BeautyMatter was born from Founder Kelly Kovack’s desire to provide a fresh voice to a beauty industry hungry for more content from her perspective, and through her lens. BeautyMatter aim to fill the void, connect the dots, and provide an informed, analytical, and compelling point of view. Exploring limits and blurring boundaries, they offer highly curated news and original content by thought leaders and beauty insiders.
So much for the beauty bubble some experts have predicted. Strategic buyers, venture capital firms, and private equity companies have all been active, with many newcomers entering into the space. The first quarter saw some big raises to fuel growth, with Harry’s receiving $112MM in their ninth round of fundraising, BeautyCounter raised $65MM, while Goop secured $50MM and Glossier raised $52MM in Series Cs. The year also started off with a flurry of seed rounds and minority investments.
Violet grey receives investment from shiseido
Who: Violet Grey was founded in 2013 by Cassandra Grey. The company has a brick-and-mortar presence on Melrose Place in Los Angeles with a curated assortment of products tested and approved by Hollywood’s leading hairstylists, skincare experts, and makeup artists. The brands are sold online.
Shiseido Americas Corporation is a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Shiseido Company, Limited. Shiseido Americas’ portfolio of prestige beauty brands includes Shiseido, NARS, Clé de Peau Beauté, bareMinerals, Laura Mercier, and several prestige fragrance brands including Issey Miyake, Narciso Rodriguez, and Dolce & Gabbana. In 2017, Shiseido Americas acquired MATCHCo, a technology company, JWALK, a creative agency, and Giaran.
In their own words: “We have to gain our own capabilities, we have to study more, and that’s exactly why we have decided to look into an e-commerce company Violet Grey,” Shiseido president and chief executive officer Masahiko Uotani said in a presentation about Shiseido’s three-year corporate strategy in early March. “We decided to take a minority stake in this e-commerce company Violet Grey so we would be able to gain these e-commerce capabilities on our own.”
- Shiseido takes a minority stake in Violet Grey.
- Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
- According to WWD, industry experts indicated the investment was between $5 million and $10 million, and that Violet Grey does around $5 million in sales.
- Last year the business was said to have inked a deal to sell beauty products on Amazon for a commission of between 20 and 30 percent.
Goop raises $50 million Series C
Goop raises $50 million in a Series C with investors in the round including NEA, Lightspeed, and Felix Capital. This round brings Goop’s total outside investment to $82 million.
Who: Gwyneth Paltrow founded Goop in 2008 out of her kitchen as a homespun weekly newsletter. She wanted a place to organize her unbiased travel recommendations, health-centric recipes, and shopping discoveries for friends, and she also wanted to get her own questions—about health, fitness, and the psyche—answered. The brand has evolved into a full-blown content-and-commerce lifestyle company.
Why: The newest investment will fund its international expansion, the company says, adding that it will specifically focus on expanding e-commerce into Europe by the end of the year, as well as host overseas events.
- This round brings Goop’s total outside investment to $82 million, following family-and-friend funding, a $10 million series A in 2015, and a $15 million series B in 2016.
- Market sources estimated Goop’s 2016 revenue at $15 to $20 million, but the company would not confirm the number. The company is not yet profitable.
- Goop not confirm a valuation but did say PitchBook’s recent estimate of $250 million was off, though the company would not comment on if it was too high or too low.
- According to Pitchbook, Goop had previously raised $26.5 million. It was valued at $65 million in August 2016.
- According to Forbes, the company claims it tripled revenue year-over-year for each of the past two years and says it is on track to more than double revenue in 2018.
- Goop launched branded products in 2016, which constitute Goop’s fastest-growing revenue stream. The company claims that sales will increase 200% this year.
- Goop launched Canadian shipping in December 2017.
- This year’s growth is expected to come from new Goop-branded product lines, including a fourth fragrance, new skincare products, and a home goods line, as well as the expanding international business.
Givaudan acquires 40.6% of Naturex
Who: Naturex is headquartered in Avignon, France, and is an international leader in plant extraction and the development of natural ingredients and solutions for the food, health, and beauty sectors.
Givaudan is the global leader in the creation of flavors and fragrances. With a passion to understand consumers’ preferences and a relentless drive to innovate, Givaudan is at the forefront of creating flavors and fragrances that “engage your senses.” The company achieved sales of CHF 5.1 billion in 2017. Headquartered in Switzerland with local presence in over 100 locations, the company has more than 11,100 employees worldwide.
Why: As part of its 2020 strategy, this investment strengthens its capabilities in natural flavor solutions for its customers.
In their own words: Gilles Andrier, CEO of Givaudan, said: “The acquisition of a significant shareholding in Naturex fits fully with our 2020 strategy to expand our offering to deliver natural products to our customers. Givaudan is the global leader in the space of natural flavors and Naturex further complements our capabilities with its strong portfolio of plant extracts and natural ingredients across the food and beverage, nutrition and health and personal care sectors. We look forward to working with the management and shareholders of Naturex in the coming months to secure their support for the acquisition.”
Louie D’Amico, President Designate of Givaudan’s Flavor Division said: “Consumers around the world are increasingly demanding more natural and organic products from food and beverage companies. Naturex will be extremely complimentary to the acquisitions we have announced in this space over the last few years, namely Spicetec, Activ International, Vika and Centroflora Nutra.”
- Givaudan entered into an agreement to acquire 40.6% of the shares of Naturex for EUR 135 per share and a total consideration of EUR 522 million.
- This agreement is subject to all of the appropriate regulatory approvals.
- Naturex, a French public listed company with reported sales of EUR 405 million in 2017, operates from 16 production sites around the world and employs 1,700 people.
- Givaudan intends to launch a mandatory cash tender offer for all remaining outstanding shares of Naturex, at a price of EUR 135 per share. The board of directors and management of Naturex are fully supportive of the transaction.
Strand equity makes a minority investment in Youth To The People
Who: Youth To The People was co-founded by cousins Joe Cloyes and Greg Gonzalez who were immersed in the beauty industry from a young age. Their grandmother, Eva Friederichs, founded Eva’s Esthetics in 1979 and is regarded as one of the first American aestheticians and the first to bring natural and botanical ingredients into the US professional skincare industry. This influence inspired Cloyes and Gonzalez to create Youth To The People, driven by the philosophy that what you put on your skin should be as whole and nutrient rich as what you put into your body. The company utilizes the combination of superfood ingredients, potent cold-pressed extracts, natural botanicals, precise custom scientific formulations and earth-friendly packaging to keep skin looking and feeling young. Its precise, custom formulas feature 100 percent vegan ingredients, cold-pressed extracts, and earth-friendly packaging. The line is comprised of six SKUs, priced from $35 to $62, not including travel sizes.
Strand Equity is a Los Angeles-based growth equity firm led by a team of experienced and successful investors and entrepreneurs. With a permanent capital base, Strand Equity maintains a flexible approach to structure and partnership, enabling dynamic entrepreneurs and management teams to accelerate growth and build durable businesses. Strand Equity’s current and realized investments include Banza, Hippeas, HUM Nutrition, Revive Kombucha, Vita Coco, WTRMLN WTR, and Bai Brands, the latter of which sold to Dr. Pepper Snapple for $1.7 billion in 2017, among others.
Why: Funding will be used to build the team internally, support research for new products, and Sephora expansion.
In their own words: “We are continually searching for emerging brands that are about to make a splash in the marketplace,” said Strand Equity Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Seth Rodsky. “Youth To The People is creating something truly innovative by infusing superfoods into its skin care products and we are thrilled to support the company in its next stage of growth as it carries out its mission of bringing natural, plant-based skin care to the masses.”
“We are excited to join forces with Strand Equity as our team continues to evolve and expand,” said Youth To The People Co-Founder Greg Gonzalez. “They understand our vision and will be exceptional partners as we continue to grow within the beauty industry.”
- Youth To The People has received a minority investment from Strand Equity.
- This is Youth To The People’s first investment.
- Details of the transaction were not disclosed.
- According to Forbes, the company is expected to triple in revenue in 2018, with plans to be in over 800 North American Sephora stores by the start of summer.
- Industry sources estimate the brand is on track to do around $20 million for 2018, according to WWD.
- Strand Equity intends to be an active investor, including occupying a board seat.
Urban massage acquires uk beauty platform Freauty
Who: Freauty is an on-demand beauty marketplace, providing hair and beauty treatments to your door. Via the Freauty service, UK residents can book a mobile beauty or hair professional for a wide selection of treatments. These range from massages, facials, and manicures and pedicures, to makeup, spray tans, and waxing.
Established in 2014, Urban Massage is today available in five cities across Europe: London, Paris, Vienna, Manchester, and Birmingham. The service allows users to book one of a menu of 11 massages, to be carried out in the comfort of their own homes.
Why: The acquisition comes with the expansion of the corporate team, which will help support more businesses looking to offer well-being perks to their staff. Urban Massage is looking to broaden its offering considerably.
In thier own words: In a statement, Urban Massage explained that the move to buy Freauty would help the company “cater to more businesses looking to offer wellbeing perks to their staff.” Jack Tang, chief executive of Urban Massage, said: “We’re always looking to work with like-minded brands to help people include wellness rituals like massage into their busy urban lifestyles. Freauty has already created great traction in the space and we’re excited to expand our corporate relationships with this acquisition.”
