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Camillo Pane Unveils New Venture, Brand Incubator Present Life

The former Coty ceo is using his "massive passion for brands" to steer his new business.

There’s another new beauty incubator on the block.

Camillo Pane, former chief executive officer of Coty Inc., is ready to introduce Present Life, his new brand-building (and sometimes acquiring) venture.

Backed by The Craftory, a London-based venture capital firm, Present Life is launching with a portfolio of three beauty-meets-wellness brands. Two of them were incubated in-house. They are Healist Advanced Naturals, which makes CBD topical and ingestible products, and Loum, a skin-care brand with a psychodermatology ethos. One was acquired — One Ocean Beauty, a skin-care line that counts marine collagen as its star ingredient and donates a portion of its product sales to saving the oceans.

One Ocean Beauty was founded in 2018 by Marcella Cacci, a former head of Burberry beauty. Its skin and anti-cellulite body-care products are priced from $38 to $114 and are sold on Net-a-porter and the online retail platform Olivela.

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Pane, who resigned from Coty in 2018, is used to overseeing big household names like Cover Girl and Gucci, but those days for him are over — he believes the future of beauty is in clean, sustainable, purpose-driven brands.

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“I got together with The Craftory, and we saw an opportunity to create and acquire benefit-led brands that don’t compromise on performance or [harm the] planet. It’s no-compromise, natural self-care that works,“ Pane said. “All our formulas are vegan and cruelty-free certified and follow the highest standards of clean beauty, like Credo and Follain.”

Pane and The Craftory cofounder Elio Leoni Sceti are both veterans of Reckitt-Benckiser, the British-Dutch consumer goods company. The Craftory invests in wellness-oriented CPG brands, including a plant-based alternative food manufacturer and a sustainable laundry detergent pod brand. The Craftory’s other cofounder is Ernesto Schmitt, who founded Beamly, a digital marketing platform that Coty acquired in 2015.

“I’ve known the founders for years, and over the past several months, we’ve been talking about how to best approach wellness and beauty,” Pane said. “Wellness is such a growing area and there’s a massive passion around it. People need support in their lives — it’s self-care. It’s only going to get bigger and more important.”

Present Life has offices in New York and London, though employees are working remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic. Pane serves as the company’s executive chairman, and his brands operate as separate teams while sharing resources. He has staffed Loum and Healist with a combination of people from the start-up world and his past life in consumer goods, including Healist’s chief global marketing officer and former Coty executive Michael Bryce.

“It’s important to create a team where you have a mix of backgrounds — the objective is not always to surround yourself with people who think like you,” Pane said.

For now, Pane is concentrating on Present Life’s current portfolio, and would not reveal details on any future plans. “We want to focus on these three for the time-being. Do we want to build other brands? Yes, but it depends on the opportunity. We’re not going to deviate from the benefits we think are relevant. They aren’t going away.”

Skin-care brand Loum is set to launch on Sept. 1, direct-to-consumer on loumbeautycom. The line, which was formulated with the help of psychodermatologist Dr. Francisco Tausk, is centered around the impact of stress on skin. The brand touts its Tri-Serene Complex, a combination of CBD, marine-micro algae and wild indigo extract, in combination with other natural ingredients like borage and hyaluronic acid, to help calm and reverse visible signs of stress. Daphne Oz, co-host of ABC’s “The Chew,” Instagram lifestyle influencer and daughter of television’s Dr. Mehmet Oz, has been tapped to promote the business. The plan is for Loum to remain “70 percent d-t-c” and eventually find additional distribution through specialty beauty, Pane noted. 

“Skin care is only going to continue to grow post-COVID-19,” Pane said. “I see it as a moment of nurturing. It will become even bigger because of what is going on. I don’t think there’s a brand that solely focuses on how stress affects the skin.”

Healist, which sells CBD topicals and ingestible products launched direct-to-consumer in the U.S. in April. It is planning a brick-and-mortar expansion as well as a move into Europe sometime in 2021. 

The Healist brand is centered on transparency, said Pane, citing the confusing nature of the CBD market. “We want to bring transparency and openness to the CBD market,” he noted. The brand is formulated with organic broad spectrum hemp and minor cannabinoids, including CBDA, CBG, CBN and CBC. The products are designed to impart specific benefits, such as sleep improvement, pain relief and stress support. “The benefits are current and timely,” Pane said. “Lots of sales are happening in the middle of the night, between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m., when people are looking for solutions when they can’t sleep.

Content and education are a key part of Pane’s strategy, from building out comprehensive brand web sites with plenty of educational materials to choosing the right influencers to promote the products. But ultimately, it all comes back to product efficacy, he said.

“I’ve managed a lot of big brands, I have a massive passion for brands,” Pane said. “The story has to be told in a differentiated, distinct way…but you have to start with amazing products at the core.”