Terms have not been disclosed for the deal, which results in Mirabella president John Maly taking an ownership stake in and assuming the position of chief executive officer at the newly enlarged Bellami. It comes as Bellami is gearing up to roll out its own stores and push beyond direct-to-consumer distribution into retail.
Founded by Nikki Eslami and Julius Salerno four years ago, Maly explained social media-fueled Bellami is poised to transition from a medium-size company to a larger enterprise and needs skilled leadership to deftly guide that transition. “They didn’t have the capacities to bring their brand to the next level, and they wanted me to build a team to expand their business,” he said. “I know bricks-and-mortar, and that is a great opportunity for expansion of the business.”
The acquisition of Mirabella happened quickly. Maly, who was not looking to offload the brand, connected to Bellami through Thomas Murphy, managing director of M&A Capital LLC, an investment bank that orchestrated the sale of Maly’s, a distributorship he formerly helmed, to L’Oréal in 2007. At the end of a conversation Maly had six weeks ago with Eslami and Salerno, they offered him the ceo post at Bellami and decided to fold in Mirabella as well to amplify Bellami’s makeup portfolio.
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“The thing that we were never able to really do at Mirabella is get the influencers on our side. When they told me about what they do with influencers, it blew my mind,” said Maly. “They built their business 100 percent direct without any advertising or Google ad words. They literally did it all through influencers. I was really intrigued.” Mirabella is already tapping into Bellami’s social-media know-how by enlisting influencers going by the handles @SadiaSlayy, @BrittanyBearMakeup, @Thefashionfreakk and @Marianneramos to produce content tied to its holiday collection.
Prior to purchasing Mirabella, Bellami had taken over the lip product purveyor Lipland and was in the process of fashioning a broader makeup assortment. It made sense to buy Mirabella rather than arduously assembling a makeup line, and the brand gives Bellami entrée into salons. Mirabella is sold at roughly 1,400 salons.
“We had been holding our own. We haven’t been really growing, but it’s been pretty stable,” said Maly, assessing Mirabella. “Over time, we will expose more influencers to the brand and, ideally, that will help salons grow their traffic.”
Mirabella markets 112 stockkeeping units in the face, lip, cheek, eye, brow and tool categories priced mostly from $25 to $49. Lipland’s range spans around 80 sku’s priced mainly from $11 to $22. Another brand in the Bellami family, two-year-old NailHur, consists of approximately 40 sku’s of reusable press-on nails and nail polishes priced from $8.99 to $13.99.
Bellami’s selection contains about 500 sku’s, including the best-selling 160-gram, 60-inch Bambina clip-in hair extensions for $159.99 and 220-gram, 22-inch Bellissima clip-in options for $209.99. The brand has partnerships with Kylie Jenner on Kylie Hair Kouture, social-media sensation Nicole Guerriero on Nicole Guerriero Gold, and hair colorist Guy Tang on Balayage by Guy Tang.
Bellami plans to introduce hair-care products in the first quarter of 2017 and break into home-shopping television around the same time. A launch at beauty specialty retail could follow those initiatives. In addition, Bellami expects to open locations the brand calls beauty bars in 10 major cities in 2017. The first location bowed on Robertson Boulevard in West Hollywood last year.
Across its four brands, Bellami generates less than $100 million in annual revenues. As it faces increasing competition for the attention of social-media stars, Salerno isn’t concerned its business will lose traction. Pointing out Bellami has first-mover advantage in the digital realm, he said, “From the beginning, we put an emphasis on making long-term relationships with these personalities rather than just having it be about a transaction between us and them. We have developed relationships to have long-term effects on the brand.”