating companies are sharing, in their own words, details about their innovative companies. All interviews have been conducted by the Target Takeoff Program Management team.

Meet Flewd.

Flewd founder, Michael Lupo

TT: Michael, what inspired you to start your company? What makes what you are doing different from anyone else in the marketplace?  

ML: Oh geez!  Well, a lifetime of struggling with stress and spending loads of effort trying to figure out a way to help with what that stress was causing – anxiety, insomnia, muscle tension, fatigue…the list goes on.  Everything I did find was pretty overwhelming – it was expensive, complicated, took buckets of time, was built on anecdotes and not facts.  Flewd was a way to build stresscare products that were proof-driven, not scary-sounding, fast/easy, and not expensive.  For part of the question, it seems crazy to write it down, but it’s true.  We’re the first group of goofs to create bathcare products that are performance/benefit focused like we see in haircare, skincare, and bodycare.  Plus, we’re bringing actual third-party, peer-reviewed science to the category as well – we’re the only transdermal bathcare products in existence today – we’ve spent 3 years sourcing the right ingredients that are bioavailable and can be absorbed through your skin.

TT: How did you decide it was the right time to join an Accelerator? What are you most looking forward to getting out of the Target Takeoff experience?   

ML: So, Flewd started as a Beta Test in August of 2020 after 3 years of work.  Even though there had been oodles of effort put into making it “just right” we had hoped we could just test the waters and see what happened.  Hella lucky for us, customers seemed to really like and want more of it.  So, when a mentor of ours sent us the info about the program, we jumped at the chance to get in front of more mentors that could guide us to bringing a stress solution to more people, faster than we ever could on our own.  This mentorship, the sharing of these experiences from Target to Flewd, but also with the other brands in the program, that’s super exciting – we can learn so much in such a short period of time.  That’s priceless for sure!

TT: What currently keeps you up at night, as a founder/leader of your company?   

ML: Nothing!  I just use a dope Insomnia Ending soak if I’m feeling like I’m not gonna sleep at night.  See what I did there?  Shameless plug!  But, I do worry about crafting a brand that people fall in love with.  Right now, we have a pretty stupendous product that does exactly what it promises, but finding the time to craft a brand, to carve a spot in people’s hearts and minds, seems impossible sometimes.  Especially while you’re still hand making thousands of soaks since Covid paused your production!

TT: Speaking of the impacts of the past year, how do you stay motivated through the ups and downs of growing a business, especially now?  

ML: Comments from people that love the soaks.  I have just never felt compelled, no matter how much I love something, to reach out to customer service or hunt down a brand on Insta and tell them how much their products mean to me.  Knowing that what we’re creating is helping people is awesome, but getting to see that proof each day directly from people, that proof is E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G!

TT: Fast forward 1 year from now: where do you see your company and your team? 

ML: Well, first I definitely see us on lots of lovely Target shelves and in the Sunday circular with some amazing BOGO offer happening.  By then we’d actually have hired a team since right now it’s still just a one-person rodeo at Flewd.  But, at that point, we’ll have the team in place to really start crafting that brand and be bringing it to life.  Plus, we’ll have some new soaks we’re working on, and perhaps a new product type or even two.

For more information on Flewd, check out flewd.com