The indie beauty brand buying spree continues.
The latest suitor of clean beauty is the Courtin-Clarins family, owner of Clarins, which snapped up Ilia Beauty on Tuesday through their holding company Famille C. holding company. a trailblazer in the clean beauty space.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
In 2021, Ilia Beauty recorded sales of $100 million, according to a press release issued by Famille C. The acquisition is an important step for Famille C, which aims to promote innovation in the beauty and well-being segment. Currently, about 85 percent of Clarins’ product formulations are natural.
Famille C has shown an interest in supporting emerging beauty brands, including its $9 million Series B investment in Pai Skincare last year.
Sasha Plavsic, who founded Ilia with her brother Zachary in 2011, and company CEO Lynda Berkowitz, will maintain a minority share and continue to manage the business along with their existing leadership team.
Prisca Courtin-Clarins spearheaded the acquisition calling Ilia relevant and with huge potential. “This operation demonstrates Famille C’s determination to identify and support great ideas and devoted teams who are innovating to keep the beauty industry moving forward. From a strategic point of view, the acquisition is in line with our goal of supporting exceptional brands that share our values and vision, and it will strengthen our foothold in the U.S.”
Jonathan Zrihen, President and CEO of Clarins, praised the strategic move as “in line with the ambitions of the Courtin-Clarins family-remaining on the cutting-edge to develop sustainable beauty for tomorrow.” He added, “Ilia is an amazing brand managed by a great team, I am truly convinced that this operation will enable Ilia to benefit from both Famille C and Clarins expertise to further accelerate and conquer new territories.”
For Sasha, Famille C not only shares her ethos but will help take the brand to the next level. “When I started Ilia, there was a curiosity to make products more skin and planet friendly. After a decade of deep exploration in these areas, I am thrilled to partner with a global family powerhouse whose mission clearly states, ‘Passing on a more beautiful planet.’ Both Ilia, Famille C and Clarins share similar values that includes creating exceptional products coupled with an awareness around driving sustainability. The ability to collaborate and strive towards the same goals, brings more meaning to what the Ilia team can do aw we take this next exciting step forward together,” she stated.
Famille C is expected to help Ilia expand both in product categories and international markets.
Sasha created the brand after being unable to find makeup gentle enough for her reactive skin. She launched in one boutique in Vancouver, Canada way before the concept of clean beauty became a consumer demand.
“With transparency as our guide and color as our vehicle, we challenge the conventions of clean beauty to create something radically new through safe, potent formulas that protect and revive skin,” she told CEW Beauty News in 2021.
Success wasn’t overnight. “It took eight years to reach $10 million in sales. Since 2019, we have grown more than 10 times in gross revenue,” she explained.
Ilia is sold in all Sephora doors in the U.S. and Canada, as well as at Credo Beauty, indie boutiques and direct-to-consumer via iliabeauty.com. The brand has a global presence in several countries including Mecca in Australia and New Zealand, as well as in other boutiques through distributors in Europe. DTC and Sephora currently account the majority of sales.
Many of Ilia’s products have become consumer favorites, building traction for the brand with high levels of repurchase. “The Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40 is the first 3-in-1 mineral-based sunscreen that blends makeup and skin care, with newly patented SPF technology available in 30 shades,” Sasha said. The Serum has sold more than 1 million units since its 2019 debut.
She also pinpointed the Limitless Lash Mascara as a point of difference in the market because it relates to “inclusivity that expands beyond skin tone and targets our ideal customer: the millennial and her Mom. This approach and broad target demographic give the brand a unique positioning that has the ability to attract a much wider audience.”
Prior to the acquisition, growth had been supported through a Series A that was funded by Silas Capital in 2018 and with a $3 million raise. That was followed by a Series B funding one year later by Sandbridge Capital and Silas Capital with a raise of $10 million.
Financo Raymond James was Famille C’s financial adviser and Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP and Villey-Girard-Grolleaud acted as its legal counsel. Ilia’s financial advice came from Goldman Sachs. Sidley Austin LLP and Sideman & Bancroft LLP were the brand’s legal counsel.