Are suppliers the next big beauty investors?
Lubrizol, the Berkshire-Hathaway-owned chemical supplier and manufacturer, has invested a minority stake in One Ocean Beauty, a skin-care start-up founded by Burberry veteran Marcella Cacci.
One Ocean Beauty is the first brand in the portfolio of Lubrizol Skin Essentials, the company’s venture arm that was formed to incubate skin-care brands in their early stages of development.
The investments made by Lubrizol Skin Essentials are meant to be strategic.
“The way our program works is we focus on what we are good at and let the brands focus on what they’re good at — branding and marketing. We have the capabilities to handle the research and development, the formulation, manufacturing and skin-care science,” said Brandon Ford, chief accelerator director of Lubrizol Skin Essentials.
The goal of the venture arm is to help Lubrizol edge into the business of building brands and ultimately sell them off to — most likely — more traditional beauty companies at an incredibly active time for beauty M&A. “We’re not only hoping to help these brands grow and incubate and help them get on the right trajectory, it’s also an opportunity to showcase these brands to our network.…We supply ingredients to some of the largest beauty [companies] in the world, and it’s an opportunity to give them access to cutting-edge brands,” said Ford.
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Lubrizol Skin Essentials is interested in early-stage skin-care brands focused on Millennial and Gen Z preferences and “specific niche markets,” as well as brands that focus on high-tech skin care. Ford added that the venture arm is also interested in skin care formulated for multicultural consumers.
The idea for Lubrizol Skin Essentials came when Marcella Cacci began working with the company on the marine-based formulations for One Ocean Beauty, which launches today.
Cacci is a veteran in the beauty and luxury space — for 10 years, she operated her own (now shuttered) advisory firm, consulting for clients such as Aerin Lauder and Fabien Baron, who designed One Ocean Beauty’s packaging. Prior to that, she was a licensing exec and the president of global beauty at Burberry, where she engineered the growth of the Burberry Brit fragrance into a franchise worth $400 million euros shortly before her resignation in 2006.
Cacci was inspired to start One Ocean Beauty after watching direct-to-consumer disruptor brands like Glossier gain prominence. “Even when I was at Burberry, I was a little disruptive in the way that we launched and thought about Brit — we thought of it as more of a fashion and lifestyle business [than fragrance],” said Cacci. “It’s a fascinating time to jump back in and take a cue from some of those disruptor [brands]. They’ve laid the groundwork for someone like me with a little more of a corporate mind-set.”
Lubrizol was interested in One Ocean Beauty because of Cacci’s vision for a clean, active antiaging skin-care line that incorporated sustainable packaging and ingredients, a strong charitable component, said Ford. One Ocean Beauty supports Oceana, the largest international ocean conservancy, with a fixed amount donation, instead of a percentage of sales. Under Lubrizol, One Ocean has already donated $250,000 to Oceana in 2018.
“I just didn’t like the whole [charitable] model,” said Cacci. “If you really believe in this cause and it’s part of your brand DNA, which it is for us — you should donate a certain amount at the beginning of the year. We committed to them and its part of our DNA and I feel very good telling our customers that they’ve helped the oceans.”
The plan is for Cacci to eventually lend her branding and marketing expertise to future brands in the Lubrizol Skin Essentials portfolio, while still overseeing One Ocean Beauty.
One Ocean Beauty launches on its web site with five sku’s — Eye Revival Marine Cream, $72; Marine Collagen supplements, $48 for 30 capsules; Purifying Ocean Mist Cleanser, $38; Replenishing Deep Sea Moisturizer, $79; Revitalizing Sea Serum, $98, and a kit containing all five items that retails priced $298. The formulations are considered clean — Cacci had Lubrizol formulate the products following clean beauty retailer Credo Beauty’s standards.
The formulations are highly active, containing three to five active marine-based ingredients in each product. The ingredients were made with bio-fermentation technology in a lab to ensure no harm to marine life.
Cacci is launching the brand as direct-to-consumer via its web site, oneoceanbeauty.com. She plans to incorporate social selling, affiliate linking and eventually wholesale. She is already in talks with retailers specializing in clean beauty and prestige.
Cacci declined to give sales figures, but industry sources estimate the line could do $2 million to $2.5 million in retail sales in its first year.
She said she designed the brand for older women looking for high-tech skin care that was clean and contained clean and sustainable packaging — One Ocean Beauty’s inner and outer packaging are 100 percent recyclable. But she feels younger generations will be drawn to the brand because of its charitable component.
“Our motto is ‘Look good, feel good, do good,’” said Cacci. “I intended this to be an antiaging line, but I think it will resonate with Millennials because of that motto.”