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E.l.f. Enters Clean Beauty With $27 Million W3LL People Deal

This is E.l.f.'s first acquisition.

E.l.f. Beauty has inked its first acquisition — clean beauty brand W3LL People.

E.l.f. is paying $27 million to take over the business, which is expected to do $7 million in net sales for 2020. The deal is expected to add 1 cent to E.l.f.’s adjusted earnings per share for fiscal 2021, the company said.

Buying W3LL People marks E.l.f.’s first serious move into the clean beauty space, chairman and chief executive officer Tarang Amin told WWD in an interview. The plan is to learn from the W3LL People team — all three founders are staying on board — and further incorporate clean beauty formulations into the E.l.f. product assortment.

“Clean beauty is a strategically important segment given consumer sentiment and strong growth rates. W3LL People has a long history of expertise and credibility in clean beauty that works. Their brand values and market opportunity align closely with E.l.f.’s strategy and we believe there are a number of synergies to be realized on both the cost and distribution fronts,” Amin said in a statement.

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W3LL People, founded in 2009, was one of the early movers in the clean makeup space. The brand is best known for its Expressionist Mascara, which quickly became a leader in the small clean mascara world.

“I think every woman in our office is wearing the mascara right now,” Amin said.

The brand was founded by James Walker, Shirley Pinkson and Renee Snyder, and is cruelty-free and plant-based. The business has 40 products that are EWG Verified, and is sold at Target, Whole Foods, Credo Beauty, The Detox Market, and its own web site. In 2018, W3LL People got an investment NextWorld Evergreen, which also backs Credo.

One of the things that attracted E.l.f. — a business that at one point sold all products for $1 — to W3LL, was its reasonable price points, Amin said. The products cost between $15 and $40, compared to higher-end prestige clean options.

“W3LL People is rooted in a deep and passionate understanding of clean beauty and shares our mission of making the best of beauty accessible. We believe that W3LL People’s 11 years of clean beauty experience and high-quality product line, in combination with E.l.f.’s multiple strengths from operations to marketing, will be attractive to our retail partners — including Target, our longest-standing customer,” Amin said in a statement.

William Hood & Company LLC advised W3LL People on the deal. E.l.f. did not use an adviser, Amin said.

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