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Yes To Signs Viking as Minority Investor

Under ceo Ingrid Jackel, the brand has expanded beyond just a fruit and vegetable focus.

Natural skin-care brand Yes To seems to be gearing up for its next phase of growth.

The mass-market business behind product lines Yes to Cotton, Yes to Cucumbers and Yes to Carrots has received a $56 million minority investment from Viking Global Investors LP, a Greenwich, Conn.-based investment firm that has also backed Birchbox. The deal will “provide partial liquidity to existing shareholders,” according to a company statement.

Yes To’s product lines are mostly natural (95 percent and up), paraben-free and made with recyclable materials. They are sold in more than 28,000 doors, at retailers including Target, Wal-Mart, Ulta Beauty and Rite Aid.

When chief executive officer Ingrid Jackel came on board in 2015, she was charged with doubling the size of the brand from $50 million to $100 million. As of February, industry sources estimated that she was halfway there, and the company was projecting sales growth of 25 percent for 2017.

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Jackel was the catalyst behind the company’s decision to diversify its offerings beyond its fruit and vegetable core into things like Charcoal, Miracle Oil and Cotton.

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“We’re 95 percent natural — there are large amounts of natural ingredients and we don’t want to be restricted [to fruits and vegetables],” Jackel told WWD earlier this year, referring to nonfood natural ingredients. “We’re not moving away from fruits and veggies — they are still very relevant. But as a natural brand, it would be irresponsible [to avoid other ingredients]. The strategy is broadening the scope of natural ingredients we have access to.”

These days, Yes To is shipping an extension of its $2.99 do-it-yourself powder-to-clay masks packaged as single-use portions. For those, users mix the powder with any liquid-like substance — honey, water, yogurt, etc. The company has also been ramping up its focus on sheet masks, which Jackel has said drove 61 percent of category growth in the last 24 months.

Existing investor San Francisco Equity Partners will remain on board as Viking comes in. “We welcome Viking to the Yes To shareholder group and look forward to working with them alongside existing investors, including San Francisco Equity Partners and Simon Equity Partners,” said Scott Potter, Yes To board chairman and managing partner at San Francisco Equity Partners.

Potter indicated earlier in 2017 that San Francisco Equity Partners sees Yes To’s growth as a longer-term play, which could potentially  include acquisitions.

“The brand has created a lot value from when we got involved. It is more than seven times its size, but the next phase of growth…is going to be a multiyear exercise,” Potter said. “Clearly we think this brand will be a very nice addition to someone’s portfolio in the future,” he added, though he noted Yes To could eventually become acquisitive itself and scoop up emerging natural brands.

“We also think we have the standing with very large retailers that the brand could play a role in helping bring some smaller innovative brands to the market and be an aggregator itself.”