Holistic personal care brand Rael raised $35 million in a Series B round of financing, making it the largest investment in the feminine wellness category to date. Beauty News caught up with one of the brand’s founders, Yanghee Paik, to discuss the most recent round of fundraising, the journey of the company, and Rael’s future plans.
Inspired by the high level of toxic chemicals found in conventional feminine care items, Rael was created by three Korean American women whose experience in the publishing, art, and film industries lay far outside of the world of personal care. Collectively they wanted to create organic and more functional alternatives. Thankfully Aness An, Binna Won, and Yanghee Paik all had experience with feminine care products from hailing South Korea that, which unlike the U.S. market, offers multiple higher-performing, non-chemical alternatives. Rael now operates in the United States and South Korea where its products are formulated with innovative technology and ingredients.
The brand initially started selling on Amazon.com, quickly shooting to become one of the top-selling feminine wellness brands. Today items can also be found on the brand’s ecommerce site site, Target, Walgreens, Walmart, CVS, Thrive Market, Nordstrom, Revolve, and iHerb.
On finding investors, Yanghee stated, “So the funding process was very interesting in the beginning. Obviously, most of the investors are men and they have no idea how feminine products work, so there was a lot of education that we had to do on very basic things. It was very obvious that investors never really paid attention to the feminine care industry as an investment opportunity in the past… It was kind of funny because they [male investors] had very basic questions like, ‘How many pads do women use per cycle?’”
One way the team educated male investors was by guiding them toward the brand’s glowing reviews, showcasing how their brand was outperforming mainstream brands. Also, they gave samples of their feminine care items for the investors’ wives and daughters to try out. Eventually, this led to Rael being launched by Target in 2019, followed by multiple other retailers.
Since launching feminine wellness products, such as reusable period underwear and organic cotton pads, Rael has launched skin care and acne care including cleansers and acne patches. One way Rael differentiates from other feminine wellness brands on the market is its approach to aiding individuals throughout their monthly hormonal cycle. From the time that menstruation begins to the following weeks of hormonal imbalance, including hormonally based acne breakouts, Rael aims to help the consumer every step of the way.
With the investment, Rael plans to continue their product innovation led by their development team based in South Korea, expand their in-depth approach to women’s wellness, increase their retail partnership and advance their global expansion, and invest in further brand and trade marketing.
In addition to the $35 million investment, Rael also recently tapped industry veteran, Lauren Consiglio, as President. Prior to joining Rael, Lauren held senior marketing roles at Unilever and L’Oréal.