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First Aid Beauty’s Founder on Being Acquired by P&G

"When it came down to making the final decision, P&G fit the bill," said Lilli Gordon, founder and ceo of First Aid Beauty.

Lilli Gordon won’t be leaving First Aid Beauty anytime soon.

The founder and chief executive officer of First Aid Beauty shared her strategy for financing her beauty brand, which she launched at the age of 55. On stage at WWD’s BeautyVest, Gordon said she has no interest in leaving the company anytime soon, adding, “I can’t even imagine that.”

Gordon was at an advantage launching her company when she did, having spent her career building relationships — some of whom became early investors in her brand. She eventually decided to take on private equity investment, which she used to change the risk profile of her business, and last year, sold FAB to Procter & Gamble for an estimated $250 million.

“I’m still the ceo, I do have a boss — that’s the first time I’ve ever had a boss in my life — but fortunately he lives in another part of the world,” Gordon said of the integration process. “They had to integrate the brand financially because P&G is a public company. One of the things that was discussed during the whole process and because of P&G’s past experiences dealing in the prestige market with acquisitions where they heavily integrated brands from the get go, now that they’re making acquisitions again, they decided that that wasn’t necessarily the best path. So as we know integration in the formal sense, we’re not being integrated.”

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Her advice to aspiring entrepreneurs: have an idea of where you want your brand to be five to 10 years — and work backward.

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“Knowing where you want to be in five years helps develop a path that’s clearer than if you just go with the flow,” Gordon said. “The other piece of advice I have is, it’s good to know how much money your business needs. You don’t want to have all this momentum and demand and not be able to fund your production.”

As far as approaching potential transactions, Gordon recommends finding intention in doing so.

“Unless you choose the right partner, it’s gonna be a disaster,” she said. “I don’t care how much money you take off the table or you think you’re gonna make. You have to make sure you really talk about your plan and your vision and you’re aligned on that because that’s gonna make everything so much more productive.”

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