Kit Chong, chief executive of Freauty, said: “Over the past two years we have been leading some of our own acquisitions and growing our home and corporate client bases. I’m delighted to be on the other end of the acquisition and look forward to helping Urban Massage expand their global business.”
- Details of the transaction were not disclosed.
- The acquisition will see Urban Massage take on Freauty’s corporate clientele.
Guthy-renker makes a minority investment in Mally Beauty
Who: Beauty Visions LLC is a dynamic NYC-based investor and operator in the consumer products industry. In 2015, Beauty Visions acquired controlling interest in Mally Beauty, founded by celebrity makeup artist, Mally Roncal. After spending 15 years on the road with some of the biggest celebrities in the world, Mally Roncal created Mally Beauty: a collection that infuses her knowledge, expertise, and techniques into every formula. The collection first debuted on QVC in March 2005 where it sold out within 40 minutes, breaking records for the retailer and making Mally Beauty a top contender in the beauty industry. Mally Beauty is currently available on QVC and at Ulta Beauty and Kohl’s Department Stores.
Guthy-Renker LLC is one of the world’s largest and most respected direct marketing companies. Since 1988, Guthy-Renker has discovered and developed dozens of high-quality consumer products in the beauty, skincare, entertainment, and wellness categories. More than 20 years ago, Guthy-Renker introduced Proactiv Solution, leveraging its unique style of marketing to bring a revolutionary new approach to acne treatment direct to consumers. In 2013, a Guthy-Renker affiliate acquired a minority stake in IT Cosmetics. Their current portfolio includes Meaningful Beauty®, Crepe EraseTM, Perricone MD, Sheer CoverTM Studio, and Principal Secret®.
In their own words: Celebrity makeup artist Mally Roncal is excited about this new chapter. “Guthy-Renker is giving us a platform to bring my products and beauty tips to a wider audience,” she said. “Their direct-to-consumer model allows products to be purchased at a low monthly price which means Mallynistas will never be without their Mally must-haves! Guthy-Renker LLC has a superior track record of customer satisfaction, and I am grateful to them for embracing our creative vision and supporting us in expanding the Mally Beauty brand.”
“Mally Beauty has a loyal following of beauty enthusiasts and is already well respected in TV shopping to resonate with the direct response consumer,” shared Beauty Visions founding principal and co-chairman Brian Robinson. “We see significant potential and are impressed by Mally and her brand’s business structure and capabilities,” added Guthy-Renker CEO, Rick Odum.
“Guthy-Renker is one of the world’s largest and most respected direct marketing companies, and has helped transform the broadcast direct marketing industry, particularly in the beauty category,” said Brian Robinson, president of Beauty Visions LLC. “Their productions and marketing campaigns have set the gold standard for television and digital advertising featuring some of today’s top influencers and celebrities. We believe Mally will be an excellent addition to that roster.”
- Beauty Visions LLC, owner of Mally Beauty, sold a minority interest to Guthy-Renker Ventures LLC.
- Guthy-Renker LLC has agreed to begin development of a Mally Beauty marketing campaign to expand the channels in which the Mally Beauty line can be purchased direct-to-consumer, including television and e-commerce.
- Ohana & Co. advised Beauty Vision LLC on the transaction.
- Guthy-Renker was represented by Brandt Mori at VirtualGC, LLP.
- Beauty Vision LLC was represented by Loeb and Loeb.
Beauty device e-tailer CurrentBody receives £5mm investment
Who: CurrentBody was founded in 2009 by Laurence Newman and Andrew Showman combining their backgrounds in medical devices and ecommerce. The concept for the website is geared solely towards technology of health and well-being. The retailer is home to the biggest brands in beauty devices including L’Oréal’s market-leading Clarisonic, NuFACE, SmoothSkin, Tria, Wellbox, Iluminage, and FOREO.
Why: This investment will help support the retailer’s next phase of expansion, allow the acceleration of strategic initiatives, and support working capital requirements.
In their own words: Co-founder and CEO of CurrentBody, Laurence Newman, said: “Our partnership with NVM is a significant step in developing our unique product offering internationally whilst continuing UK growth. The team at NVM shared our vision and most importantly immediately understood the market opportunity of a pure-play beauty technology platform, making them an ideal cultural fit.
“Working with NVM will accelerate our ambition to provide the largest selection of clinically proven, at-home health and beauty technology in the world. Exceptional product knowledge in this niche area of beauty and excellent customer care from our team has been so important to our success so far. NVM’s support will further ensure that those high levels remain as we expand.”
Liam May, investment manager of NVM Private Equity, said: “CURRENTBODY has enjoyed exceptional growth over the past few years, driven by an energetic and ambitious management team with a deep understanding of the beauty market. We are excited to support the company’s next phase of growth, establishing itself as the market leading e-commerce platform for beauty devices in the UK and across the globe.”
- CurrentBody received a £5MM growth capital minority investment investment led by NVM Private Equity (NVM).
- Based in Manchester, UK, the business was recently named number 22 in the Northern Tech 100.
- NVM was provided with legal advice by Pannone (Tim Hamilton and Craig Geraghty), financial due diligence by Dow Schofield Watts (Jeff Gardner), market and commercial due diligence by Sempora Management Consultants (Francis Prosser), digital due diligence by onefourzero (Fleur Hicks), management due diligence by The Quinn Partnership (Mike Stiles), technology due diligence by Intuitus (John Lowe & Ian McMillan), insurance due diligence by Aon (John Donald & Gordon Shaw), and VCT compliance by Philip Hare and Associates.
- CurrentBody was provided with legal advice by Pinsent Masons (Anna Whetham), while GP Bullhound provided corporate finance advice (Nick Horrocks and Ed Prior).
Phlur closes series a funding with $6 million series a funding
Who: Launched in 2016 by Eric Korman, founder and CEO, Phlur is a fragrance brand offering an online discovery experience, paired with a novel at-home sampling program, in order to let customers find fragrances. Each scent is crafted with non-toxic, sustainably sourced ingredients and specifically avoids parabens, phthalates, BHT, and other preservatives. For each 50mL full bottle sold, the brand donates $5 to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Since inception, the brand’s donations have enabled the IUCN to research over 50 brand-new species of plants and trees around the world.
Why: The new funding will allow the company to continue aggressively scaling its business, diversifying its marketing activities, launching new distribution channels, and extending into body care.
In their own words: “The moment Eric shared his concept for Phlur with us almost three years ago, we knew it was a category disrupter in a market which has seen no real innovation over at least the last decade,” said Symrise global president of scent and care—and soon-to-be Phlur board member—Achim Daub. “As one of the world’s premier fragrance suppliers, our ambition is to embrace new opportunities arising from the digital revolution and through that help shape the markets of tomorrow. Phlur is a great investment as well as an amazing platform for learning, and we are thrilled at the opportunity to help continue the brand’s growth.”
“We’ve been incredibly fortunate to work with Symrise and its team of world-renowned perfumers since our inception. We’re thrilled to be taking this next step in our relationship with Symrise, one that provides further alignment and validation of our model, as well as the capital investment to continue on the aggressive path we’ve laid out,” says Eric Korman, founder and CEO of Phlur.
- Final closing of the round will bring Phlur’s funding to date to a total of $12 million.
- Phlur is Symrise’s first-ever investment in a fragrance brand.
- Last year, Phlur quintupled its revenue and acquired more than 35,000 customers, along with introducing a line of premium scented candles.
- Last June, Next Coast Ventures, an Austin-based venture capital firm, led the $1.45 million raise along with new investors to the business Farah, former co-Chief Executive Officer of Tory Burch and former Vice Chairman, President, and Chief Operating Officer of Ralph Lauren; Joey Levin, CEO of media firm IAC; and Cotter Cunningham, CEO of RetailMeNot.
- August 2016, Phlur closed on a $1.8 million convertible debt raise, comprised of a continuation of commitments from existing investors who participated in its seed round.
- June 2015 seed round of $2.7 million.
- In conjunction with the funding, Achim Daub, Symrise Global President of Scent & Care, will join Phlur’s board of directors alongside Tom Ball, co-founder and Managing Director of Next Coast Ventures, and Jennifer Olsen, the interim CMO of UNTUCKit.
Supergoop! Gets minority investment from encore consumer
Who: Supergoop! is the first and only prestige beauty brand 100% dedicated to UV protection. Founded in 2007 by former teacher and industry pioneer Holly Thaggard, the brand is driven by creating innovative, efficacious, and ingredient-conscious formulations that deliver broad-spectrum protection in unique, feel-good ways. The brand is serious in its mission to educate on the importance of sun protection, but fun and engaging in its lifestyle approach.
Encore Consumer Capital is a San Francisco-based private equity investment firm focused on the consumer products industry. The firm has raised over $600 million in equity capital and invested in 26 companies. The firm has a history of investing in beauty brands and is invested in Lorac and Butter London. Previously, Encore invested in MyChelle Dermaceuticals and Tarte, which it sold to Juggernaut Capital Partners and Kosé, respectively.
Why: Funds are said to be primarily earmarked to increase marketing efforts.
In their own words: “We are thrilled to partner with Encore to help us take Supergoop! to where no SPF has gone before,” said Supergoop! founder and CEO Holly Thaggard, an industry pioneer who has earned numerous distinctions and accolades for product and brand innovation. “I have known Kevin Murphy and the Encore team since the very early days of Supergoop!, and I am looking forward to their support as we continue our journey of changing the way the world thinks about sunscreen.”
