By email, newsletter, Instagram and Facebook post, many members of the beauty industry learned of the sudden death of one of its colleagues this weekend, Brandon Truaxe, the founder of Deciem, one of the most disruptive beauty brands in recent memory. While Brandon’s cause of death is unconfirmed, several Toronto-based publications, where Deciem is headquartered, cited suicide as what ended his life. He was 40 years old.
“This is incredibly sad,” wrote beauty consultant Paula Scandone on Facebook. “I wish something or someone could have helped him. Clearly he was in pain.” Paula went on to state that Brandon was talented and gifted; she wished him peace.
Similar sentiments are still being echoed by friends, colleagues and followers on social media. More than 5,000 comments are now on Deciem’s Instagram post announcing his death, many of which recall Brandon’s genius, accomplishments and struggle with mental illness.
“Brandon, our founder and friend. You touched our hearts, inspired our minds and made us believe that anything is possible,” the post reads. “Thank you for every laugh, every learning and every moment of your genius. Whilst we can’t imagine a world without you, we promise to take care of each other and will work hard to continue your vision. May you finally be at peace. Love, (forever) your DECIEM.”
One commenter recalled how she met Brandon in a café last year and that when she thanked him for creating an incredible product line for people of all incomes, “he was so humble and sweet, giving all the credit to his team.”
While many of the comments, including those by Bobbi Brown and Paula’s Choice, expressed sadness over Brandon’s death, many others also talked about the complexity of mental illness and how difficult it is to treat. Some even blamed corporate greed as an accelerator to his downward spiral. Brandon’s death follows a year of unexpected behavior by the entrepreneur, much of which played out on social media. In October, Brandon was removed from the company’s Board of Directors and from his role as co-CEO.
Brandon founded Deciem in 2013 with a portfolio of ingredient-focused brands at mass price points. Its unique positioning caught the eye of The Estee Lauder Companies, and in 2018 Lauder purchased a minority share of the firm. The company has more than 50 products in over 15 markets and is estimated to have generated $300 million in sales in 2018.
A post by @daniellemkaplan, who said Brandon was a dear friend and respected colleague, said, “I am devastated that this is how your brilliant life ended. We had fascinating discussions, delicious dinners, mutual respect and sometimes differences of opinion of what was best for you….For those of you who think you know…you really don’t. Unfortunately Brandon’s mental health illness did not allow him to accept the support and professional help he was offered. We all tried so hard for so long.”