The Nue Co., which makes luxury nutritional supplements geared toward beauty, has raised $1.5 million in seed funding.
The round was led by Morningside Group, which traditionally invests in biotechnology, life sciences and green technology companies. The Nue Co. is on track to do $1 million in sales for 2017.
“The Nue Co. is leading with an exciting pipeline of innovative products designed for the well-being of today’s consumers who live a very dynamic lifestyle,” said Morningside director of investments Maria Lam. “We are impressed with the creativity and energy of the management team who have been very astute in accessing the retail market.”
The eight-month-old business launched its supplements, which include Skin Food + Prebiotic, Debloat Food + Prebiotic and Energy Food + Prebiotic (all $75), with Net-a-porter earlier this year. Since then, it has expanded to more than 50 boutique points of distribution, including Goop, Credo, SoHo House, Ace Hotel and several fitness studios.
“We were very conscious that these retailers were really able to sell our products because it is a relatively new category, sitting luxury and wellness and beauty on the same shelf,” said the Nue Co. founder and chief executive officer Jules Miller.
Going forward, Miller says the company will use the additional capital to boost its direct-to-consumer sales online, as well as for retail. Right now, about 65 percent of the company’s sales are coming from its wholesale accounts, she noted. So far, the Nue Co. hasn’t spent any money on customer acquisition, but that will change in 2018, when it works to ramp up social media and search-engine optimization, Miller said.
“Our focus next year is really growing our e-commerce [operations],” Miller said, adding that gathering customer feedback and incorporating it into product development is part of the draw to build out that side of the business. “Our customers aren’t necessarily trying different products…instead they’re actually adding product to their basket,” Miller said. The average basket at the moment is a little bit over $200.”
The Nue Co. is also planning its first official venture into the physical retailing world with a 3,200-square-foot space at 39 Spring Street in New York that is slated to open Jan. 11. The space will be equipped with a trial-style bar at the back, a florist and a lounge area.
“So much of what the Nue Co. is about is experience and engagement and delight and I’ve always been fascinated by how boring…and broken the customer experience is when it comes to supplements,” Miller said. “It’s really going to be a place to showcase the products and to educate.”
The Nue Co.’s capital raise comes shortly after Hum Nutrition, which also makes supplements related to beauty, raised a $5 million Series A (the company originally raised $4 million, but Natalie Massenet and Nick Brown joined the round, too).
The supplements space is one that many companies are experimenting with, both on the start-up and established levels, as the lines between beauty and wellness dissolve. Crushed Tonic, for example, launched a direct-to-consumer collagen, biotin and probiotic supplement this fall. Tula, a skin-care line that includes probiotics and has the backing of L Catterton’s growth fund launched a supplement earlier this year. Burt’s Bees, an established player in the personal-care space, also launched protein powders in early 2017.
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