“We have long been interested in investing in an SPF business, and we’ve been really focused on looking for a brand that we think can scale in a way that SPF brands typically don’t,” Murphy said. “Between the brand, management and the product innovation, Supergoop really does have a chance to grow into a large business.”
“We’re a products-first company,” said Amanda Baldwin, Supergoop president. “Everything starts with the product. We’ve got to get it into more hands and tell people more about it. Marketing dollars are essential to that, and doing it in a digital-first mind-set.” Increased marketing spend also likely means more hires, Baldwin said.
- Supergoop! gets minority investment from Encore Capital.
- Terms of the investment were not disclosed.
- WWD industry sources estimated Supergoop! is growing in the high double digits and could do between $45 million and $50 million in retail sales for 2018.
- The business has continued support from earlier investors including JMK Consumer Growth, Circle Up, Grace Beauty, Green Park, and Golf.
- Supergoop! also raised capital from tennis star Maria Sharapova in 2014.
Phenix Salon Suites receives minority investment
Who: Phenix Salon Suites was launched in 2007 by Gina Rivera in Colorado Springs to provide stylists all the benefits of salon ownership without the expense and hassle. Under the Phenix Salon Suites model, franchisees transform approximately 5,000 square feet into 28-30 individual luxury suites. Each suite is equipped with everything needed to successfully run a salon business at a fraction of the cost. Suites are available to nail technicians, massage therapists, aestheticians, chiropractors, and other service professionals creating a one-stop shop for spa-type services and treatments. Phenix Salon Suites is one of the fastest-growing salon suite franchises in the beauty industry with 200 locations in 26 states and a thriving community of over 5,000 stylists. Franchisee candidates are required to have a net worth of at least $550,000 and liquid capital of over $200,000. The total initial investment ranges from $282,600–$937,500, which includes a $45,000 franchise fee.
10 Point Capital is a private investment group focused on partnering with founders and operating executives of multi-unit and franchise businesses. The Group has deep roots in the franchise industry, 10 Point Capital invests in visionary leaders to build dominant brands. 10 Point Capital helps emerging brands accelerate their growth, not only by providing investment capital, but also using proven strategies to help them evolve into mature, thriving brands.
Why: The capital infusion will fuel Phenix’s nationwide expansion as part of its aggressive plans to grow to 1,000 locations over the next five years.
In their own words: “Founder Gina Rivera is an icon in the beauty industry known not only for her flare for style, but also for her keen business acumen. Her Phenix Salon Suites make the old ‘booth/chair rental’ model obsolete and make salon ownership a viable option for salon professionals,” said Tom Wells, Managing Partner at 10 Point Capital. “Her revolutionary idea has sparked considerable growth and we’re excited to join alongside her to further develop the Phenix brand and make this exciting concept available to even more salon professionals.”
“The 10 Point Capital team brings not only capital, but also an established track record for transforming emerging brands into great franchised brands. We’re thrilled they see the enormous growth potential of Phenix Salon Suites,” said Rivera, who comes from a family of salon professionals with over 85 years of salon industry experience. “Working closely with the 10 Point team, we can leverage their franchising knowledge and network to ignite franchise development, open more locations, and provide even more stylists the opportunity to own their own business.”
- 10 Point Capital made a minority investment in Phenix Salon Suites.
- Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
L’oréal acquires ModiFace
Who: Parham Aarabi founded ModiFace 11 years ago in Toronto, Canada, creating advanced technologies of 3D virtual makeup, color, and skin diagnosis services that use proprietary know-how to track facial features and color. The technology is used by almost all major beauty brands, according to L’Oréal.
Why: This acquisition is in line with L’Oréal’s digital acceleration strategy to provide the group’s 34 international brands with the most innovative technologies in terms of services and beauty experience.
In their own words: “L’Oréal’s aquisition of ModiFace provides an incredible opportunity to innovate on beauty augmented reality and artificial intelligence at an unprecedented scale, the results of which will shape the beauty industry for the decades to come,” Parham Aarabi told WWD.
Lubomira Rochet, chief digital officer of L’Oréal, said that ModiFace will “become the heart of our digital services R&D. With its world-class team, technologies and sustained track record in terms of beauty-tech innovations, ModiFace will support the reinvention of the beauty experience around innovative services to help our customers discover, try and choose products and brands. We at L’Oréal and ModiFace want to pioneer this new page of the beauty industry and serve our customers with innovative services and experiences.”
- L’Oréal acquired 100% of ModiFace.
- Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
- ModiFace will become part of L’Oréal’s Digital Services Factory, a network to create and develop new digital services for the company’s brands.
- ModiFace will remain based in Toronto and will collaborate closely with L’Oréal’s Advanced Research.
- ModiFace counts almost 70 engineers, researchers, and scientists on staff, who have registered more than 30 patents and published over 200 scientific papers
True botanicals raised $8 million in a series a round
Who: Mill Valley, California-based True Botanicals was founded in 2014 by Hillary Peterson. Previously a marketing executive at Levi Strauss & Co., Peterson switched career paths after a thyroid cancer diagnosis caused her to evaluate all the beauty products she was using. True Botanicals has become a voice in the clean beauty category and is the first personal care brand to have its entire product line approved by the stringent Made Safe labelling certification. The business is built primarily on a direct-to-consumer distribution strategy but does sell to select retailers.
Why: This financing round will help the company realize its goal of proving that consumers can experience incredible results without risking exposure to toxins.
In their own words: “We are thrilled to have Sonoma Brands lead this raise because they share our passion for quality and innovation and support our mission to transform the beauty industry into a wellness industry,” said Hillary Peterson, founder of True Botanicals. “It’s meaningful to have the continued support of our prior investors, Unilever Ventures and Cue Ball Capital, who have constantly supported our strict standards and aggressive goals and helped us reach this important milestone. Our entire team is honored to have such an outstanding group of investors supporting our efforts.”
Christina Mace-Turner, CEO of True Botanicals, said “Many people refer to True Botanicals as a beauty brand, but I see it as much more than that. Our mission is far greater than just helping give people the results they are looking for. We are equally committed to the well being of our customers and the planet, and making nontoxic products that actually work is at the core of how we support both. We are grateful for the support of our investors and this additional funding, which will allow us to continue to grow the business in the years to come.”
Jon Sebastiani, Founder of Sonoma Brands, said “Hillary and Christina have built an incredible brand defined by authenticity, a relentless focus on quality and innovation, and a deep demand for efficacy. While our roots are in the culinary arena, this investment represents exactly the type of business and entrepreneurs that Sonoma Brands was created to partner with. We look forward to helping the True Botanicals team execute on their vision of building one of the world’s top 100 beauty brands.”
Anna Ohlsson-Baskerville, Director at Unilever Ventures, said “Unilever Ventures is delighted to continue backing Hillary, Christina and the team for True Botanicals’ next phase of growth. Their vision and innovation for a digitally-led approach to prestige skin care combined with the outstanding quality of the True Botanicals beauty line clearly resonates with consumers. We are thrilled to be part of this journey with them.”
- The Series A Round raised $8 million and was led by Sonoma Brands and including prior investors Unilever Ventures and Cue Ball Capital.
- The company has grown at a rate of over 400% in the past year.
- Last spring Unilever Ventures secured a minority stake in the brand as part of a more than $3 million round of seed funding that included several investors.
Tricoci family acquired the Mario Tricoci hair salon and day spa
Who: Mario Tricoci and his wife Cheryl launched the first of their famed salons and spas in the Woodfield Mall in 1976. The company grew into one of the largest and most well-respected salon and spa businesses in the United States. Today the business consists of 14 salons and day spas and 2 smaller salons, and employs more than 1,300 industry professionals throughout the Chicago market.
In their own words: Mario stated, “First and foremost I am a stylist and have more to share with this magnificent industry – an industry that has given me so much. We have fabulous plans for cutting-edge innovation and new and improved services and products. We look forward to advancing this vision with our team and experiencing it with our guests very soon. Our renowned and oft celebrated team remains. This is a very exciting time for our company. It is a family business once again!”
“North Castle has been a wonderful partner for us and we’ve gotten along extremely well,” Tricoci told Crain’s Chicago Business.“Being as passionate a man as I am in regards to what I do, I believe the Tricoci family will once again be at the forefront of the beauty industry.”
- The Tricoci family sold a majority interest in the Mario Tricoci Hair Salon and Day Spa business 17 years ago but has once again assumed full control.
- North Castle Partners, is a Greenwich, Conn.-based private-equity firm that has owned it since 2000.
- Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
- The Tricoci business includes 14 salons and day spas in the Chicago market, plus two smaller salons that do not offer spa services.
- Press coverage after North Castle’s purchase put the salon chain’s annual revenue at $60 million in 2000; in an interview, Tricoci said the business was “worth the same, maybe more.”
- Under North Castle ownership, the Tricoci business merged with Elizabeth Arden, one of the largest salon and spa chains in the country.
W3LL PEOPLE receives investment from Nextworld evergreen
Who: W3LL PEOPLE was founded in 2008 by beauty dream team makeup artist Shirley Pinkson, cosmetic dermatologist Reneé Snyder MD, and wellness visionary James Walker. Since launching, the company has become a leader in the clean beauty industry with boundary-breaking formulas that combine extraordinary artistry, state-of-the-art technology, and social responsibility into plant-based cosmetics that truly perform. The brand bridges natural and luxury beauty boutiques, including Credo Beauty, The Detox Market, and Pharmaca, as well as top national retailers including Target and Whole Foods Market, proving that prestige beauty and wellness are not mutually exclusive. W3LL PEOPLE also has two brick-and-mortar retail studios in Austin, offering the full collection of W3LL PEOPLE products, as well as a curated selection of the best in natural beauty across skin, hair, and body care products.
