TPG Growth has acquired a minority stake in Beautycounter, the Santa Monica, Calif.-based personal care and beauty products marketer that relies principally on e-commerce and independent consultants to bring its “safe” beauty and personal care products to consumers.
This story first appeared in the December 18, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Terms of the transaction weren’t disclosed. However, Gregg Renfrew, Beautycounter’s founder and chief executive officer, told WWD in October that it expected to close a Series B round of financing of about $10 million to $15 million this fall.
The company, founded in March 2013, expects to use the funds to accelerate its growth, including investments in infrastructure and continuing to develop, produce and sell high-performance beauty products made without 1,500 harmful ingredients, contained in its “Never List,” linked to cancer, hormone disruption, reproductive toxicity and other health risks.
While essentially a direct-to-consumer enterprise, the firm has marketed its products through J. Crew and the Web site Goop.com and has operated two pop-up shops, in the Los Angeles and Dallas markets, through its relationship with Goop.
“We’ll continue the relationship with Goop and might do additional pop-up shops and even some stand-alone beauty counters on our own,” Renfrew said, adding that distribution outside the U.S., probably beginning in Canada, is being explored as well.
While the company didn’t divulge sales figures, Renfrew noted that sales have increased six-fold since January and the number of consultants now exceeds 5,000. Market sources said the company is projected to exceed $50 million in sales in the coming year.
“Beautycounter’s growing customer base demonstrates that cosmetics and personal-care products can be effective while maintaining higher ingredient standards,” said John Bailey, partner at TPG Growth. “Gregg and her team of passionate, knowledgeable consultants are well on their way toward reshaping the category.”
Bailey will be added to Beautycounter’s board.
This is TPG Growth’s second visit to the beauty sector. It acquired a majority stake in E.l.f. Cosmetics from the company’s founders and TSG Consumer Partners LLC in February for an undisclosed amount, although industry estimates said the company was likely to sell for $200 million or more.
TPG has about $65 billion of assets under management and its TPG Growth unit accounts for about $3.9 billion of that amount. In addition to E.l.f., TPG holds a controlling stake in J. Crew Group and equity interests in such controversial and market-disruptive firms as Uber and Airbnb. Warburg Pincus and TPG sold Neiman Marcus to Ares Management and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board for about $6 billion last year.
Renfrew said that among the elements of Beautycounter’s corporate mission is elevating awareness of the risks involved with many conventional beauty products, including those associated with some natural ingredients, such as heavy metals, and others that are banned in the E.U.
“Our goal is obviously to build a business that’s financially viable and successful for all involved, but there’s a strong social commitment here,” Renfrew said, “and that mission is at the core of all we do.”