Kristen Kjaer Weis, who pioneered the natural make-up motion with the launch of her namesake line 10 years in the past, is celebrating a decade in enterprise with a watch to the long run.
Waldencast Ventures has acquired a majority stake within the enterprise, and publishing/advertising government Gillian Gorman Round has joined the enterprise as chief government officer.
“Kirsten built the brand on the basis of being a non-compromise brand,” stated Michel Brousset, founder and chief government officer of Waldencast. “She is a makeup artist who wants products that perform, but deliver in a way that is consistent with her beliefs. She speaks with a quiet voice, but one that comes with conviction.”
“This is a beautiful brand with a cult following — those in the know, know,” added Gorman Round. “Our focus is on taking the business to the next level and beyond.”
Business through the pandemic and to date this 12 months has been robust, with gross sales up 200 p.c year-over-year, pushed by a rise each in its wholesale and direct-to-consumer enterprise. Key retailers embrace Bluemercury, Credo Beauty and Net-a-porter.com. The model additionally launched in three Nordstrom doorways late final 12 months, in addition to on nordstrom.com.
“We’ve been able to capture a new consumer and convert them to the core of the brand,” stated Gorman Round. “We’ve built a relationship with them that goes beyond the transactional, so that we know what they want and where they are going.”
For instance, the latest launch of Matte Naturally Liquid Lipstick, $22, helped improve gross sales in that class by 48 p.c, at a time when the overall market was considerably down. Also driving gross sales was the introduction of Liquid Foundation, $48, plus a deeper foray into skincare with Eye Balm, $65.
While the model has considerably ramped up its social media advertising, Gorman Round stated the success additionally stems from the truth that it’s in lockstep with prevailing client mores in the present day round natural and sustainable magnificence.
“We’ve seen a consumer movement throughout the pandemic — conscious consumption,” she stated, “that simple concept of, ‘if I’m going to buy this I’ve got to love it and I really want it to be a core part of what I use.’”
Gorman Round was tapped by Brousset, who was drawn to Kjaer Weis as a result of it’s properly established however “relatively under-potentialized,” he stated. “When we invested it participated in 20 percent of the makeup categories. Already we are now at 40 percent.”
Kjaer Weis stays on the helm of product improvement and inventive. “After 10 years of building the brand into something very unique and special, the time was right to grow,” she stated. “I needed the right investor who supports the vision and to me, that is Michel and Waldencast.”
Expanding retail distribution might be one other space of focus, together with driving its personal e-commerce enterprise. Supply chain and operational points have additionally been streamlined.
“We’re building from a position of strength — it’s just a matter of executing against the right operational levers,” stated Brousset, who additionally spearheaded the $345 million SPAC Waldencast Acquisition preliminary public providing in March. “We believe that the way the brand has been built represents the future of what the luxury consumer wants today.”
Waldencast now owns the vast majority of the model, with Kjaer Weis because the second largest stakeholder. Other manufacturers within the agency’s portfolio embrace C16 Biosciences, Costa Brazil, Stealth Beauty Company and Salve.
In phrases of Kjaer Weis, Brousset is pondering huge. “We are not time-bound by the investment — we have permanent capital,” he stated. “Our ambition is to be one of the major luxury beauty brands in the world, to be on par with market leaders in the next five years.”