NextWorld Evergreen is a San Francisco-based strategic equity firm focused on providing growth capital to the branded consumer sector, with a commitment to personal care, specialty retail, packaged goods, food & beverage. NextWorld seeks to partner with talented innovators, pioneers, and change agents to build authentic brands with lasting value and global potential. The firm operates from a unique long-term evergreen structure.
Why: The investment will help with category and distribution expansion while ramping up marketing efforts.
In their own words: “In our search for a strong financial partner to support and propel W3LL PEOPLE’s burgeoning growth, it was clear from day one that NextWorld was an idyllic choice,” said James Walker, president and co-founder of W3LL PEOPLE. “Their impressive financial resources, commitment to wellness, and extensive experience in the beauty industry all but secure W3LL PEOPLE’s continued future success. With NextWorld’s backing, we’re able to continue expanding into new product categories, grow our retail partnerships, and broaden our marketing reach at a rapid pace.”
“At NextWorld, we’re looking to fund the future of better-for-you and better-for-the world brands. W3LL PEOPLE is a brand that makes high-performance clean beauty accessible, and their mission of sustainability is something we’re excited to support,” said Frederic Benque of NextWorld. “W3LL PEOPLE shook up the clean beauty world with their disruptive business strategies and award-winning cosmetics beginning with the Expressionist Mascara, and they continue to innovate with products that blend artistry, performance and multi-tasking benefits with intentional price positioning that’s attainable for a much wider audience than many of the clean makeup products on the market.”
NextWorld Evergreen operates with no fixed schedule for exits. Julia French, senior associate at the investment firm, points out the duration of its fund is 100 years. “We believe that building great consumer brands takes time, and we align ourselves to that. Our investment will follow the horizon of W3ll People’s growth trajectory and needs,” she says. “We are excited about the brand’s commitment to non-toxic clean beauty, sustainability [and] its dedication to its consumers of all ages.”
- W3LL PEOPLE has received a minority investment from growth equity investor NextWorld Evergreen.
- The brand has experienced phenomenal growth in the nearly 10 years since their launch.
- According to Beauty Independent the brand crossed into the black in 2017 and is slated to be profitable this year, too. Revenues are on track to advance 45.3% this year, when Target is forecast to account for 40.3% of its overall business. In 2017, W3LL PEOPLE broke into 200 Target stores and, this past March, entered another 200 stores. By July, the brand will be available at 700-plus Target doors.
Swallowfield acquires men’s grooming brand Fish
Who: Fish is a well-established men’s grooming brand born out of original Fish salon in D’Arblay Street. Heritage underpins the 15-year-old product range of high-performance men’s hair-styling products. Distribution for the brand is currently in Boots, Superdrug, Tesco, and Waitrose.
Swallowfield is a private-label manufacturer with a portfolio of owned brands that were acquired in a 2016 Brand Architekts’ transaction. The portfolio consists of mid-premium beauty, body, and haircare brands sold at major UK and international high street retailers.
In their own words: Chris How, Swallowfield’s Chief Executive Officer, commented to Business Leader, “Following the acquisitions of Real Shaving Company in 2015 and The Brand Architekts in 2016 we have been delighted to have seen strong growth momentum in our owned brand portfolio. This segment of our business showed sales growth of 25% in the first half of our current financial year and in that same period contributed 31% of Group sales. The addition of Fish to this vibrant portfolio will add further strength and growth potential.”
- The acquisition involves an upfront cash consideration of £2.7 million, with a further 12-month performance-based earn out figure of £300,000.
- For the year to 31 December 2017, the Fish brand generated net sales of £1.7 million and achieved £400,000 EBITDA.
- Fish will join the other male-focused brands MR, The Real Shaving Company, and Tru in Swallowfield’s portfolio.
- The brand will be managed by the team at Brand Architekts.
- Swallowfield’s subsidiary to accelerate the growth of the brand in the UK through the addition of new products and broadening distribution.
- Founder of Fish, Paul Burfoot, will work with Swallowfield as a consultant.
- Burfoot will continue to own and operate the iconic Fish salon in London’s Soho.
Beauty By Design raised $2.2 million in seed funding
Who: Beauty By Design is a vertically integrated prescriptive commerce platform that offers skincare solutions based on over 10,000 personalized combinations matching the user’s unique skin. The company combines esthetician expertise and an ingredient algorithm with products to produce an accurate skincare match featuring a cleanser, moisturizer, and treatment.
Why: The company will use the funds to continue to expand operations and business reach.
- Beauty By Design has raised $2.2 million in seed funding.
- The round was led by Resolute Ventures, with participation from Ludlow Ventures, TenoneTen Ventures, Troy Capital Partners, and other angel investors.
Swander pace capital acquires J.R. Watkins
Who: With 150 years of authentic apothecary heritage, J.R. Watkins offers a broad range of natural personal and home care products sold to leading retailers nationwide. Established in 1868, J.R. Watkins began as an apothecary and supplier of personal care goods. Today, it is a globally recognized brand across a variety of household and personal care product categories. The company maintains a strong distribution network consisting of well-known distributors and retailers, as well as a growing online and Amazon presence.
Swander Pace Capital is a private equity firm that invests in companies that are integral to consumers’ lives. SPC’s consumer industry expertise informs the firm’s strategic approach and adds value through access to its proven SPC Playbook, senior team, and extensive network. The firm partners with management teams to help build companies to their full potential. SPC invests in businesses across three domains of consumer lifestyles: Food & Beverage, Body & Wellness, and Home & Family. The firm has invested in other beauty and personal care companies, including Glo Skin Beauty and Gilchrist & Soames.
In their own words: “We are looking forward to building on the legacy of J.R. Watkins to increase its share of the household and personal care category,” said Heather Smith Thorne, managing director at Swander Pace Capital. “J.R. Watkins has always stood for a superior range of products, high caliber of customer service, and extremely loyal customer base. These are tremendous assets for any consumer-facing business and are major reasons we are excited about partnering with this team and brand.”
“We are thrilled to be working with such an experienced and knowledgeable partner in Swander Pace,” said Mark Jacobs, CEO of Watkins, Inc. “Time and again, they have nurtured authentic brands with high-quality products in the natural products space, helping them become leaders in their categories.” He added, “Swander Pace is known for helping companies grow revenues, improve profitability and unlock value, and we look forward to working with their team to ensure J.R. Watkins is well-positioned for long-term success.”
“Amid changing customer tastes, J.R. Watkins is in a unique position to increase its market share in the natural home, bath and body care business,” said Mark Poff, managing director at Swander Pace Capital. “We are confident that the investment will put the company in the best possible position to expand upon its already-successful legacy.”
- No financial terms were disclosed.
- As part of its investment, Swander Pace will provide the resources and financial backing to carve out the J.R. Watkins Personal Care & Household product offering from Watkins, Inc. into a separate company.
- Mark Jacobs, CEO of Watkins, Inc., will continue his involvement with J.R. Watkins as vice chairman of the newly formed J.R. Watkins company.
- Swander Pace plans include building the company’s management team, expanding distribution, and increasing marketing spend.
- According to WWD, industry sources said after a growth plan is enacted, the brand could grow to do more than $100 million in sales.
- BMO Capital Markets advised Watkins, Inc. on the transaction.
Glossier raises $52 million series c funding
Who: Launched in 2014 by Emily Weiss, Glossier is the community-driven, direct-to-consumer beauty company with an inclusive, customer-centric approach to brand building that has made it a leader in the rapidly evolving global beauty industry. Glossier is the beauty brand you want to be friends with. Everything that Glossier does is inspired by real girls and designed for real life.
Why: The fresh injection of capital will be used to focus on new digital products and experiences to further expand the Glossier community.
In their own words: “E-commerce has made buying easier and more efficient, but discovery less fun and meaningful. Our direct-to-consumer model has enabled us to build uniquely powerful relationships with every single one of our customers on a personal level. We know that our customers are driven by the excitement of finding a new beauty product that they love, through someone they trust. This breadth of human connection and celebration of personal choice is core to who we are, and something we want to further facilitate and develop through new digital products—and, indeed, across all of our customer touchpoints. We are building a people-first ecosystem, to help and to inspire.”
- Institutional Venture Partners (IVP) and Index Ventures co-led the Series C round, with participation from existing investors Thrive Capital, Forerunner Ventures, and 14W.
- New investors Imaginary Ventures and Starbucks founder Howard Schultz joined this round.
- According to WWD industry sources say this third round of funding of $52 million values the business at about $390 million.
- The same source told WWD that the business is not yet profitable and that it has an estimated $40 million in sales.
- To date, Glossier has raised a total of $86 million in four rounds of funding.
- The company doesn’t disclose its revenue numbers, but told TechCrunch it saw three times as much revenue last year as in 2016.
- Glossier opened offices in London and Montreal, after quietly acquiring a small Canadian digital strategy studio called Dynamo. One of Dynamo’s cofounders, Bryan Mahoney, is now Glossier’s CTO.
