Makeup artist Troy Surratt is looking to accelerate the growth of his eponymous brand with an infusion of capital from 2x Consumer Products Growth Partners. The Chicago-based investment firm has taken a majority interest in the brand.
Primarily a player in the organic foods sector, this is the second investment in the personal-care space for 2x Partners, which has also taken a stake in The Seaweed Bath Co.
Heidi Manheimer, previously chief executive officer of Shiseido Cosmetics America, has also invested in Surratt Beauty and is now executive chairman. Joyce Avalon, most recently chief merchant of Space Brands, is president. Surratt will take the title of chief creative officer and Nathaniel Hawkins, cofounder and Surratt’s personal partner, is director of creative services. Surratt remains the single largest individual shareholder of the brand.
Surratt and Hawkins launched Surratt Beauty about four years ago. Geared toward a luxury consumer, a key point of difference for the brand is that all of its products are manufactured in Japan. Today, Surratt is sold in more than 70 doors, including Barneys New York, Liberty of London, Mecca Cosmetica in Australia, Space NK, select Sephora and Bluemercury doors and on Netaporter.com. Industry sources estimate current retail sales in the $6 million to $9 million range.
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“I started learning about the Japanese beauty industry about 15 years ago and it became a fascination and love of mine,” said Surratt, who declined to comment on the figures. “I would bring back amazing products and I knew that if I could figure out a way to market these types of products in a Western way, I could have a successful business.”
Enter Manheimer, whose experience at Shiseido includes propelling the company to a number-five ranking in the U.S. prestige skin-care category and spearheading the launch of shiseido.com and e-commerce for Clé de Peau Beauté. She left the company in September 2015.
“It’s interesting to see a Western brand use Japanese technology while Japanese brands are increasingly trying to Westernize,” she said. Manheimer first met Surratt when she was spearheading the business at Beauty.com and the makeup artist was working with Maureen Kelly on the launch of Tarte.
The brand’s luxury positioning in an era of “fast beauty” also played into Manheimer’s decision to get back into the fray. “Everyone is going after the Millennial,” she said, “but at the same time, you have the luxury customer who is looking for something new and Surratt fills that.”
2x Partners also liked the upscale positioning of the brand. The Chicago-based company has primarily invested in organic food companies in the $2 million to $20 million range, but Sharon Kieffer, managing partner, doesn’t rule out further investments in the beauty sphere.
“We believe beauty is a high growth, high potential space,” she said, adding that while the firm’s investments in food mainly center around organic products, the same won’t necessarily hold true for beauty. “At the core, what we look for is highly differentiated products that we can support and make highly successful. We are thrilled to partner with Surratt Beauty because of our belief in Troy’s artistry, the award-winning products he has created and his commitment to innovation and creativity.”