Beauty Business News April 2023
Let’s kick off with the happy news that a judge has dismissed the silliest ever class action for L’Oreal . Let’s go back to last year when a plaintiff claimed that having ‘Paris’ on L’Oreal Paris products implied that everything was made in Paris rather than elsewhere and the use of French language in product titles were tricking an innocent consumer base into thinking their anti-aging serums had come straight from France.
The judge decided that a mere reference to Paris wasn’t enough to deceive customers regarding where a product was made. Now we can just all get on with our lives without being befuddled by the words ‘rouge’ or ‘teint’.
Speaking of L’Oreal – they’ve just paid a whopping $2.5 billion for posh wash brand Aesop, which was founded 36 years ago. Natura (who bought The Body Shop in 2017) bought Aesop fully in 2016 and it became their highest revenue maker. So, this feels like a strange move – L’Oreal is apparently prepared to help Aesop make ground in China – and one which can only be to reduce debt. There were rumours around that perhaps they’d offload The Body Shop, so my own wonderings include whether there were no credible buyers for it so Aesop was the default sale. At the same time, Natura is apparently cutting executive pay by 32% to ‘increase investor trust’. Pay cuts like this are very rare and leave Natura in the precarious position of losing staff who know and care about their brands. Actually, I have questions – everyone is replaceable but in such numbers? Not everyone can do any job, even if they are cheaper.
Cerberus Capital Management and Jefferies Finance LLC have bought Forma Brands. To recap, Morphe Beauty became Forma Brands in order to become an incubator for upcoming brands in 2020. But, by January of this year, shut all their stores in the US and pulled out of UK stores. Their fondness for collaborating with high profile influences backfired for them as some of their chosen influencers – Jeffree Starr, for one – brought a whole heap of bad attitude trouble. Forma brands comprises Morphe, Jaclyn Cosmetics, Lipstick Queen (someone else needs to take this on and do it the justice it deserves including bringing back Poppy King), Bad Habit and Playa Beauty. They paid $690 million for it.
Ever heard of Bio.Teen Cosmetics? Because Poland clearly wishes it hadn’t. Rossman stores (one of the biggest European drug store chains) has had to remove Bio.Teen from it’s shelves in Poland because of the number of complaints about the product names. I mean, I see their point – I Like It Rough Clean, MILF Switch Off The Light and Make Me Wet (all cleansers and toners) is kind of near the mark. Let’s not tell them about NARS Orgasm or e.l.f O Face. Shh.
Gallinee Skin Care (bought by Shiseido last year) has created a kind of PCR for skin to detect your biome levels. According to Wiki, a PRC, or polymerase chain reaction is a method widely used to rapidly make millions to billions of copies of a specific DNA sample, allowing scientists to take a very small sample of DNA and amplify it to a large enough amount to study in detail. Gallinee describes it as ‘measuring the microbes that live on your skin and assessing the skin’s ecosystem to provide you with an in-depth report and skincare recommendations’. Intrigued and bored at the same time. Intrigued because it’s the first time I’ve ever heard of this exact test and bored because it’s more of the same knock you down to sell you up – just with a sticker this time – like ‘skin analysers’ that never tell you anything good.
A brand I saw at CEW is one to look out for. Le Rouge Francais started in 2018 and was quickly scooped up by OBRATORI, L’Occitane’s start-up studio which now has a minority stake in Le Rouge Francais. The brand was started by Elodie Carpentier and Salem Ghezaili to develop a natural pigment make up line using plant pigments. It’s exciting I think despite the fact they’ve ignored my emails! I can’t see why they were present at CEW if they’re not planning to launch here. Actually, OBRATORI has some very cool brands – Leo et Violette, a start up leather goods brand, Lolo Paris, a lingerie brand and Ma Blouse Blanche which I had very much hoped would be selling white blouses (being a fan of) but it’s actually a medical appointment app.
Revolution Beauty’s audit results were due to be filed last month after the brand was accused of inflating sales by £9 million and giving undisclosed loans. It now looks like this month is the new deadline for them to file. However, it looks as though the company has received new financing to the tune of £32m which will allow it to continue delivering, er, whatever it was going to deliver before trouble struck.
Good news for Philosophy fans – it’s back! Their first re-vamped product is Dose of Wisdom. I think it’s just USA for now but there is plenty more to roll out from Coty, owners of Philosophy so hopefully we will see it sooner rather than later.
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