- The total number of products in the brand’s offering is now 22.
- The brand says their Glossier Girls rep program has grown tremendously.
- Glossier new funding coincides with the brand hitting 1MM followers on Instagram.
Cake Beauty acquired by Marc Anthony cosmetics
Who: Toronto-based Cake Beauty was founded in 2003 by CEO Heather Reier. Achieving cult status over the last 15 years, Cake has secured its foothold in the Canadian market as a pioneer in crossing high-performing, naturally driven formulations with playful indulgence, and has won the love of editors, influencers, and customers alike with products that are 100 percent vegan and cruelty-free. Cake Beauty creates with heart, thinks beyond the pink, and designs award-winning, cruelty-free, and vegan products that women love to use every day.
Marc Anthony founded the Marc Anthony Cosmetics Ltd business in 1995. For over 20 years, the Marc Anthony Salons and its acclaimed team of Pro Stylists have styled influencers, from music icons to red-carpet A-listers, around the globe. The brand identity is based on salon-created, salon-approved quality hair care products at an affordable price distributed in over 25 countries.
Why: The acquisition of Cake Beauty is part of Marc Anthony’s strategy to expand its portfolio of brands, further establish itself as a leader in the Canadian beauty market across price points, and support its global growth.
In their own words: “I am beyond excited that Cake Beauty has become part of the Marc Anthony family. The customer-centric approach to beauty that we both share makes this the perfect addition to the Marc Anthony portfolio of brands,” says Marc Anthony, Founder and CEO. “I look forward to collaborating creatively with Heather and the Cake team and introducing this innovative, high-quality brand to our global customers.”
“Building Cake from the little company started in a kitchen to the beloved brand it is today has been the ride of a lifetime—and the natural next step for Cake is international expansion,” says Founder, Heather Reier. “In Marc and his team, I have found like-minded partners to build on what we’ve accomplished and look forward to bringing the brand to customers worldwide. I’m so pleased to be working with them and thrilled to start this journey as one team.”
- No financial terms were released.
- According to GCI, Cake Beauty is currently among Shoppers Drug Mart’s top-selling brands.
- Marc Anthony is a portfolio company of US private equity firm TA Associates, which invested in the business in 2016.
- Marc Anthony will take over management of Cake’s global sales team, retailer relationships, and global operation model.
Harry’s receives a minority growth equity investment
Who: Harry’s was founded in March 2013 with the goal of delivering an exceptional shave at a fair price. Harry’s is the first vertically integrated, omni-channel shaving company in the world as a result of owning and operating its own razor factory in Eisfeld, Germany, and offering products direct to consumers at Harrys.com in the US, Canada, and the UK. In 2016, Harry’s products launched in 1,800 Target stores nationwide, as well as on Target.com.
Alliance Consumer Growth (“ACG”) is a leading growth equity fund providing capital and value-added partnership to the most promising emerging consumer product and retail brands. Notable brands that ACG successfully partnered with as an early investor include Shake Shack (later completed an IPO as NYSE: SHAK), Babyganics (later acquired by SC Johnson), Krave Jerky (later acquired by Hershey’s), Suja Juice (later acquired by Coca-Cola), barkTHINS (later acquired by Hershey’s), Tata Harper Beauty, Pacifica Beauty, Nudestix, among others.
Why: In addition to fueling Harry’s continued growth in shaving and grooming, and building its product portfolio and team, this investment will enable Harry’s to fulfill its vision to build a next-generation CPG company, investing in, building, and owning a portfolio of modern CPG brands across multiple categories.
In their own words: “We are delighted to partner with ACG through this latest round of financing for Harry’s,” said Andy Katz-Mayfield, co-founder of Harry’s. “ACG has an exceptional track record in partnering with best-in-class emerging brands and helping them grow. We believe their expertise and network in consumer products is very complementary and value-added to our company as we continue to scale.”
“Harry’s epitomizes the type of game changing entrepreneurial consumer brand we love to back,” said Josh Goldin, co-founder of ACG. “The Harry’s team is solving a problem for consumers by providing best-in-category personal care and shaving products for a lower price than those offered by legacy ‘Big Shaving’ companies. We are thrilled to join the Harry’s family and be part of their mission.”
“We’ve built a lot of infrastructure at Harry’s that we think we can leverage into new categories,” Jeff Raider, one of Harry’s founders, said in a telephone interview to the New York Times. “It’s something that we’ve been excited about for a long time, and we’re now at a point in our business where we can act on it.”
- According to Crunchbase, this growth round was $112MM, bringing the total money raised to date to $474.6MM in nine rounds since 2012.
- This round was led by Alliance Consumer Growth (“ACG”) who was joined by Temasek and Tao Capital, as well as existing Harry’s investors.
- According to the New York Times, Harry’s has taken a minority stake in Hims, a start-up that makes men’s hair-loss products, and it intends to buy majority ownership in other brands.
Midocean partners acquires BH Cosmetics
Who: LA-based BH Cosmetics launched in 2009, and is a leading direct-to-consumer color cosmetics brand focused on the Millennial / Generation Z consumer. BH offers a full range of color cosmetics, brushes, and accessories at value pricing. The company has a worldwide social media following across multiple platforms and utilizes a deep influencer network to drive brand awareness and customer acquisition. Given the company’s heritage as a digitally native e-commerce color cosmetics brand, BH has developed an advanced e-commerce platform with proven capabilities in customer acquisition, consumer engagement, and customer loyalty.
Established in 2003, MidOcean Partners is a premier New York-based alternative asset manager that specializes in middle-market private equity and alternative credit investments. Since inception, the focus of the private equity funds has been on high-quality middle-market companies with attractive strategic, operational, and financial growth opportunities in the consumer and business services sectors.
Why: This transaction will give BH the ability to expand in the US and globally, and capitalize on new wholesale opportunities.
In their own words: Fred Sadovskiy, BH co-Founder and CEO, commented, “We are very excited to begin our partnership with MidOcean. MidOcean has tremendous resources and experience building branded consumer products platforms and has a proven track record of helping take founder-led consumer businesses to the next level. We are confident that MidOcean will be an excellent partner for BH as we look to continue BH’s expansion in the color cosmetics market.”
Kirill Trachtenberg, BH Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer, added, “BH was launched in 2009 with a focus on eye palettes and has since developed a full suite of cosmetics with high quality products at value price points. The partnership with MidOcean will enable us to dedicate additional resources to key areas of our business including innovation and product development, marketing and branding and customer service. We believe there is a tremendous opportunity to accelerate BH’s growth and have been very impressed with MidOcean’s collaborative approach to developing and helping implement a growth strategy for BH.”
Robert Sefaradi, BH co-Founder and COO, further stated, “MidOcean’s experience building leading consumer brands and deep understanding of the industry makes them the ideal partner for BH. We have successfully accelerated BH’s growth in recent years by expanding into wholesale and international markets. With MidOcean’s partnership and guidance, BH will have the resources, industry knowledge and expertise to help take our Company and brand to the next level.”
Jonathan Marlow, Managing Director at MidOcean, concluded, “We are incredibly excited to partner with BH, a leading color cosmetics brand with a strong direct-to-consumer and digital marketing business model and multiple levers for continued growth. MidOcean has significant experience building strong consumer brands with founder-owned businesses and we believe that BH Cosmetics has substantial opportunities for continued growth and expansion fueled by appropriate investments in people, infrastructure and marketing. We see numerous opportunities to increase BH’s presence across channels and geographies and look forward to working with Fred, Kirill, Robert and the talented team at BH to drive this growth.”
- According to WWD, industry sources indicated the brand has between $50 million and $60 million in net sales, is very profitable, and does most of its sales online.
- According to data from Tribe Dynamics, BH’s EMV was up 66% year-over-year for the third quarter of 2017 and has grown its community with a 278% increase in ambassadors, and grew its posts by 448%.
- BH will continue to be led by founders Fred Sadovskiy (CEO), Kirill Trachtenberg (Chief Strategy Officer), and Robert Sefaradi (COO).
- BH will look to expand the company’s reach in current and new markets in partnership with MidOcean’s considerable operating resources.
- Kirkland & Ellis acted as legal advisor to MidOcean.
- The Sage Group acted as exclusive financial advisor and Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP acted as legal advisor to BH Cosmetics.
On-demand massage start-up melt acquired by Soothe
Who: Founded in 2013, Soothe is the world’s largest and fastest-growing on-demand massage service and app available in over 55 cities across the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and Australia. Soothe brings the healing power of massage to a client’s home, office, or hotel in as little as an hour.
Why: The acquisition will help expand Soothe’s footprint to a new group of clientele and is a natural addition to their existing network.
In their own words:Soothe CEO and founder Merlin Kauffman said, “Acquiring Melt enables us to further expand and continue providing in-home massage to over 55 cities and four countries worldwide.”
Melt co-founder Travis Peters added, “We’re excited to migrate our customer base and massage therapist network to Soothe. Melt customers will still have access to their favorite massage therapists, in addition to 10,000 more under the Soothe brand.”
- No details of the transaction were released.
Procter & gamble acquires New Zealander-based skincare brand Snowberry
Who: Persian-born New Zealander Soraya Hendesi founded Snowberry in 2007 out of necessity. She was unhappy with the compromises of conventional skincare and felt “natural” products were not scientifically advanced. She set out to create skincare with no compromises to functionality, safety, or the inclusion of ingredients in their optimum quantities. Snowberry is the first New Zealand skincare company to achieve carboNZeroCert™ certification for each of its products, and may be the first to do so globally.
