Deciem employees have been told to close some of the brand’s stores, WWD has confirmed.
The business’ founder, Brandon Truaxe, instructed several locations in different geographies to shutter, WWD has learned. For part of the day, the business also changed its homepage to a black screen with a pie sign — clicking the pie sign leads potential shoppers through to the Deciem site. By mid-afternoon, the web site was back up and running normally.
The closures come one day after Truaxe posted a video of himself on the Deciem social media page where he said, “This is the final post of Deciem, which we will shut down all operations until further notice, which is about two months … Please take me seriously … almost everyone at Deciem has been involved in a major criminal activity, which includes financial crimes.”
A spokeswoman for minority investor the Estée Lauder Cos. said Tuesday that, “The Estée Lauder Companies is a minority investor in Deciem and as such we do not control Deciem’s operations, social media or personnel decisions. We are deeply concerned by the material that has recently been posted on social media and will defend our right as a minority investor.”
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In New York, the Fifth Avenue store was closed Tuesday with a sign on the door that read “Please Don’t Get Mad. We are currently closed for an unforeseen concern.” The Deciem web site shows 23 of 29 locations are closed. Open locations on Tuesday included stores at New York’s Prince Street, Mexico City and London’s Old Spitalfields Market. The brand’s Upper West Side location is closed Oct. 9 and 10, the web site says.
On Monday, the day of the Instagram post, Deciem stores appeared to be up and running, with one employee telling WWD that the store was not closing (that store, on Tuesday, was closed). Asked to comment on the post, Truaxe requested WWD send him a screenshot of the post, but has not responded to further requests for comment. Nicola Kilner, who rejoined the company in July, declined to comment.
The store closures are the latest event in a year of odd happenings for the business, which was built on the notion of radical transparency. Earlier this year, Truaxe started posting erratic announcements on Instagram — things about plastic packaging, peace and screenshots of emails with executives from the Estée Lauder Cos. (Lauder owns a 28 percent stake in Deciem). In February, Kilner — who as co-ceo had a high-profile role at the business, dealing with retailers and presenting at a WWD Digital Forum — was let go from her position. She later rejoined the company.
Deciem is best known for The Ordinary, a brand that sells products with names like Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution, $8.70, and AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution, $7.20. Deciem is vertically integrated, and has said it can keep prices so low by choosing ingredients that have already been well-tested. It’s also fast-growing — in 2017, the business is said to have done about $140 million in sales, and in July of this year, was estimated to be at more than $300 million.
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