LONDON — Maria Hatzistefanis, the beauty entrepreneur behind U.K.-based beauty brands Rodial and Nip + Fab, is looking to sell a majority stake in the Millennial-focused skin-care label Nip + Fab to help the brand realize its full potential globally, WWD has learned.
The company has hired Baylor Klein, who has also advised The Ordinary on its sale to the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc., to help navigate securing the right partner and completing the transaction.
For Hatzistefanis, the decision to look for a partner was a result of seeing the brand’s steady growth trajectory and realizing that to achieve its full potential, a bigger injection of capital and new management structure was essential.
“Nip + Fab has been on a double-digit growth [trajectory] since it launched in 2010, and since the beginning it has been profitable, which is very unusual in the beauty industry,” said Hatzistefanis in an interview. “Last year, we grew by 40 percent and the projection over the next three years is over 30 percent growth. We’ve come to a stage where in order to achieve that growth and give the brand its potential for becoming this ultimate Millennial skin-care brand, it needs more resources.”
According to the company, revenues last year reached 14 million pounds and Hatzistefanis believes the brand can quickly grow to reach revenues worth 100 million pounds with the right partner.
A deal is yet to be confirmed and the company is open to different backers, from strategic investors to venture capital — as long as they share a similar vision for the future Nip + Fab, which involves growth through international expansion and its own digital channels.
“Nip + Fab has achieved all of this by mainly being a U.K.-based brand. Our international availability is very limited. If we look at what we achieved in the U.K. and replicate it internationally, by expanding into the U.S. in a bigger way for instance, there’s a huge opportunity there that we haven’t even touched on. Being a Millennial brand, there is more that we could be doing with our own web site and driving online sales. But again, this needs more resources to build a digital team,” added Hatzistefanis.
The brand is known for its brightly hued packaging, accessible price points and targeted solution-based products, which are readily available at Boots stores across the U.K.
Part of its success formula was the early association with buzzy celebrities, in particular Kylie Jenner, who became Nip + Fab’s brand ambassador in 2015, followed by Sofia Richie in 2017.
“The timing [with the Kylie Jenner ambassadorship] was amazing. It was a year before she launched her own products, and we were the first and last beauty brand that she’s done a campaign with, before launching her own brand. There’s still people now that remember us as the Kylie Jenner brand that promoted the glycolic pads,” said Hatzistefanis, who came up with the idea for Nip + Fab by paying attention to the fashion space and the emergence of luxury and high-street collaborations.
Since then all growth has been organic, as the company has to date remained family-owned, a rarity in the current beauty space.
“Rodial had a lot of interesting concepts and we wanted to take some of those concepts and bring them into the mass market. Initially there was a little inspiration from Rodial, but since 2012 when we launched the Glycolic Fix range, which is now the number-one-selling range, it has developed its own identity,” said Hatzistefanis, adding that while the Rodial and Nip + Fab teams share the same office spaces, the teams and the way the operations are run are kept completely separate. “The idea is that once the transaction is completed, that Nip + Fab would move to its own home.”
Once Hatzistefanis secures the right partner, her aim is to stay “as involved as the partner wants [her] to be” and to put more focus into driving the growth of her first brand, Rodial, in the luxury space.
Rodial, whose products range across skin care and makeup and has become famous for its unusual products from dragon’s blood sculpting gels to bee venom collections, has secured flagship counters in all key U.K. department stores including Selfridges, Harrods and Harvey Nichols, with expansion across the U.S. and Asia in the works, with partners like Sephora and Bluemercury.
“I feel that bringing on a majority partner with Nip + Fab would enable me to really focus on Rodial, the company I started and have a lot of passion for. I’ve just hired a new layer of management and there is a lot that I really want to do. I’m Mrs. Rodial after all,” said Hatzistefanis, who is known as @mrsrodial on Instagram and has grown a following of more than a million, by sharing beauty, fashion and career advice online and creating a media brand of her own, complete with books and podcasts.