Why: For Snowberry, a big part of the motivation to sell was to give the company access to expansion capital. P&G and other CPG companies have been acquiring natural and innovative brands to address the changing preferences of a new generation of shoppers.
In their own words: “Snowberry brings to our collection of skincare brands unique formulas rooted in the intersection of nature and science,” P&G spokeswoman Kelly Vanasse told the Cincinnati Business Courier. “It is a beautiful brand and story with outstanding performance, which makes it a great fit for P&G.”
“P&G has extraordinary R&D and marketing resources,” Greg Billington, general manager of Snowberry New Zealand, was quoted as saying. “Snowberry management considers it a privilege and a hugely exciting opportunity to have access to those resources, to continue to develop the anti-aging solutions that we know our customers want.”
- Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
- Snowberry falls in the prestige beauty category, which P&G mostly exited when it sold its specialty beauty portfolio to Coty Inc with the exception of skincare brand SK-II.
- Snowberry will continue to be run by its current team out of New Zealand.
- Snowberry distribution is primarily in New Zealand, China, and the US.
Meitu backs hong kong e-commerce start-up Goxip
Who: Goxip is an online marketplace for fashion and beauty products, with offices in Hong Kong and Malaysia. The shopping platform combines products from different online retailers, targeting fashion/beauty lovers, influencers, and bloggers. With Goxip’s product/brand recognition technology, consumers can purchase similar apparel worn by celebrities or key opinion leaders, and make recommendations to friends. The company has partnered with more than 500 international online retailers, and has over 36,000 luxury brands and five million pieces of merchandise in its database.
Meitu was launched in 2008 by founders Xinhong Wu and Wensheng Cai. Meitu is China’s number-one photo-editing app, describing itself as the ultimate photo toolkit in one easy-to-use app. Instagram and Snapchat have allowed people to apply perfecting filters, but Meitu takes filters to a whole other level. The company has built a suite of apps including MeituPic, Meipai, SelfieCity, BeautyCam, BeautyPlus, Airbrush, and MakeupPlus that are installed on more than 1 billion unique devices, and growing by more than 200 million new activations every day. In 2016 Meitu raised $629 million in an IPO in Hong Kong. Last year Meitu rolled out e-commerce platform MeituBeauty specializing in cosmetics and skincare, which allows shoppers to try out the products by uploading their selfie.
Why: The funds will be used to develop Goxip’s proprietary rewardSnap ad system and expand into new markets in Southeast Asia. For Meitu the Goxip investment is expected to accelerate their overseas expansion.
In their own words: “Meitu will be a strategic partner,” Juliette Gimenez, CEO and co-founder at Goxip, told The Nikkei. In addition to the investment, the two companies would cooperate in various ways, including on Goxip’s expansion in the lucrative mainland China market, she said.
“We will not comment on one single project,” Meitu’s spokesperson (they were not named) told the Nikkei Asian Review. However, she added: “Meitu’s investment strategy has always been revolving around new technology, beauty and user growth.”
Vanessa Cheung, founder of The Mills, told e27, “The establishment of The Mills Fabrica Fund has enabled us to provide more support to startups in the global techstyle to further their growth. We believe Goxip has great potential for global expansion and changing the fashion retail model, and we hope that more techstyle entrepreneurs will continue to inspire other startups in the community, especially in Hong Kong.”
- The investment was led by Meitu with participation from Hong Kong conglomerate Nan Fung Group via its inaugural Mills Fabrica Fund.
- According to Tech Crunch, a trio of young wealthy female investors also participated. Chryseis Tan, an existing investor who is the daughter of Malaysian billionaire Vincent Tan; Sabrina Ho, the daughter of Macau-based casino magnate Stanley Ho; and Iman Allana, from Indian multibillion dollar food giant Allana Group.
- Nan Fung Group’s Mills Fabrica Fund contributed to this round with US$1 million.
- The winner of RISE 2015, Goxip had earlier raised US$1.6 million in seed funding from Southeast Asia-based VC fund Ardent Capital.
- Recently Meitu also acquired a stake in Hong Kong-based media company PressLogic, a data and technologies company that includes machine learning to better target advertising on social media.
Groupe Rocher to acquire Arbonne international and nature’s gate
Who: Arbonne was founded in Switzerland in 1975 by Petter Mørck and brought to the US in 1980. The brand is the result of the founder’s vision to develop botanically based skincare, cosmetics, and nutrition products that are better for both consumers and the planet, while also providing an opportunity for people to become financially independent by joining a direct selling network.
The Groupe Rocher is and independent family-run group with a philosophy of “creative entrepreneurship.” Groupe Rocher sales (from nine brands dedicated to women’s beauty and well-being): Yves Rocher, Petit Bateau, Stanhome, Dr. Pierre Ricaud, Daniel Jouvance, Kiotis, ID Parfums, Flormar, and Sabon) amounted to more than €2 billion in 2017.
Why: Groupe Rocher and Arbonne have many things in common: the concept of robust brands that share real values, high quality and innovation standards, a wide range of natural products, and a strong commitment to sustainability. Arbonne expects to be able to benefit from the resources and expertise offered by Groupe Rocher’s network of consumers, suppliers, and partners. A recent investment in the digitization of the direct selling network will allow Arbonne to help Groupe Rocher enhance the direct selling model.
In their own words: Bris Rocher, CEO of Groupe Rocher, stated in a release: “This acquisition will be a real asset that will enable us to strengthen our positioning in the direct selling channel, which has seen an upturn over the past few years. We also have a heritage of providing employment opportunities—dating back to my grandfather, our founder, Yves Rocher, who cared deeply about providing employment since he started his business. This, combined with our direct selling know-how, should foster company growth and longevity.”
Said Kay Zanotti, CEO of Arbonne: “We share with Groupe Rocher commitments to pure, botanically based products and sustainability, as well as a long-term business vision that is grounded in family values. We are particularly pleased with Groupe Rocher’s keen appreciation of the many benefits of the direct selling model in providing flexible income opportunities, and a positive community of professional growth for individuals.”
- Arbonne is a global business with sales revenue in excess of 550 million dollars (450 million euros).
- Arbonne has approximately 800 employees and over 250,000 active independent consultants.
- This pending acquisition (the value of which has not been released) will round off the portfolio of Groupe Rocher brands, and positions the family-owned, Breton company as an operator that is growing more than ever before.
Unilever ventures leads seed funding for new crowd service platform limitless
Who: Limitless Crowd Service was founded in 2016 by Megan Neale and Roger Beadle. They had a mission to put an end to poor customer service and give people who provide great service better rewards and freedom. Limitless provides a more effective alternative to call centers or standalone automation. The technology combines the best of people with technology to give customers a better, more authentic experience. For businesses, it gives them a cost-effective way to scale their resources to provide faster responses to customers.
Unilever Ventures is the venture capital and private equity arm of consumer packaged goods conglomerate Unilever PLC. They invest in young, promising companies, accelerating growth by providing access to Unilever’s global ecosystem, assets, and expertise. Unilever Ventures has poured an estimated €450 million into some 40 start-ups since its establishment in 2002. It concentrates on digital and beauty companies in the US, Europe, and Asia with investments ranging from 5 percent to controlling shares.
In their own words: “The fundamental nature of work is changing as the world is moving from fixed to fluid, on-demand working models,” said Roger Beadle, co-founder and CEO of Limitless. “Customers today value authenticity and expect fast, helpful and empathetic service at the speed of social. In our view, crowdsourcing will become an integral part of an ecosystem of technologies and methods that will fundamentally change the future of customer service.”
“To date, companies have had to rely on inflexible and costly contact centres, with fixed infrastructure and resources to deliver customer support,” said Megan Neale, co-founder and COO of Limitless. “Limitless allows companies to tap into a more diverse, talented and flexible global workforce and achieve up to 50% cost savings.”
Stan Sthanunathan, Executive Vice President – Consumer & Market Insights at Unilever says, “We know consumers want more insightful and faster responses from communications with our brands, Limitless offers us a way to provide this whilst helping other consumers at the same time. We are excited to work with Limitless to help us scale customer services much more cost effectively across all digital channels on a 24/7 basis and deepen our understanding of consumer needs. We also get to reward our most loyal and passionate customers at the same time.”
“Unilever Ventures invested in Limitless because they combine leading edge technology in crowdsourcing and artificial intelligence, with an amazing team who know what customers really want,” said Jan Harley, Director at Unilever Ventures.
- Unilever Ventures leads seed funding for Limitless Crowd Service.
- Limitless is currently helping three Unilever brands: Marmite, Persil, and TRESemmé.
Skylar body raised $3 million led by upfront ventures
Who: Skylar Body launched eight moths ago as a direct-to-consumer, customized natural fragrance brand. The initial assortment consists of four scents, Coral, Arrow, Meadow, and Isle, priced at $78 that are intended be mixed and matched for personalization. Founder and chief executive, Cat Chen, has experience in the direct-to-consumer, clean beauty world from her time at Honest. For the moment the brand is focused solely on building a direct-to-consumer brand, but future wholesale and online expansion is not off the table.
Why: Funds are earmarked for product expansion, digital marketing, and hiring a team.
