Adrianne Shapira, Managing Director, Eurazeo Brands North American Fund
All beauty brands strive for a great origin story, and Beekman 1802 is the real deal, says Adrianne Shapira, Managing Director, Eurazeo Brands North American Fund. “They live and breathe the brand and their story,” she says.
It all started with a herd of goats shortly after Dr. Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell relocated to Sharon Springs, New York, from Manhattan during the 2008 crash. Their neighbor was going to lose his farm and needed a new home for his goats. The duo simply Googled what they could make with goat milk, the answer was soap, and that was the start of Beekman 1802.
“Many products work, but how many actually have a soul? Obviously, everyone wants their skin to look better, but it’s how you feel inside and out, and I think that’s what the brand stands for.”
Campaigns focus on its two key ingredients: goat milk and kindness, Adrianne says. “On the goat milk front, they have great clinicals about how the ingredient is positive for the microbiome. Today’s consumer is more informed, more educated, and more demanding, so skin care has to work. It’s wonderful that Beekman has the science backing.”
In fact, Dr. Ridge is a physician who specialized in aging, giving Beekman 1802 deep science roots. He studied the science of the microbiome while working at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan, making his background perfect for creating the brand. As Beekman 1802 has expanded its product range, they’ve done more research on what makes goat milk so beneficial, especially for sensitive skin.
Even at 15 years old, the brand has consistent double-digit growth. “Unlike other brands, they haven’t been a flash in the pan. Some of their earliest consumers are still with the brand, so there’s tremendous loyalty in a real community,” Adrianne says.
Brand growth is being realized in Ulta Beauty and DTC; a new digital lead was recently hired. Previously, most sales were generated via TV shopping networks, but that is now less than half of sales. There is also the Beekman 1802 store in Sharon Springs.
“It’s incredible what that store does, given it’s obviously a real pilgrimage for many of their fans; it’s a 500-person town,” Adrianne says. This past year the brand opened a store at LaGuardia Airport in the Delta terminal.
Beekman 1802’s biggest opportunity for 2023 is growing brand awareness.
“Anyone who knows Beekman loves Beekman, it’s just more people need to know Beekman,” Adrianne says.
Kelly McPhilliamy, Managing Director, Harris Williams Consumer Group
Accessible luxury is what Crown Affair stands for, with formulas that are clean and efficacious, punctuated by handcrafted Swiss-made combs, clips, and brushes. Items look to restore hair’s natural balance and redefine daily self-care rituals for all hair types.
“The company’s innovation lies in its formulations and delivery system,” says Kelly McPhilliamy, Managing Director, Harris Williams Consumer Group. “Crown Affair’s sourcing and formulation utilize unique, high quality, and clean ingredients and materials such as Tsubaki seed oil, a deeply hydrating but lightweight oil; yuzu extract, a strengthening and hair growth agent; a proprietary Coconut Surfactant System that acts as a deep, gentle cleanser; and ethically sourced boar bristles for its brushes.”
Dianna Cohen founded Crown Affair in early 2020 to empower consumers to redefine their relationship with their hair. She is a former marketer for brands such as Away, Harry’s, and Outdoor Voices.
With a clear voice and vision, Kelly believes Crown Affair has the foundation for a high EQ. “Its standards around clean, safe, ethical sourcing, inclusivity, and cruelty-free demonstrate a commitment to what consumers want in brands from a values standpoint,” she says. “At the same time, its quality standards and efficacy deliver on their performance expectations.”
Crown Affair has a strong and growing online community, including 59.7K highly engaged Instagram followers. It collaborates with brands and influencers to expand its audience and partners with other indie brands that share its ethos.
As of year-end 2022, the brand is estimated to have generated $10 million in sales. Crown Affair sells online and in-store through Sephora, Goop, and Violet Grey. It launched in Sephora stores in the U.S. in February 2022, outperforming expectations. The company closed a $5 million Series A funding led by True Beauty Ventures with participation from Gwyneth Paltrow, among others. “For Crown Affair, the biggest opportunities for 2023 are building their brand awareness, growing their communities, and building loyalty with current customers,” Kelly says.
Cristina Nuñez, Co-Founder and Partner, True Beauty Ventures
Dieux skin care is taking on transparency at all levels — price, manufacturing, sustainability, safety, and product efficacy.
“Where most brands have focused on clean, non-toxic skin care as their main [point of difference] or engaged in marketing rooted in shame and fear, whether in safety or unrealistic beauty standards, Dieux is making clinical and mission-driven the new standard in beauty,” says Cristina Nuñez, co-founder and partner, True Beauty Ventures.
Dieux has three founders, each bringing their own superpower to the brand.
Charlotte Palermino acts as CEO and is a thought leader in the skin care world. Joyce de Lemos serves as Head of Product who creates Dieux’s effective and beloved formulas in their laboratory in Brooklyn. Marta Freedman is the brand’s Creative Director who has successfully launched brands by building creative partnerships.
