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Thirteen Lune Raises $3M, Led by Fearless Fund

Thirteen Lune raised the capital as it works to expand with J.C. Penney and develop a private-label line.

Thirteen Lune has raised a $3 million round led by Fearless Fund, a venture capital firm created by women of color that invests in women of color.

The capital will be used to fund development for Thirteen Lune’s private label beauty line, supply chain improvements and to build out the company’s executive team.

Thirteen Lune was launched by Nyakio Grieco and Patrick Herning in 2020 as a beauty e-commerce operation. The goal was to stock and help market brands that are founded by people of color and “ally brands,” with products that could be used by everyone. The business has grown quickly, and today carries 100 brands, and has doubled its revenue over the past six months online, according to the company.

In addition to Fearless Fund, the round includes capital from Capstar Ventures, Fab Ventures, Swiftarc Beauty and Gaingels.

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“I’m so thrilled to see how the landscape of finance has shifted slowly but surely over the last 18 years of being an entrepreneur. Personally, it brought me great joy to have a fund co-created by Black women to come on and lead this round,” Grieco said. “This is a job we all need to do together, from the finance side to the businesses that are coming about, and how they’re also elevating and speaking to the power of inclusivity.”

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“Having that fully integrated message of inclusivity 360 is key,” Herning said. “When you think about what this is doing from a scale perspective, it is life-changing.”

Thirteen Lune is also rolling out into retail via a shop-in-shop partnership with J.C. Penney Co. Inc., which previously had partnered with Sephora. Ten Thirteen Lune locations inside Penney’s are already open, and the companies are planning for 600 locations by 2023.

Grieco and Herning said the partnership is off to a strong start. “We’re seeing penetration across all brands, certainly some are showing early signs of being hero brands, but we’re seeing sell-through across all brands,” Herning said. “That’s a testament to the partnership between Penney’s and Thirteen Lune from a merchandising perspective, but it’s most importantly a testament to Nyakio being out in front of this partnership and making the time to celebrate each and every opening with the JCP team. It creates an intimacy for our brand and JCP that is just unquantifiable.”

Grieco, who also has a beauty brand called Nyakio, said she’s been impressed with the in-store displays at Penney’s so far. “It was one thing to have virtual shelves where 90 percent of our assortment were created by Black and brown founders, but now we actually have shelves that display that,” she said. “When you walk into our set at J.C. Penney beauty, you’re not seeing segregation aisles being recreated…it’s a global beauty story,” she said, noting that ally brands are merchandised alongside lines with Black and brown founders. “It’s literally just what the world is supposed to look like.”

Herning said moving into retail was part of the company’s strategy, but that it needed more capital for supply chain and operations resources as it builds out the Penney’s partnership. “Capital is going to go to hiring and building up that team, and it’s also going to — more importantly — the manufacturing and development of our own private label,” he said.

The team declined to provide details on the upcoming line, but Grieco said through the Thirteen Lune and Nyakio businesses she has been able to identify spaces in the beauty market where consumers could be better served. It is expected to launch in 2022.

“As a beauty founder of 20 years, I’ve had a real opportunity to see where the holes in the marketplace are, places where we can really deliver to better serve all, but really focusing on coming from the lens of melanin rich skin and textured hair,” she said. “I’m able to see what it is that the customer is still seeking and how we can better deliver on serving this customer.”

In total, Thirteen Lune has now raised $4.5 million.

Fearless Fund’s other investments in beauty and wellness include Range Beauty, Amp Beauty LA, Hairbrella, Slutty Vegan and Nudies.

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