In their own words: “We’re less than a year old, [so] definitely a lot of women don’t know about us and awareness is [our] biggest opportunity and what we’ll be doing with this fund-raiser,” Chen told WWD. “In the future, we’ll expand into adjacent product categories [and do] the same thing in the scented space and natural space, so home fragrance and personal care are the additional categories we’ll be thinking about.”
“It’s rare that we see a commerce category that so clearly leverages strong market trends with this type of high margin, high repeat rate unit economics,” said Kara Nortman, Upfront Ventures partner, in a statement. “[And] Cat Chen represents everything we look for in a founder. Cat is a triple threat with an unfair advantage in audience building, supply chain, and unusual access to the best local talent across both product and technology coming out of her years at Honest.”
- Upfront Ventures led a $3 million first round of financing for Skylar Body.
- In the eight months since launch the brand has picked up 10,000 customers.
- According to TechCrunch the Los Angeles investment community is rallying behind Chen and her business. Brian Lee, Amplify, Upfront Ventures, Kaktus Capital (founded by ex-NastyGal executive Deborah Benton), and Brilliant Ventures are all investors in Skylar Body.
- Brian Lee, who made his name (and his fortune) in the LA technology start-up scene as a founder of LegalZoom, ShoeDazzle, and The Honest Co., was the original backer for Skylar Body.
- According to Crunchbase, Skylar Body raised an undisclosed amount in a convertible note from Amplify.LA.
Gallinée receives investment from unilever ventures
Who: Launched in 2016, Gallinée was founded by French pharmacist Marie Drago, who has 15 years of experience working with skincare brands. The brand was inspired by her history with autoimmune diseases and her desire to create products for sensitive skin that support the skin’s good bacteria. The innovative skincare range focuses on the skin’s microbiome and claims to be the first personal care brand to focus exclusively on the growing science of the human bacterial ecosystem. The products are based on a patented combination of probiotics, prebiotics, and postbiotics.
Unilever Ventures is the venture capital and private-equity arm of consumer packaged goods conglomerate Unilever PLC. They invest in young, promising companies, accelerating growth by providing access to Unilever’s global ecosystem, assets, and expertise. Unilever Ventures has poured an estimated €450 million into some 40 start-ups since its establishment in 2002. It concentrates on digital and beauty companies in the US, Europe, and Asia, with investments ranging from 5 percent to controlling shares.
Why: Drago said she is planning to develop the range, increase online sales in particular, and extend to new markets, with the US being a priority.
In their own words: “We are really looking to unlock growth, and aim to grow tenfold this year,” Marie Drago told WWD. “This investment is a great opportunity. We have plans to bring a revolution in beauty, starting with skin care, and this will help us do it quicker and better. Look out for the new products coming in 2018.”
“The brand has two patents to its name and we are planning to file more in the coming year,” said Drago. “The investment will also allow us to extend clinical validation for our current and future products. Many customers report a beneficial effect on atopic or acne-prone skin, and we want to explore further.”
- A Series A round of funding for Gallinée.
- The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
- According to WWD, Unilever has taken a minority stake in the business.
- Anna Ohlsson-Baskerville, director at Unilever Ventures, will sit on the board.
- The brand funded the first production run through a Kickstarter campaign.
American international industries acquires spilo worldwide
Who: Spilo Worldwide was founded in 1942 by Charles G. Spilo. The Los Angeles-based business has been distributing products to the professional channel for 75 years. The Spilo family of brands includes ColorMode, Master Barber, Mehaz Professional, Rubis of Switzerland, ToolWorx, and many others.
American International Industries has been a manufacturer and distributor of beauty brands for 45 years with a vast portfolio which includes Andrea, Ardell, Body Drench, Bye Bye Blemish, BWild, Checi, China Glaze, Clean + Easy, Clubman-Pinaud, DUO, European Secrets, EzFlow, Fright Night, Gelaze, Gena, GiGi, Gypsy Lash, Hollywood Fashion Secrets, IBD, Jeris-Lustray, Jerome Russell, LASH beLONG, Model in a Bottle, Nail Tek, No Tweeze/Micro Tweeze, ‘N Rage, Prolinc, Punky Colour, RAW, Salon Perfect, Seche, SuperNail, Surgi-Care, Waterworks, Winning Nails, Woltra, Woody’s, Youthair and others.
In their own words: “Spilo is an icon in the professional beauty industry, one that I’ve admired since I first started in the business almost 50 years ago,” said Zvi Ryzman, president of A.I.I., in a release “We are committed to the development of the Spilo family of brands and will provide the support needed to grow them. We are confident combining these two organizations will strengthen the market position and growth of the brands while also expanding our position as a leader in the professional beauty industry.”
- Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
- Both Los Angeles-based companies have been privately owned.
- The acquisition encompasses the entire Spilo family of brands which include ColorMode, Master Barber, Mehaz Professional, Rubis of Switzerland, ToolWorx, and many others.
- According to WWD, most of the 65 brands under the company’s umbrella were brought in through acquisitions. The company’s most recent purchases were Model in a Bottle, Hollywood Fashion Secrets, and Jerome Russell.
- Marc Spilo, current CEO of Spilo, will continue through the transition and thereafter.
Shiseido americas acquires polaris partner-backed Olivo Laboratories
Who: Spun out of “Living Proof” in 2015, Olivo Laboratories was founded to answer the unmet needs in the dermatological field, providing solutions for skin-related medical conditions, through the development of proprietary biomaterials technologies. The company seeks to create benchmark solutions through perfectly engineered products that focus on the skin’s medical and cosmetic problems. Olivo Laboratories was founded by renowned scientists including Dr. Robert Langer, David H. Koch Institute Professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dr. Rox Anderson, Head of the Wellman Center of Photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, and Dr. Dan Anderson, Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Shiseido Americas Corporation is a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Shiseido Company, Limited. Shiseido Americas’ portfolio of prestige beauty brands includes Shiseido, NARS, Clé de Peau Beauté, bareMinerals, Laura Mercier, and several prestige fragrance brands including Issey Miyake, Narciso Rodriguez, and Dolce & Gabbana. In 2017, Shiseido Americas acquired MATCHCo, a technology company, JWALK, a creative agency, and Giaran.
Why: Combining Olivo’s innovative technology with Shiseido’s research and development capabilities marks a significant leap forward in the emerging realm of “skin shape correction,” and paves the way for the development of products that provide instant and significantly enhanced skincare and sun care.
In their own words: Masahiko Uotani, President and CEO of Shiseido, said in a release, “Our transaction with Olivo is an exciting next step in our ongoing pursuit to create entirely new categories of beauty products at a global scale as a part of our VISION 2020, middle to long term strategy. Olivo’s ground-breaking ‘Second Skin’ technology will join Shiseido’s already robust innovation portfolio, which includes the personalization technology startup MATCHCo, the artificial intelligence-empowered beauty company Giaran, and our own Shiseido-developed OPTUNE, a digital, personalized skincare platform. We look forward to welcoming our new colleagues at Olivo and benefiting from the expertise of Dr. Langer as we continue to reinvent the beauty industry and to create new products tailored to each of our customers’ unique and personal ideals of beauty.”
Dr. Robert Langer, Co-Founder of Olivo, stated, “We use science to break down and tackle problems. Here, we were able to really solve a pervasive problem and create a platform with novel biomaterials. Shiseido provides an exciting opportunity to continue executing on that mission and to further demonstrate the many capabilities of our XPL platform. We look forward to the future when we unlock the XPL Second Skin’s full potential across a range of different applications.”
Amy Schulman, CEO of Olivo, noted that, “We are delighted to work with Shiseido, a company that has the vision, resources and talent to be pioneers in beauty science and to create a new standard for skincare in the beauty industry.”
Marc Rey, President and CEO of Shiseido Americas, added, “As the evolution of beauty-dedicated technologies continues apace, it becomes increasingly important for companies like Shiseido Group to take an external view when it comes to innovation and product development. By joining forces with leaders in scientific research like Dr. Langer and the Olivo team, we will continue to meet the demands of the consumer while offering the very latest advances in science and beauty.”
- Shiseido Americas has acquired substantially all of the assets of Polaris Partners-backed Olivo Laboratories.
- Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
- The Olivo research and development team will join the Shiseido Americas organization as part of the transaction.
Edgewell personal care acquires jack black
Who: Jack Black was founded in Dallas, TX, in 2000 by by Curran Dandurand, Jeff Dandurand, and Emily Dalton. Jack Black was an early pioneer in the men’s category with products created with a simple commitment to customers: Nothing complicated. Nothing cosmetic. Just superior skincare. The assortment has grown to address all men’s everyday personal care needs offering a full range of products including skincare, body care, shaving, hair care, fine fragrance, and razors. Jack Black’s largest markets are in the US and Canada, where it is a top-selling brand at retailers such as Nordstrom, ULTA Beauty, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale’s, Dillard’s, and Sephora.
In their own words: “As a challenger company in men’s grooming, Edgewell has continuously pressed beyond category conventions to bring unique solutions and innovation, such as Schick Hydro and Bulldog skincare, to satisfy men’s everyday grooming needs,” said Colin Hutchison, Edgewell’s Chief Operating Officer, in a release. “Similarly, Jack Black is a breakthrough brand, driving the growth of the luxury men’s category through product innovation and cultivation of a highly engaged, loyal and growing customer base. The Jack Black brand is a strong and complementary addition to Edgewell’s portfolio based on its unique brand positioning, prestige channel footprint, and product assortment. This acquisition creates opportunities to expand our personal care portfolio in growing categories in the U.S. and globally, while nurturing the strong brand equity that the Jack Black founders have developed.”
