Beautycounter has received an investment from Bono and his wife, Ali Hewson, as part of the business’ acquisition of Hewson’s business, Nude Skincare Inc., from Louis Vuitton Möet Hennessy.
The companies came together because of their shared focus on ingredients. Beautycounter has a list of 1,500 banned substances, called the Never List, while Nude has something it calls Beautiful Without formulation standards, under which it intentionally leaves out certain ingredients. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“We were not actively looking to acquire a company,” said Beautycounter chief executive officer Gregg Renfrew. “I was introduced to Ali and Brian [Meehan, Nude co-founder] … and I really, from the beginning, felt that we had a shared commitment. I felt that we were stronger as a team, together, than as individual companies.”
“Nude has been growing consistently, and Beautycounter has enjoyed rather remarkable growth. … I think that commitment that they have made to us and we have made to them … it proves that the American consumer is demanding a safe but also high-performance product,” Renfrew said.
“We created Nude because we wanted to develop beauty products that are as safe and natural as they are effective,” Hewson said. “In Beautycounter, we found our company’s soul mate. I couldn’t be more thrilled about Nude’s partnership with Beautycounter and I am looking forward to working closely with Gregg and her team. Their commitment to transparency in ingredients is second to none and I hope it will soon be par for the course for more companies. Consumers have a right to know what is in the products they put on their skin, and they shouldn’t be faced with a false choice between safety and effectiveness.”
Together, the ingredient-conscious brands are plotting for international expansion, with eyes specifically set on the U.K., Renfrew said. As of now, Beautycounter sells in the U.S. and Canada, while Nude sells in Sephora in the U.S., Space NK in Europe and Mecca in Australia. The deal sets up a new entity, Counter Brands U.K., that will head the expansion efforts out of the U.K.
Hewson will join the board of Counter Brands LLC, Beautycounter’s parent company, as part of the deal. Meehan is also investing in Beautycounter as part of the transaction.
Santa Monica, Calif.-based Beautycounter sells its products online and through independent consultants. The business received a minority investment from private equity firm TPG Growth in 2014. The business is projected to reach revenue of $150 million for 2016, according to industry sources. Nude develops serums, cleansers, toners, moisturizers, masks and exfoliators for different skin types.
The combined business will focus the focus is on the product line and distribution. “We will continue to sell through their existing channels of distribution,” Renfrew said of Nude. “The idea is to grow the channels of distribution as well as the product line as a whole,” she said.
The organizations expect to continue advocating for stricter regulation of the cosmetics and personal care industry in Washington, Renfrew said. “From the moment [Ali and I] met, we were talking, talking, talking about [how] we believe people need safer products [and] that they can be high performance,” Renfrew said, adding that Hewson and Bono are both focused on social issues. And “Bono is my favorite rock star,” she said.