Cristina believes that Dieux’s high-performing products earn, not demand, consumer trust, and the brand’s engaged community is incredibly loyal as a result.
“Dieux’s award-winning and category-defining skin care quickly reached cult status, selling out with each new product launch,” Cristina says. The brand launched with Forever Eye Mask in September 2020, the first reusable eye mask, which allowed consumers to indulge daily without accumulating unnecessary waste. In May 2021, Dieux launched their widely successful Deliverance serum, the first clinically vetted cannabinoid serum with one of the first clinicals on what dose of cannabinoids works to calm skin. In addition, Cristina said Deliverance was tested on all skin tones to showcase efficacy across every melanin level. It has vetted claims around redness, inflammation, aging, and hyperpigmentation.
In 2022, the brand had two blockbuster launches, first with Instant Angel in February and next with Auracle Eye Gel in November, both selling out multiple times. Both were fueled by its strong social community consisting of 92K followers on Instagram and 29K followers on TikTok. Available on dieuxskin.com and Cult Beauty, in just two years, Dieux has built a multi-million-dollar business with over 200% yearly growth. The brand’s biggest opportunity is to expand with a major retailer in 2023.
“An omnichannel presence will allow the brand to access and educate beauty consumers in-store and provide additional awareness to its mission to disrupt beauty with radical transparency and clinically vetted skin care. Not to mention some seriously innovative new products in development at their lab,” Cristina says.
Dieux is one of the most capital efficient brands Cristina has seen in a very long time.
“The team’s ability to scale online with little digital marketing spend — when the channel has become almost prohibitively expensive to many digitally native brands — is quite astounding. They have, in fact, seen the reverse trend post-IOS update. It is a testament to Charlotte, Joyce, and Marta and their ability to deliver on the brand’s promises, create and activate community, and generate their own demand. We are so proud of them and could not ask for better partners.”
Michelle Sereno, Director of Buying, COS Bar
This luxe scent brand is certainly true to its name. Ex Nihilo is a Latin expression applied to a new creation with no reference, or “out of nothing,” according to Michelle Sereno, Director of Buying, Cos Bar. “With this outsider mindset, Ex Nihilo gives carte blanche to all of their perfumers,” Michelle said. “Ex Nihilo worships a radical ethos as they strive to seek the most exclusive perfumery materials with no cost constraints. This uncompromising vision to perfumery allows them to be disruptive and create unexpected and addicting new scent profiles that the market has not seen before.”
They’ve carved out a niche in the fragrance world with their art of personalization. “Ex Nihilo offers a custom fragrance experience at their Paris and select international boutique locations,” Michelle says. “Utilizing their exclusive osmologue technology with raw materials on site, a boutique specialist can guide a client to build their own fragrance from scratch.”
The brand’s three young founders are from Paris, each with a different background but unified by their love for perfumery. “As an alternative to the stereotyped luxury products, the founders saw the opportunity for a disruptive fragrance brand that puts the perfumers first by allowing them to break the rules and experiment to create the most evocative scents,” Michelle says.
Though Ex Nihilo pays homages to the luxury fragrance industry by bringing in top perfumers around the world, they are making their own mark within the luxury personalization concept by giving clients the option to be their own perfumer and shop the best-sourced ingredients that they have curated, according to Michelle.
Currently, the brand has more of a presence in the European market and they are starting to expand within the U.S. As a result of Cos Bar’s marketing efforts this past fall, clients are seeking it out.
“In the select doors that the brand is carried, we are seeing it rise within the top 10 fragrance brands,” Michelle said. “Clients that know about Ex Nihilo (due to its cult-like following of Fleur Narcotique) are happy to now buy from our stores due to our market exclusivity. For those clients that are new to the brand, the range of unique scent profiles allows our Beauty Specialists to introduce something exciting and new to our clients’ fragrance wardrobe, versus taking away from another brand.”
Noah Rosenblatt, CEO, SpaceNK
Another biotech brand focused on sustainability, all of Ignae’s ingredients are sourced from the volcanic islands of the Azores. “They’ve taken the authenticity and pristine nature of the Azores and combined it with the innovation of biotechnology,” Noah says. “I’m using their Regenerating Serum and friends have said my skin looks great.”
Ignae has a unique encapsulation process that allows formulas to get into the deeper layers of skin for cellular regeneration. SpaceNK was attracted to the brand’s eco-mindedness and brought it on at the end of 2022. “They use 100 times less biomass to create products,” Noah says. “We look for those kinds of unique stories, but also those unique elements to the business that can help us drive a customer’s purchase.”
Since the brand is still young, SpaceNK is excited to help it grow. “Historically, we’ve been a source of new brand discovery,” Noah says. “We’re proving we have the ability to incubate brands in their infancy stages and bring them to customers across a wide variety of retailers, with touch points in Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom, Hudson’s Bay, and our partnership in Walmart that just launched about a year ago. Not every brand enters every channel, but we certainly have the uniqueness of being able to bring brands to the customer where they’re choosing to shop.”