“We are delighted to be joining Edgewell’s family of brands. This is an excellent home for Jack Black, and we look forward to continuing to drive strong growth in North America and expanding our global presence,” said Curran Dandurand, CEO of Jack Black. “We’ve built our leadership position in the U.S. by providing superior skin care products using the best ingredients, that work as advertised, and are never tested on animals. We’re very excited about the future and about sharing our products with more people throughout the world.”
- Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
- The transaction will be funded from operating cash and is expected to be EPS neutral in fiscal 2018.
- Moelis & Company served as financial advisor to Edgewell.
- Piper Jaffray & Co. served as financial advisor to Jack Black, LLC.
Luxury brands llc acquires FHI Heat
Who: Founded in 2003, FHI Heat has built their business dedicated to quality, high performance, and technology to service the professional hair care market.
The Luxury Brands brand portfolio includes FHI Heat, STYLUS, NEO BOND, Hair Veil, and Daily Beauty.
Why: The acquisition allows for the extension of FHI Heat’s global brand marketing initiatives, the expansion of wholesale and direct-to-consumer distribution channels, and investment into new product research and development.
In their own words: Michael Dodo, President and CEO of Luxury Brands LLC and FHI Heat, said in a release: “Luxury Brands LLC is growing rapidly, and we are particularly excited to expand our business to hair care with FHI Heat’s amazing range of styling tools and products. This acquisition allows us to realize our vision of becoming the premiere brand of choice for beauty enthusiasts worldwide. FHI Heat’s success would not be possible without the dedication of our highly committed team members and our loyal customer base, and both will continue to play critical roles in the global expansion of this sensational beauty brand.”
- Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
- As a result of the company’s acquisition and corporate restructuring, the new FHI Heat Executive Team includes: Michael Dodo- President and CEO, Jason Dodo- Executive Vice President, Nicolas Bobroff- Sr. Vice President of Operations, Tracie May-Wagner- Vice President of Global Communications, Sean James- Artistic Director.
- FHI Heat has moved its corporate headquarters from the city of Valencia to Norwalk, CA.
Beautycounter parent company, counter brands llc raises $65 million
Who: Launched by Gregg Renfrew, a former retail consultant in 2013, Beautycounter is a direct-retail brand of safer and cleaner skincare and cosmetics. Their peer-to-peer selling model or 25,000+ consultants across North America who earn 25% of each sale is the largest channel. The products are also available through strategic partnerships including J.Crew, Goop, and a limited-edition collection with Target launching fall 2016. Beautycounter is known for its Never List™ of more than 1,500 ingredients they choose to never use when creating their products.
Mousse Partners Limited is a single-family office run by Charles Heilbronn with deep experience investing in the consumer and beauty sectors. Their portfolio of investments includes specialty beauty retailer Ulta, as well as Bonobos, Paddle9, and One Kings Lane.
Why: The new capital is earmarked for growth and building and the creation of a more robust omnichannel business along with technology and digital and brand marketing.
In their own words: “We are excited to work with Mousse and benefit from their deep strategic, operational and sector expertise,” says chief executive Gregg Renfrew in a statement. “They will be instrumental in helping us accelerate our growth as the leader in not only the safe beauty space, but the beauty industry as a whole.”
Parker Hayden, Managing Director and Head of U.S. Private Equity at Mousse Partners said, “We are thrilled to partner with Beautycounter and its talented management team to support their efforts to lead the safe ingredient movement within the beauty industry. Gregg is not only an inspirational founder who unites the community around the shared goal of using safe and effective products, but also a visionary. We believe that the trend she started with Beautycounter will eventually become the norm for all beauty products.”
“Gregg and her team are not only creating outstanding products, but they are building a movement that we believe can change the beauty industry and consumers’ lives for the better,” said Mike Stone, Partner at TPG and CIO of The Rise Fund. “We’re excited to continue partnering with Beautycounter as they pursue their next stage of growth.”
- The terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Bloomberg reports the company raised about $65 million, valuing the company at about $400 million, according to a source close to the company.
- The financing round was led by Mousse Partners and included earlier investor TPG Growth.
- Parker Hayden, managing director and head of U.S. Private Equity at Mousse, will join Beautycounter’s board of directors.
- According to Business of Fashion, the company added $13 million in funding from 33 undisclosed parties in 2016.
- TPG Growth led a $21.3 million investment in 2014, according to Crunchbase.
- Counter Brands, LLC acquired the worldwide assets of NUDE Skincare, Inc from LVMH in Q2 of 2016. As part of the transaction, Ali Hewson and her husband Bono will become investors in the company.
- Beautycounter received a minority investment from private equity firm TPG Growth in 2014.
JD Beauty group acquires Bio Ionic
Who: Bio Ionic was founded in 1997 by world-renowned hair stylist and industry icon Fernando Romero. Discovering the science and power of harnessing natural negative ions while traveling in Japan, he incorporated the knowledge into luxury hair tools for professionals.
JD Beauty is a portfolio company of Topspin Partners, a New York-based private equity fund. Launched in 1977, JD Beauty Group is one of the leading marketers and manufacturers of professional beauty products and launched some of the industry’s most recognizable and innovative brands and products such as WetBrush, Luxor Pro, Lure, and TS-2.
Why: This acquisition enhances JD Beauty’s portfolio and mission to offer a well-rounded product offering of hair brushes, electrical appliances, and liquids.
In their own words: “I am thrilled to have this well respected and established professional brand join the JD Beauty family,” Jeffrey Davidson, CEO of WetBrush, said in a press release. “It is our mission to continue and grow the wonderful heritage that Fernando Romero started. We will work closely with our professional partners to bring the best in product innovation, inventory management and new exciting marketing opportunities domestically and internationally.”
“We are so pleased to pass the baton to JD Beauty Group, whose support signifies an exciting chapter in our company’s history,” Fernando Romero, founder of Bio Ionic, said. “Their invaluable resources and insight will undoubtedly grow the Bio Ionic name in the professional beauty industry.”
- Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
- This acquisition was completed in partnership with Topspin Partners, the majority owner of JD Beauty, and Deerpath Capital Management who provided financing for the transaction.
- Bio Ionic will remain a professional-only brand under the JD Beauty umbrella.
BASF Mexicana, S.A. de C.V. has closed the previously announced sale of a portion of its oleochemical surfactants business in Mexico to Stepan CDMX, S. de R.L. de C.V.
AkzoNobel sold 100% of its specialty chemicals business to The Carlyle Group and GIC for €10.1 billion ($12.6 billion).
HLD Group, the owner of French skincare brand Filorga, has bought French hair care specialist Lazartigue to save it from bankruptcy.
2M Holdings Ltd. (2M) has announced its acquisition of specialty chemical distributor Franken-Kosmetik-Chemiehandel GmbH & Co. KG (FrankenChemie).
Albéa has announced the acquisition of Covit S.L., a company, based in Torelló, Spain, specializing in the manufacturing of metal parts for packaging products.
Israel-based flavor and fine ingredients company Frutarom has acquired 100% of Israeli Biotech Research (IBR) for $21 million.
WestRock announced an agreement to buy KapStone Paper and Packaging Corp. for about $3.5 billion.
TechCare Corp. closed an $1.8 million round of funding. The technology company has a revolutionary delivery platform that uses vapor technology for natural health, wellness, and beauty treatments.
Sabic acquires stakes previously held by 40 North and Corvex Management representing a 24.99% stake in Clariant.
Prolana has been acquired by Cosmetics LK. Prolana is perhaps best known for its Nail Optimizer, a nail-hardening product that restores and strengthens brittle nails without the use of toluene or dibutyl phthalate.
Privé founded by hairdresser Laurent Dufourg has been acquired by Digital Hair Partners group of industry veterans. The business is being rebranding with new packaging, new formulas, and a new philanthropy mission called #careforall.
Barcelona-based Eurofragrance is entering the US market by acquiring a majority stake in Fragrance Design LLC. The acquisition of Fragrance Design based near Atlanta, gives Eurofragrance a firmer foothold in America and has strengthened its position in the body care and household sectors.
Praxis Packaging Solutions, an independently operated subsidiary of the Huizenga Group based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, acquired Unette Corporation in Randolph, New Jersey.
Croda International Plc has acquired Nautilus Biosciences Canada Inc., a technology-rich marine biotechnology company based in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada.
CITIC Capital China Partners III, L.P., a buyout fund managed by the private equity arm of CITIC Capital Holdings Limited, has announced it has completed the acquisition of Axilone from Oaktree Capital Management, L.P.
Singer and entertainer Marie Osmond has joined MD Complete as the company’s new investment partner. Osmond is now a strategic advisor and owner.
French company La Phocéenne de Cosmétique, best known for its soap brand Le Petit Olivier, has acquired sun care brand Lovéafrom Biocos laboratory for 6.875 million euros.
Crown Laboratories, a specialty pharmaceutical company focused in dermatology and a Hildred Capital Partners, has acquired Ireland-based Vita Liberata, which focuses on advanced organic formulations, specializing in sunless tanning and skincare products.
Sun European Partners, LLP has entered into exclusive negotiations to sell packaging company Albéa to PAI Partners (PAI).
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