Homecourt offers beauty products for the home. It carries a wide variety of products like surface cleaner, room deodorant, dish soap, candles, hand soap, and fragrance in luxurious scents like Steeped Rose and the signature CeCe. Courteney founded the home care company because her home is her sanctuary, and she wanted to offer products that would allow customers to curate a sense of calm and serenity in their homes.
When the idea was in its infancy, Courteney teamed up with Jobi Brands to invest in the brand and recruit the team. Jobi Brands posted that they were searching for a co-founder and CEO of a celebrity-led brand, who had an MBA and experience in both management consulting and in fragrance brand management. Sarah Jahnke was connected with the team and checked all of the boxes, and even brought more to the tablescape. It was only until she was nearing the final rounds of the process when she learned who the celebrity was behind the brand. After she and Courteney met, it was clear that this was the founding team that would disrupt the cleaning and household product industry.
We sat down with Sarah to learn about her journey to Homecourt and how she’s building a new category of home care with Courteney Cox.
Finding the Right CEO. At the time she met the Jobi Brands team, Sarah had already built up quite the impressive resume. She had been working for L’Oréal for almost five years, most recently managing the$82 million luxury fragrance brands Viktor&Rolf and Proenza Schouler. Prior to that, she started her career in management consulting at PricewaterhouseCoopers and received her MBA from the University of Chicago, where she was exposed to the venture capital world working with early stage companies.
During the summer of 2020, right in the middle of the covid pandemic, she left New York City and moved to Dallas, Texas, to be with her family. “When you’re out of New York and out of the office, you have a little bit of time to reflect on what’s next or what you want to be spending your time on. I missed the earlier stage companies I had been exposed to in business school, and I just started networking.”
A business school connection put her in touch with the Jobi Brands team for the aforementioned role. Sarah explained that she felt confident about partnering with a celebrity, “That was exciting for me to explore because while I wanted to be an entrepreneur and I knew that I could do it, partnering with talent or celebrity is actually honestly a way to de-risk the situation. You get more awareness off the bat, built in.”
When Sarah reached the final round, she learned that the celebrity was Courteney Cox. “That’s when I got even more excited because I knew that Courteney was such an A-List celebrity and mega household name with global potential.” After meeting Courteney in the fall, Sarah was offered the position and they started fundraising.
“By the way,” Sarah said, “We did not know what type of brand this was going to be yet.”
Identifying the White Space. After she officially joined Homecourt, Sarah and Courteney needed to solidify the vision of the brand. The inspiration started from Courteney’s passion for fragrance, home, and design. Many forget that before she became an actress, Courteney actually studied architecture in college. They brainstormed candles as a potential product, but they wanted to think bigger. Sarah asked herself, “Where’s the white space? Where can we disrupt and where’s the business opportunity?”
From her experience at L’Oréal, she knew that luxury fragrance was driving the most growth. At the same time, the world was still in the midst of the covid pandemic, and people were spending more time in their homes than ever before. When we all wanted to Scream after being pent up in our houses during the pandemic, many folks were able to find solace in their homes. Renovations, interior decorating, and self-care routines skyrocketed during the pandemic. Sarah shared how she came across some research from the American Cleaning Institute that found that 57% of folks view cleaning as self-care. That led to their aha moment.
“There starts to be this disconnect when you use luxury skincare, you redecorate your home, you care about your space, but then your household cleaning products or just household hand wash products are kind of mass commoditized,” Sarah said. “They don’t have that same value and worth that you put on all the other products you surround yourself with.”
The Perfect Formula for a New Brand. Sarah was excited to pitch this idea of “home care” to Courteney, as she played Monica on Friends, who was a notorious clean freak. “From an authenticity perspective and fit for the brand idea, the products and the celebrity, this was perfect,” she said. “It kind of addressed the subconscious cultural theme of Monica and Courteney’s association with that. She’s so passionate about fragrance and home architecture, and was able to put her DNA across the entire brand identity. It all really fit and worked together to become the perfect opportunity.”
So, they got to work. Of Courteney’s involvement, Sarah said, “Courteney is really meticulous. She is super hands-on in everything product and creative, like brand identity, packaging, and development. She even made the original candle vessel prototype on a pottery wheel herself.”
Courteney gathers inspiration from all around her, and the Homecourt team incorporates her ideas into the products. “The bottles were inspired by her favorite olive oil that she has in her kitchen,” Sarah said. “Steeped Rose was actually inspired by a hair product that she loves.” In fact, most of the fragrances were inspired by Courteney’s personal fragrance collection. “So all of this is to say, Courteney is super involved in everything creative and product, and then she also is testing the products right alongside with us, making sure that they all work.”
Not Your Typical Household Products. In addition to building a brand authentic to Courteney, the Homecourt team needed to distinguish it from commodity household products. “For everything we do, we command a premium and prestige price point. We have so many special touches on our product.” The design of the products look luxurious, and unlike traditional cleaning products, their customers are leaving the products out on display. Homecourt even has a corporate gifting program and a customer service team called the Concierge.
“I actually don’t think it’s taking up the mindshare as a cleaning brand. I think it’s taking up the mindshare as a luxury fragrance and lifestyle brand,” Sarah said.
Homecourt is also designed with sustainability in mind. The brand limits its use of packaging where possible and utilizes 100% post-consumer recycled materials. Its ingredients are derived from plants and meet strict industry standards for clean beauty. Some ingredients like rosewater are even upcycled.
The Friends Effect. Sarah attributes some of the early success of the brand to Courteney’s 13 million followers across social media channels and to the fact that Courteney is always promoting Homecourt. Sarah said “Even if she’s doing press for one of her movies or other projects, she mentions Homecourt. We get traffic from that. Her network of friends, peers, and other celebrities love to promote the product organically.”
In fact, Homecourt’s organic marketing channel drives 70% of sales, which is especially important in a world where marketing spend is increasingly expensive. On top of that, Homecourt has an over 50% customer repeat rate, a testament to the effectiveness and quality of the products.
Homecourt Advantage. Homecourt’s success is proven in the 94% five-star reviews and the numerous renowned awards it has won from a variety of publications:
- Bustle Beauty Awards 2023 – Neroli Leaf Hand Wash won for Best Hand Wash
- POPSUGAR Beauty Awards 2023 – Cece Candle won for Best Candle
- Allure Best of Beauty Awards 2022 – Steeped Rose Tray Set for Best Splurge
- Architectural Digest 2022 Cleverest Awards – Cipres Mint Kitchen Trio
- Esquire 2022 Grooming Awards – Cipres Mint Hand Wash won for Best Hand Wash
- Good Housekeeping 2022 Best Cleaning & Organizing Awards – Steeped Rose Dish Soap and Steeped Rose Surface Cleaner won for Best Floral Scent
- SHEFINDS Beauty Awards – Steeped Rose Hand Wash won for Best Hand Wash
As for what’s next for the brand, Sarah gave us a preview of some of the exciting new products launching later this year. “We have a new limited edition summer fragrance that will come out around July. Similarly, in the fall, we’re going to have our cult Balsam Fireplace holiday scent that came in a candle. Now, it will come in the full range.”
Homecourt will also continue its focus on being environmentally conscious. “We do have refills coming out in our top selling SKUs to continue to promote sustainability,” Sarah said.
She then teased, “We are working behind the scenes on a new category for next year.” We can’t wait to see how the Sarah, Courteney, and the Homecourt team will continue to lead in this new home care category that they’ve defined.