W3ll People has received a minority investment from growth equity investor NextWorld Evergreen. The funds will help the plant-based makeup brand continue on its quest to deliver its formulas into new categories, while broadening its retail partnerships and ramping up marketing efforts.
In just shy of 10 years, the clean brand has secured distribution in natural and luxury boutiques including Credo Beauty, The Detox Market and Pharmaca, along with Target and Whole Foods Market. W3ll People also operates its own bricks-and-mortar retail studios in Austin stocking the full array of its items plus a curated selection of other natural beauty across skin, hair and body products.
James Walker, president and cofounder of W3ll People, said the company felt it was the right time to seek out a financial partner to help maintain the brand’s growth. He added that NextWorld was selected for its financial resources, understanding of the beauty space and commitment to socially responsible brands.
NextWorld’s general partner Frederic Benque said his company is looking to fund the future for better-for-you and better-for-the-world products. “W3ll People is a brand that makes high-performance clean beauty accessible, and their mission of sustainability is something we’re excited to support.” He added that W3ll People “shook up the clean beauty world” with disruptive business strategies and award-winning cosmetics such as the Expressionist Mascara. “They continue to innovate with products that blend artistry, performance and multitasking benefits with intentional price positioning that’s attainable for a much wider audience than many of the clean makeup products on the market.”
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W3ll People has tailwinds propelled by a battery of new products and the validation of the Environmental Working Group. Indeed, the U.S. “better for you” market is thriving, growing at a 10 percent yearly clip, according to research firm Kline. But within the category comes confusion. There’s no clear definition of natural and shoppers, trying to do what’s right, get bewildered at shelves. To cut through the clutter, W3ll People now bears the EWG Verified badge. Additionally, according to one of the founders of the brand, Shirley Pinkson, W3ll People is rebooting to feature enhanced packaging, a robust pipeline of products and going deeper with its retail partners.
“This is really a relaunch of the brand. We’ve changed our look to graphite packaging and upgraded our formulas,” said Pinkson. “We are truly rounding out the brand.” Pinkson, a former national artist with Nars, puts a great deal of stock in the EWG Verified mark on its packages. “That’s becoming a bigger deal,” said Pinkson, adding W3ll People was one of the first three brands to earn the honor. “If you are shopping and see the EWG badge, your home work is done.” Bearing the logo doesn’t only help shoppers make decisions, she said. W3ll People uses suggestions and feedback from EWG to tweak its formulas or delve into new categories.
W3ll People is expanding into what Pinkson called a “hybrid cosmetic” which, as she explains, is a color brand with skin benefits. She also is a believer in beauty products that perform multiple tasks. “We are all time-starved. Gone are the days where you spend an hour getting your face ready. You don’t have time for five different serums. You want it all in one place.”
With those needs in mind, W3ll People branched into the skin care segment last month with a multitasking active botanical serum called Bio Booster Facial Serum. “We’ll be edging into skin care. We want people to be mindful of their skin with our makeup and back into our skin care,” she said. “The serum is our first dive into skin care.” The serum retails for $28.99.
Additionally, W3ll People released into its first pressed powder duo in two shades, Nude Blush and Nude Glow. The blush is suited for sculpting, the glow product achieves illumination and highlighting. The powder can be worn alone or layered. The powder retails $24.99. In the pipeline is a full arsenal of new items including a powder foundation that can be used wet or dry, a nude eye shadow palette and a new lipstick.
New items help the company secure more distribution. W3ll People was installed in 200 more Target stores last month, bringing to 403 the total at the discounter. Another 300 will get the line in July. W3ll People will play a role in the additional focus on beauty at Whole Foods. And the brand is a traffic draw for Credo, which Pinkson described as a key retailer to tell the brand’s story.
Pinkson created the line along with Dr. Renee Snyder, a cosmetics dermatologist, and James Walker after fronting numerous questions from clients while working at Nars about ingredients in makeup. The brand is comprised of about 80 plant-based items with formulas that contain hydrating and therapeutic botanicals, including organic aloe, organic chamomile and organic green tea. Aloe vera is infused into most items in the lineup.