To say 2023 was a transitional year for Credo Beauty would be an understatement. Today, the changes continue: Annie Jackson is taking the helm of the sustainable beauty retailer. The move follows the departure of Stuart Millar, who joined as CEO in March 2022. Most recently, Jackson was Chief Operating Officer.
Credo, which means belief in Latin, is the all-green beauty brainchild of Jackson, a former Sephora superstar, and the late merchandising guru Shashi Batra.
In June 2015, Credo unveiled its first shop in San Francisco on Fillmore Street, where the brand’s headquarters stood only blocks away with a mere five employees. Their second store opened a year later on 9 Prince Street in Manhattan. Today Credo Beauty operates 15 stores, employs 50 people, and splits its headquarters between San Francisco and Manhattan. There’s also a team in Los Angeles.
Other executive moves at Credo Beauty this year include the addition of Derek Browe in September as CFO, who formerly held that position at Thursday Boot Company, Bandier, and Untuckit. In August, Rie Maiden joined as Vice President of Marketing & Ecommerce, from Estée Lauder, where she led marketing for Jo Malone and La Mer. And in July, Boma Brown-West, whose career spans 15-plus years of sustainable leadership that includes 10 years at the Environmental Defense Fund, joined the company as Vice President of Sustainability Impact.
“We’ve obviously been a growing, scaling organization and that can go through different chapters and challenges. I started this company, it’s in my DNA, I know it inside and out, and I see the future so clearly that I’m just really excited,” Jackson said in an interview with CEW.
As part of its year of transition, the company recently unveiled a new store design in Larchmont Village in the Hancock Park neighborhood of Los Angeles reflecting a sophisticated interior that aims to reimagine a new era of clean beauty retail. “We’re concentrating our growth where we already have stores. When we first started Credo, we wanted to plant a flag in the ground and be in neighborhoods across the nation that were in our sights, and then grow our stores around them. That’s our focus for the coming year, to continue to grow in places like New York and California. We will open in Silver Lake in a couple of weeks (which will bring the store count to 16), and we’re also opening Portland, Washington, which addresses high digital-performing neighborhoods. We opened Seattle a couple months ago.”
In September, Credo relaunched its website, credobeauty.com, that now puts content forward and improves performance, security, and scalability alongside an elevated visual aesthetic and enhanced navigation. One of its most talked about transitions in 2023 was cutting its brand count from 130 to 100 to counteract oversaturation.
“A lot of [brands] just weren’t prepared for what it takes to be successful [in retail]. We saw a lot of them bite off more than they can chew and not be able to continue. We know our community really well so we decided to focus on the brands that are resonating with our customer and can grow with us. It also allows us more airspace to work on innovative packaging and ingredient safety standards as we continue to evolve our standards.”
Of course, sustainability is at the heart of everything Credo Beauty does. And that will continue in 2024.
“We have our first big sustainable packaging milestone coming up next summer. The milestone was for our brand partners to be using 50% or greater PCR packaging in all of their packaging. We set that in 2020. It’s been an incredible journey to work alongside our brand partners as they merged to that goal. A lot of learnings have come up as part of that, where brands might say that PCR packaging is not something they have their sights set on, but that they are lightweighting all packaging or transitioning into other recyclable materials. Those are things that should be celebrated.”
As CEO Jackson is looking to focus on tweaking the economic model of Credo’s 15 stores to create value for investors and for the team. “We have continued to fine tune the stores so they are optimized, and we choose real estate that plugs into a customer so it can ramp up quickly. We will also continue to open stores so we can get more awareness and reach,” Jackson said.
Tiffany Obenchain, Managing Partner of NextWorld Evergreen, the consumer growth equity fund that backs Credo, said of Jackson appointment, “Annie’s tremendous passion, people-first leadership style, and deep industry experience uniquely position her to lead Credo into its next phase of growth. Credo has significantly invested in its management team over the last six months, and we are excited to see this new team, under Annie’s leadership, fulfill Credo’s mission in new and meaningful ways.”