Ignae recently won a European research and development grant to study algae, giving them the opportunity to accelerate the development of patentable ingredients. “If they’re finding ways of winning European research and development grants, there’s definitely something behind this,” Noah says. “With the origin of the company being in research and development, they’ve got a lot of opportunity to be able to show the innovation and expressiveness of the biology from the region, so this could be pretty cool.”
Julie Kivell, Vice President, The Sage Group
Many beauty brands have interesting ingredient stories, but Mara takes theirs to the next level.
“Mara’s innovation comes from its product formulation, specifically its algae blend, which is sourced sustainably via wild collecting in France and Ireland,” says Julie Kivell, Vice President at The Sage Group. “The clinically tested algae blend, which took two years to develop, stimulates natural collagen production for a plumper, smoother, and more hydrated complexion. Additionally, the proprietary algae blend works to firm and strengthen the skin barrier. It’s no wonder Gwyneth Paltrow, Chrissy Teigen, and Hailey Bieber are loyal brand consumers and supporters.”
The award-winning skin care product line is formulated under the lens of utilizing high percentages of clean actives that are balanced with skin barrier supporting superfoods. “Mara’s gluten-free and cruelty-free products are also formulated without parabens, sulfates, PEGs, GMO ingredients, added color, and synthetic fragrances,” Julie says. “Mara’s products are formulated for all skin types and tones, including sensitive and acne prone.”
Prior to launching Mara in 2018, Allison McNamara was a TV host, producer, and lifestyle journalist for publications including PopSugar, Refinery29, Who What Wear, and “Entertainment Tonight.” A University of Southern California graduate who studied journalism, political science, and marketing, Allison also studied abroad in France.
“Allison has always been passionate about skin care thanks to her father’s career in the industry,” Julie says of Michael McNamara, the former Global President and CEO of Neutrogena, who now serves as an advisor to a number of beauty brands, including Skin Laundry and Milk Makeup. “She had the idea for the brand while on a trip to Istanbul, visiting the Sea of Marmara. The name Mara means sea in Gaelic and also comes from Allison’s last name.”
Julie believes the inspiration from the sea gives Mara an emotional edge. “Mara has sourced the ocean’s fountain of youth and bottled it up into its signature algae blend,” she says. “Consumers should get ready to #Seatheglow.”
Mara has a healthy social media presence with 43K Instagram followers and 52K TikTok likes. “The brand’s bluish-green glass bottles with aluminum gold caps evoke a tasteful, elevated positioning,” Julie says.
Mara is sold through its own e-commerce platform and has secured several key retail partners, including Sephora, Bluemercury, Credo, Cult Beauty, Revolve, and The Detox Market. Mara Beauty also sells via Amazon. “Mara just launched with Sephora, which is a huge and very exciting opportunity for the brand,” Julie says.
Vennette Ho, Managing Director & Global Head of Beauty & Personal Care, Financo Raymond James
Once in a while a brand comes along and changes an entire category.
“Olive & June is a truly revolutionary brand that is not only disrupting the nail care industry but also creating a whole new model for doing business in beauty as a whole,” Vennette says.
The brand took off during lockdown when the company utilized Instagram Live to teach people how to do a professional at-home manicure.
“They accumulated a pretty tremendous following where the community began to eagerly anticipate the next color launch and share tips and tricks,” Vennette says. “Historically, the nail care industry has been viewed as steady but somewhat staid without any real innovation or excitement. There are a few giant players (Essie, OPI, Sally Hansen, Kiss) and a number of niche players. Olive & June has really broken the mold to be a fast-growing challenger by turning the category on its head.”
Hardcore Olive & June fans say that the brand literally changed their nail painting life, Vennette says. The complete at-home nail system helps consumers achieve a quality home manicure — replacing going to a nail salon. Products include seven-free polish formulas, the cult favorite Cuticle Serum, and the Poppy — a silicone device that makes it easier to paint one’s non-dominant hand. Additionally, Olive & June’s press-on nails were lauded as one of the sector’s biggest innovations in decades: 42 nails made from recycled materials and an easy system that helps them stay on for two weeks.
Founder Sarah Gibson Tuttle (or SGT as her followers call her) is not a typical beauty founder, having spent 10 years in finance before starting Olive & June. “SGT is known amongst brand aficionados for her casual style and very open California attitude, which breeds a sense of familiarity and feeling of closeness with her followers,” Vennette says.
With nearly 500K followers on Instagram, they also have a big following on TikTok. Sold primarily on its own website and through Target stores, the brand does not disclose sales but is growing quickly. Its biggest opportunity is growing distribution and continued innovation.
“Digitally driven education and community have carried the brand well beyond the pandemic and is still its heart and soul. Olive & June is accessible, friendly, casual, and smart. Fans say it’s like talking to their BFF.”