NEW YORK — Wander Beauty has gone from launching a single product on QVC to global beauty brand in just two years.
In the summer, the range will enter a handful of Sephora doors and online throughout Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines, according to Divya Gugnani, cofounder and chief executive officer of Wander Beauty. Additionally, the brand has raised a Series A round of funding, which closed last month.
She was unable to comment on financials, but an industry source estimated the round — led by DGNL Ventures, Pritzker Group and Maveron — to be around $4 million. The brand raised less than $1 million in angel investments in January 2015 prior to its launch, making this round the first institutional capital Wander has raised. Retail sales for the second full year in business are said to be on track to hit $15 million, more than twice the approximately $7 million in sales Wander did in 2016.
Gugnani, who started the company with former Victoria’s Secret model Lindsay Ellingson, created Wander to streamline women’s beauty routines, she said. Built on globally inspired, “multitasking makeup essentials,” all 17 items in the line contain either two products in one or a formula intended for multiple use cases. For instance, the $42 On-the-Glow Blush & Highlighter Duo Stick is a dual ended stick that has cream blush on one side and a highlighter on the other. It’s also the first product Gugnani and Ellingson created, which had a simultaneously launch on QVC and Wander’s e-commerce site at wanderbeauty.com in April 2015.
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Other products include a Dualist Matte and Illuminating Concealer, $29, that has a matte formula on one side and a liquid formula with illuminating pigments on the other. A Rise and Prime Balm and Primer Duo, $39, has a hydrating balm and a mattifying primer on each side and a Wanderout Dual Lipstick, $30, is a moisture-rich matte lipstick and a lip treatment in one.
“People always ask us why we didn’t just launch a product on our Web site. For us that was never our strategy,” Gugnani explained. “We were going to innovate and created On the Glow as our first product…the rest was a way to test that and really get a response, so we launched that with a retail partner so we could sell thousands of units and get instant customer feedback.”
This is Gugnani’s fourth company. Her last venture before starting Wander — Send the Trend — was reportedly acquired by QVC for several hundred million dollars in 2012. Following the acquisition, Gugnani worked at QVC for two-and-a-half-years as the vice president of digital innovation before starting an investment fund of her own, Concept to Co and Wander.
“You’re scaling your brand so much faster because you’re scaling your brand awareness at a profit. If we sell all those units — we did it at a profit. Maybe it wasn’t the same thing as selling direct to consumer, but the reality is that you’re making a profit and getting product in the hands of thousands of consumers,” Gugnani continued, adding that QVC was able to amplify the brand in a way that an e-commerce site would never had been able to.
If Wander had started as strictly direct-to-consumer and sold only via its own site, Gugnani said she would have had to raise millions of dollars before the company even launched and pay for the acquisition.
This year, Wander will see about 30 percent of sales coming from each QVC, wanderbeauty.com and Sephora, where the brand has a presence in 350 doors in the U.S. and Canada. The remaining 10 percent comes from Net-a-porter, Anthropologie and a few other outlets.
“When you invest in the company you have to love the founder and their ability to drive a brand,” said Desiree Gruber, cofounder of DGNL Ventures. “She [Gugnani] has an incredible history and track record of success. She has been inside QVC for years — she has the lay of the land, she has access and understanding and has seen other brands do it.” DGNL has invested in beauty brands such as Living Proof, Ipsy and Frédéric Fekkai’s new natural beauty line, Bastide.