Natural makeup brand Kosås has a group of new investors with expertise ranging from entertainment to fashion and digital — including Scooter Braun, the Man Repeller’s Leandra Medine and Arielle Charnas of Something Navy.
The three-year-old Los Angeles-based brand last month closed a Series A round of funding with investments by M3 Ventures, Braun’s TQ Ventures, Medine and Charnas, WWD has learned. The deal marks Braun’s first investment in the beauty space. TQ Ventures, a venture firm in which he is a partner with Schuster Tanger of the Tanger Outlets family, has primarily focused on wellness-related brands, such as Liquid IV and Bear’s Fruit Kombucha. It is also Charnas’ first time investing in a beauty brand and Medine’s second — she invested in skin-care brand Drunk Elephant last year. M3 focuses on brands that relate to “healthy living and youth culture” — it has invested in Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream, a New York-based vegan ice cream company, and the activewear label Carbon38.
For Kosås founder Sheena Yaitanes, the new group of investors brings more than just funding.
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“They each bring something different to the table,” Yaitanes said. “Scooter knows how to work with people who are influencing culture and shifting cultural thinking. Leandra and Arielle have an incredible knowledge of communicating with people in a digital way — they’ve built digital empires.”
The new investments closes the brand’s series A round of funding, led by an investment from CircleUp Growth Partners that was revealed in May.
“With this round of funding, the first thing we’ll be doing is product innovation, following our mission of extremely easy application, excellent color choices and great wearability,” said Yaitanes. “Ideally we’ll have three to four launches a year so we can make sure the entire face is covered.”
The investment comes at a time when Yaitanes is looking to ramp up the brand’s digital marketing. Its latest product launches — a limited-edition lipstick called Violet Fury in May and most recently, the July launch of Tinted Oil, Kosas’ first complexion product — were each backed by big digital campaigns. With Medine and Charnas as investors, Yaitanes hopes to tap into their insight on social media, content creation and connecting with consumers.
“I think that they love the brand and are users of it, but really it’s their knowledge of digital strategy that will be most beneficial to us,” Yaitanes said. “We’re really working on communicating our story through creative and marketing, we’re making all of our content in-house…telling bigger stories about what it means to be a person and a woman, showing women that there’s a lot of value in having your insides match your outsides. It’s important to me that the consumer sees the heart and soul of the brand.”
Medine told WWD in an exclusive interview that she is not actively on the hunt for beauty brands to invest in — rather, she bases investments on personal interest.
“It came across my desk in the same way that Drunk Elephant did,” Medine said of Kosas. It’s a great beauty product that works and it’s completely natural — that’s kind of a gangbusters combination.”
She emphasized that for now there will be no synergies between Man Repeller and Kosås — the investments Medine makes are personal and are in no way related to her site, she said. If Kosås is mentioned on Man Repeller, her investment with the brand will be disclosed. With Kosås, she plans to lend her marketing and creative expertise, rather than act as a figurehead for the brand. “My real value is in a marketing capacity with top-line creative thinking, different campaign ideas, storytelling…all of the outward-facing essentially content,” Medine said.
Charnas, who invested with her husband Brandon Charnas, was drawn to the brand because of its strong female founder story. Yaitanes studied organic chemistry and biology before founding Kosås in 2015 with four lipsticks. “Investing in smart, driven female entrepreneurs and the companies they’re leading is extremely important to us, especially someone like Sheena who brings a unqiue point of view, experience, and expertise to the industry,” Charnas said.
Kosås has products in the lip, face and complexion categories, including lipstick, highlighter and blush duos. The brand’s first foundation product — Tinted Face Oil, $42 — launched in July. The products are all formulated with botanical butters and oils and are meant to be good for the skin — the tinted face oil, said Yaitanes, is more like a skin-care oil that contains pigment. The foundation has a buildable coverage and is designed to feel lightweight with a velvet finish.
The products are sold in about 150 retailers globally, including Revolve, Violet Grey, Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus, Credo Beauty, Goop and Detox Market in the U.S. In August, Kosås will launch on Net-a-porter, and is set to expand to Mecca in Australia and New Zealand in September, and Nordstrom later this year.
Yaitanes is also focused on growing the brand’s direct-to-consumer strategy and is working on ways to “simplify the makeup shopping experience online.” Yaitanes declined to discuss sales figures, but Kosås is on track to triple its retail sales by the end of 2018.