Grace Ray has joined Milani as chief executive officer.
Ray, who has been ceo of Living Proof since 2014, starts at Milani on July 31. There, she will focus on “doubling down” on the company’s masstige mission — providing “high quality at affordable prices,” she said.
“That is such a fast-growing, important category in our industry, and Milani has always had this incredible reputation of creating high-quality products at good prices,” Ray said. Milani’s range is priced between $7 and $20, and is available at Ulta Beauty, Target, Walgreens, CVS and Walmart, as well as online.
Milani’s masstige positioning was one of the main factors that brought Ray on board — and was also something that appealed to Gryphon Investors, the private equity firm that bought a majority stake in the business in May. Before Ray joined, beauty veteran Michelle Taylor was serving as interim ceo of the business.
At Milani, Ray plans to focus on product innovation and distribution, including e-commerce, as well as growing the brand’s global awareness, she said.
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“More and more we see the consumer’s shopping behavior is not linear, she tends to kind of just go everywhere to learn, to discover, to buy and to replenish,” Ray said. “So for us to not have a strong direct-to-consumer presence would be such a disservice.”
Ray also intends to build up Milani’s product offering. “We have several categories we’re underpenetrated in, so there’s a lot of innovation opportunities,” Ray said, calling out foundation and mascara as two places the brand could potentially launch more products.
Before becoming ceo, Ray was chief marketing officer at Living Proof, and has also worked as vice president of global marketing for Smashbox and senior marketing manager for L’Oréal.
“The last real lever of my vision is reinforcing the multicultural roots of the brand,” Ray said. “The brand has always really embraced diversity — I’ve never seen a brand that has resonated so broadly across so many demographics and ethnicities — that multicultural aspect is so core to the DNA, and something that needs to be amplified.”