Point King Capital has made a minority investment in Esmi Skin Minerals, a vegan and cruelty-free skin-care company based in Australia.
The private equity firm has bought a “meaningful minority” stake in Esmi’s parent company, Makeup Cartel, which also owns Poni Cosmetics, according to Sam McKay, founding partner at Point King. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Esmi is said to make up the vast majority of the Makeup Cartel operation, and industry sources said it is on track to do about $15 million in sales for 2020.
The line was born out of founder Evette Hess’ experiences in a clinical environment, where clients would often pile on makeup after treatments and set their skin’s progress back.
“When I was working in more of a cosmetic-surgery type environment where we could achieve better results with more intensive treatments…often where we would struggle is the makeup factor. These women generally had skin concerns — she’d try to cover it as much as possible with makeup, and that was putting us back, setting us back, in the results we were achieving in the salon,” Hess said.
Eventually, she created a mineral foundation product that provided coverage but also skin benefits — then, Esmi took off.
These days, Esmi’s Skin Treats, which include things like $65 Hyaluronic Hydrating Serum and 24K Gold Nourishing Oil, are best sellers, as are the brand’s $49 cleansers, Hess said. Product sales are mainly from Australia, but the brand also sells in Russia and New Zealand, and ships to the U.S. and Canada.
“Our main focus has really been Australia,” Hess said. “We wanted to really perfect the relationship with the customer in a local way, and then once we achieved a standard we’re satisfied with, really put our wings out — going into the U.S. market is definitely on the radar.”
Global expansion is one of the things that the Point King team plans to help with, McKay said. “We are actively working through fiscal 2021 budget planning with Evette and the team and we are looking at how we can continue to invest in talent, in marketing…and then international is a focus…with multichannel distribution,” he said.
While many beauty dealmakers are waiting out the COVID-19 pandemic before closing transactions, King and Hess said they were able to iron out the details despite massive shifts in everyday life. “We were able to communicate transparently when the pandemic started on what was the right structure for everyone to move forward,” McKay said. “The unprecedented crisis that we’re experiencing provided us with a real-life scenario for how we work through our investment partnership.”
Esmi has continued to do well during the pandemic, which Hess attributed to shoppers spending more time on mobile, and requiring fewer than usual touch points in order to make a purchase. “Our new customers increase three or four times,” she said.
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