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Tata Harper Expands, Plots Overseas Growth

The brand is launching its first foaming cleanser.

Farm-to-face skin-care brand Tata Harper is scaling up — and into a new barn.

The Vermont-based natural skin-care business, which was started by Colombian-born entrepreneur Tata Harper in 2010, is said to have done between $60 million and $65 million in sales for 2017 and is planning deeper penetration with existing retail partners and additional products launches for the year ahead. The brand is expected to grow about 50 percent this year, industry sources said.

To keep up with the growth, Tata Harper is moving some departments out of the company’s farm headquarters and into a new barn, located just outside of Burlington, Vt.

“We’re a little too cozy right now in the manufacturing area and our farm,” Harper said. In addition to moving accounting and other departments to the new space, Tata Harper is building a content studio that will product how-to tips and branded content in-house, according to Harper. “Every time you outsource it, it’s more expensive,” she noted.

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The new space comes as the company prepares the debut of its Clarifying Cleanser, the brand’s first foaming cleanser, in February. The cleanser contains salicylic acid, prickly pear flower, wild Mojave yucca, saw palmetto and juniper berry, and is meant to help clear up skin.

While cleansers are one of the key subcategories for Tata Harper, the brand had shied away from creating a foaming version until recently. “We couldn’t do a good foaming cleanser to give you the squeaky clean feeling without it having some SLS or synthetic, so for us, we were like, ‘We can’t go there,'” Harper said. “The technology now exists. We do it with a lot of different sugars.”

Tata Harper's Clarifying Mask
Tata Harper’s Clarifying Mask

The cleanser joins Tata Harper’s Clarifying lineup, which launched in 2017 with a Clarifying Mask, $68, Clarifying Moisturizer, $105, and Clarifying Spot Solution, $32.

Tata Harper is sold in 22 Neiman Marcus doors, 120 Sephora doors, Space NK, Net-a-porter and other high-end doors in the U.S. and internationally. Going forward, the strategy is to go deeper with existing partners and bulk up global distribution, Harper said.

“We want to go deep with whatever distribution we have,” she said. “We do what makes sense — for Sephora, you can only go so deep because you don’t belong in a couple of the stores…people don’t necessarily buy $75 cleansers. Not every door makes sense for every partner — we try to identify what are the doors, and then we grow into them.”

Internationally, the business has been growing with retailers like Le Bon Marché, Printemps, Space NK in the U.K. and independent boutiques. Tata Harper rarely uses distributors and instead has hired a team for Europe.

“I don’t feel in any rush to make moves I don’t feel that we’re ready for,” Harper said. “I am right now at the moment of figuring out how we’re going to do Asia…2018 is going to be a lot of figuring that out.…China is out of the question. It’s more about [South] Korea and Japan first.”

Tata Harper is backed by Alliance Consumer Growth Partners, which invested in the business in 2015.