Youth to the People products

Indie skin-care brand Youth to the People has landed a minority investment from Strand Equity.

Youth to the People focuses on skin-care products that contain superfood ingredients, cold-pressed extracts and natural botanicals. Right now, the business makes a cleanser, cream, serum, mask and eye cream that are sold on the brand’s web site, as well as through Dermstore, Sephora, Nordstrom and Free People. The products are not animal tested, vegan, formulated without parabens and housed in recyclable packaging. Industry sources estimate the brand is on track to triple sales to around $20 million for 2018.

“The superfood category was a big inspiration,” said Youth to the People cofounder Greg Gonzalez, who started the company with his cousin, Joe Cloyes, in 2015. “Joe and I were drinking a lot of cold pressed juices…it was the ingredient story that pumped us up.”

The pair grew up around skin care — their grandmother is Eva Friederichs, an aesthetician who founded the professional line Eva’s Esthetics in 1979. “We were getting facials by age 10 — that’s how we got our start,” said Cloyes. 

The duo started with three products — Kale + Green Tea, Spinach, Vitamins Age Prevention Cleanser, $36, Kale + Spinach, Green Tea, Hyaluronic Acid Age Prevention Moisture Cream, $48, and Kale + Tripeptide 5 Vitamin C Hyaluronic Acid Age Prevention Firm and Brighten Serum, $62.

This is Youth to the People’s first investment, and Cloyes and Gonzalez plan to use it to build out their team. It’s also the first strictly beauty investment from Strand, which has backed Hum Nutrition (a nutritional supplement business with a beauty component), Vita Coco, Revive Kombucha, Wtrmln Wtr and Bai Brands (that sold to Dr. Pepper Snapple for $1.7 billion in 2017).

The food orientation of both Youth to the People and Strand is one of the things that brought the two parties together, said Strand managing partner Seth Rodsky, who noted beauty has mimicked the food and beverage space’s move toward cleaner ingredients.

“We saw the [beauty] category was piggybacking on that trend from the food and beverage space and integrating those vegan ingredients, nutrient rich ingredients, into the products,” Rodsky said. “We like investing in category creators, and we see [Youth to the People] as a category creator by leading this movement and integrating the super foods.”

Youth to the People plans to enter additional superfood categories in 2018. Next up is Superberry, with the early April launch of Superberry Hydrate and Glow Oil, which contains macqui, açai, goji, moringa and prickly pear. It’s priced at $44. The brand also plans to enter two other super food categories this year, according to Gonzalez.

“There’s tremendous opportunity in the whole 360-degree approach of beauty — internally and topically,” Cloyes said.

Strand’s investment in Youth to the People underscores several ongoing trends in the beauty category — new investors are increasingly entering the space, and brands with natural-leaning ingredients or “clean” formulations are attracting investor attention.  Recent beauty deals include Castanea’s investment in skin-care brand Tatcha and VMG’s investment in Drunk Elephant.

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