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Inside Olaplex’s IPO Plans

Olaplex has seen rapid growth, even during the pandemic.

Fast-growing hair company Olaplex has filed for an initial public offering, with plans to raise further capital after several years of swift growth.

Olaplex’s hair products are centered around bond-building technology that was developed by Dean Christal in 2014 and repairs damaged hair. The technology has allowed consumers to dye their hair more frequently, with less breakage.

Olaplex’s products first gained recognition among professional hairstylists, who offered the treatment as a backbar service at salons. Then the business developed consumer-facing hair products that are now sold online and at retail partners like Sephora, where it was the number-one brand in the hair category for 2020, according to the company.

Olaplex chief executive officer JuE Wong recently credited the company’s multipronged distribution strategy — and continued close ties to the professional hair community — for the brand’s success. 

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Olaplex’s S-1, filed Aug. 27 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, reveals further details about how well the company has fared so far, and its plan for the future.

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Product and Category Expansion

Olaplex centers around the technology developed by Christal, but said it is working to go into other categories. “We are also developing other potentially patentable technologies to support extension into non-hair care beauty and wellness categories that provide us with long-term growth opportunities,” the company said in the filing. That includes skin care, the company said.

The Numbers

Olaplex posted a 90 percent jump in sales in 2020, during the pandemic, to $282.3 million, from $148.2 million in net sales in 2019. The company’s income decreased 36 percent in 2020, to $39.3 million, which it said was due to interest expense on debt incurred from the company’s acquisition by private equity firm Advent International. 

So far this year, Olaplex’s sales have more than doubled — for the first six months of 2020, the company posted a 171 percent increase to $270.2 million, with $94.9 million in net income.

Olaplex’s Distribution Plans

Olaplex said it plans to continue growing brand awareness, by increasing repeat purchases in existing distribution channels, including its own website, and by starting to sell Olaplex in new retailers and across new geographies, including Tmall Global in China and in Latin America, where the company has only a small presence. 

The Hair Category

Olaplex said the hair category is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 6 percent through 2025. In the U.S., prestige hair care has been one of the fastest-growing categories for years, and was up 70 percent most recently, according to the NPD Group.


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