Natural deodorant seems to be having a moment.
Unilever is the latest to jump on the natural deodorant train with its acquisition of Schmidt’s Naturals. The transaction closely follows Procter & Gamble’s purchase of Native, another natural deodorant company, in November.
WWD reported Schmidt’s had hired Goldman Sachs to consider a sale process in November. Industry sources indicated the brand has about $45 million in sales and is on track to double this year. Schmidt’s cofounder Michael Cammarata declined to comment on sales figures or growth projections.
Schmidt’s, headquartered in Portland, Ore., makes traditional and jar deodorants that are sold direct-to-consumer online, as well as through Target and Kroger. The most popular scents are Charcoal + Magnesium, Rose + Vanilla and Lavender + Sage, according to Schmidt’s. The brand also makes bar soaps and toothpaste. The business was cofounded by Jaime Schmidt and Cammarata, who will remain on board under Unilever.
The company’s products are made from arrowroot powder, baking soda, coconut oil, shea butter, candelilla wax, jojoba seed oil, sunflower-derived vitamin E, magnesium hydroxide and natural fragrances.
“Today’s consumers are more in tune to what they put on their bodies, and natural products in general have been growing,” Cammarata said. “As natural products are becoming as effective as traditional products, we’re seeing a huge move…[toward] natural products.”
For Schmidt’s, the Unilever deal will help it expand its global reach and develop new products, Cammarata said, declining to give specifics.
“[The deal] is something that allows us to reach more customers sooner, and the ability to really be customer-focused and focus on sustainability,” Cammarata said.
“We’re working on a lot of cool things,” he said. “It’s going to amplify what we’re doing already.”
What Schmidt’s is “doing already” is establishing transparent relationship with its consumers. That means listening to them and their scent suggestions, partnering with the charities they suggest and providing “active” customer service,” Cammarata said.
“One of our number-one scents, Rose + Vanilla, originated from a consumer saying, ‘Can you make a scent with rose?’ and ‘Can you make a scent with vanilla?'” he said.
For Unilever, Schmidt’s adds a natural option to its deodorant lineup, which already includes Degree, Axe and Dove.
For comparison, P&G’s acquisition of Native added a natural option to its portfolio, which includes Secret and Old Spice. Industry sources said Native has between $25 million and $30 million in sales, and has plans to expand into other product categories — similar to what Schmidt’s has done.
According to Euromonitor, global deodorant sales were $20.2 billion in 2016 and could climb to $23.4 billion by 2021. For the U.S. market, deodorant sales for 2016 were about $4.5 billion for 2016 and projected to climb to almost $5.3 billion for 2021, according to Euromonitor. The natural deodorant part of the business has picked up as consumers adopt the wellness movement. Other brands that make natural deodorant include Ursa Major, Vapour, Lovefresh, Kaia Naturals and Meow Meow Tweet.
“Schmidt’s Naturals is a strong, innovative brand in the fast-growing natural category, and nicely complements our existing portfolio of U.S. deodorants,” said Kees Kruythoff, president of Unilever North America.
“Schmidt’s Naturals is a great strategic fit for our personal-care business, allowing us to reach new consumers who prefer natural options,” said Alan Jope, president of Unilever Personal Care. We look forward to utilizing our personal-care leadership to extend Schmidt’s Naturals into new sales channels and geographies.”
Unilever has been on a deal spree in 2017, buying not just Schmidt’s, but also Carver Korea, Sundial, Hourglass and Living Proof.