Laura Geller has a lot to celebrate this year: Her cosmetics company recently received a cash infusion when Conn.-based Tengram Capital Partners made a substantial investment in her company. Industry sources estimate the company generates about $80 million in retail sales.
“It’s like a life dream. A lot of people said [signing a deal with the right investor] would be a happy time but when it happens, it’s like nothing you can imagine,” Laura said in a phone interview this week.
Alyce Cucurullo, the firm’s Chief Operating Officer/Chief Finanical Officer, joined the company two years ago with the key initiative to liaise with investment banker, PJ Solomon, to make Laura’s dream a reality. PJ Solomon brought Tengram to the buying table.
Specifically, Alyce is credited with helping Laura Geller Beauty with three major initiatives: better forecasting and planning; organization efficiency and instituting financial oversight and reporting.
The investment by Tengram looks to bring necessary capital “to build out the management team and infrastructure for growth and expansion,” Alyce said.
Currently, QVC is Laura Geller’s most important retail partner. In addition to QVC, the brand is sold in Ulta, which later this year will dedicate a larger amount of space to the brand. Laura Geller’s target consumer is between 30 and 60 years old, but Ulta has taught them that when put into the hands of a 20-something, they become intrigued.
“Ulta has proven we skew younger. So now, we’re sold in three foot units but we’ll go to six foot units, doubling the amount of inventory they sell,” Laura said. “We needed [the Tengram] investment to help fund the inventory.”
And, the brand just launched on Nordstrom.com.
Focus for 2013 will also be to generate new product development and to create a more consistent brand message. Next year will be one for expansion, both internationally (mainly in current markets, such as the UK) and in the U.S. Over the next several years Laura is planning to produce and release a new infomercial.
On the subject of e-commerce, a site update is planned, too. “Social media has grown significantly for us. Facebook and Twitter is where our audience goes the most and so far between them and QVC Community that’s where they want us to be,” Laura said.