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Q&A with 31st State Founder, Stephanie Capuano

Q&A with 31st State Founder, Stephanie Capuano

31st State founder, Stephanie Capuano, as a mother, recognised the need for natural skin, hair and body care ranges for young men in their teens. She has created hard-working products with smart formulas, without any nasties that can irritate sensitive skin.

As Mother’s Day is coming up, how did being a mother contribute to motivating you to start your brand?

I developed and launched 31st State out of a genuine need - I couldn't find healthy grooming products that worked for my teen sons, nor any that they would actually use. In the naturals space there were no brands that smelt good, were stylish and worked. So I made it.


What is your background in the beauty industry?

I didn't have a background in beauty! My career was spent in the fashion and travel industries, but the most relevant was the 10 years I spent in the pharmaceutical industry where I gained a deep insight into ingredients and the importance of choosing those that are not harmful to our bodies. I applied this to the development of 31st State.


What is your brand’s purpose?

Our mission is to be the first choice of brands for young guys when they enter the grooming market. Our purpose is to celebrate the choices young guys make everyday that shape who they become - we believe that in your choice lies your power and your freedom to shape the world in which you want to live. 


What do you think makes your brand unique?

In the clean beauty space there are few brands made specifically for teens, and definitely not for teen boys. What is there is not aspirational. We are more of a lifestyle brand that happens to make amazing and healthy grooming products for teens - this comes through in how we tell the brand story and our pack design.



What do you love about your job?

I love working with Gen Z - we are not just a brand that makes stuff for them, we are informed by them, too. We have teens that work with us on a regular basis on social media, marketing and product development ideas. They are such a smart and inspiring generation. 



What would you say are the key benefits that your brand’s products offer? 

The active ingredients in our products must be inspired by nature, but also have a real reason for being there – they balance, fight bacteria, soothe sensitive skin or acne.


What’s your favourite ingredient?

Lactic acid is one of the most popular alpha hydroxyacids (AHAs) in skincare today - it's a powerful ingredient that helps reduce acne breakouts, refine and brighten the skin without stripping young, sensitive teenage skin.


Why did you decide to create a brand that offers natural skincare, that's also fully vegan?

Before we launched 31st State we conducted focus groups with Gen Z to learn about their grooming and spending habits, and what they care about in life. We learned that this generation cares deeply about the planet. Vegan diets are becoming more popular, with an increasing number of people giving up meat for a plant-based diet because of its impact on the environment. But adopting a vegan lifestyle doesn’t end with food - choosing clothing, household products, cosmetics and skincare products free from any animal derived ingredients is also a key part of being a vegan. We listened. People are increasingly paying attention to what they put on their skin and looking for cleaner formulations, which we considered in product development.

What is your favourite product within your range and why?

I love the Overnight Clearing Pads - while they were developed for guys to help calm inflamed skin and acne with hero ingredient, lactic acid, we see that girls use them too, after their cleansing routine. They are swiping them from their brothers and boyfriends. Let's call them the 'boyfriend jeans' of skincare! 



Tell us about the creation process for your product range 

We did a lot of market research and focus groups to determine what products teens liked and what worked on their skin and what was missing from the market. From there I found an expert in product development to manage the process for me, help me identify the right manufacturer, identify ideal packaging suppliers, designers and branding agency. It was arduous at times, but we are thrilled with the finished product.



What do you think is special about the partnership between your brand and Showcase Beauty?

As a consumer I share Showcase Beauty's ethos in terms of supporting indie brands who have high standards and make effective products with a conscience. As a working mother, I value the partnership with Showcase Beauty because I can really identify with their beauty experts who are engaged customers and entrepreneurs in their own right. I think its an important and empowering business model. 


How has Showcase Beauty helped your brand grow?

As a new skincare brand and also defining a new market segment, the work of their beauty experts has been instrumental, as they are able to educate and explain on our behalf the importance of a healthy skincare routine for teen boys, who are often the after thought of girls in the beauty industry. We cherish and support a direct relationship with our consumers and try to foster a two way conversation, which we believe is possible through Showcase Beauty.


Sum up your brand in one sentence.

Healthier and safer skin and body care for teens.




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