Boston-based private equity firm Advent International has coined the name Orveon as the moniker of a new beauty company, whose stable includes three iconic brands purchased from Shiseido – bareMinerals, Laura Mercier and Buxom. Orveon, was announced yesterday upon the closing of the Shiseido deal, which was originally made public in August.
This purchase follows Advent’s acquisition of prestige hair-care brand Olaplex in January 2020. Olaplex went public on Nasdaq
Orveon will ultimately acquire additional brands and wants to be known as “the future of the face,” said Tricia Glynn, Advent International managing director, adding that skin care, treatment and wellness products will also figure prominently in terms of potential acquisitions.
“We’re quite serious about this opportunity to be the future of the face and to own face care. Color cosmetics is a component of that, but it’s not all of that,” Glynn told me. “That will come to light even more so over time as you see how our brand comes forward, but the goal is beyond color cosmetics.
“I think of beauty and wellness as a continuum,” Glynn added. “Our customers are allowing themselves to take care of themselves. The wellness market has been growing for a very long period of time. We have a very strong conviction that color will come back at strength, that skin care will continue to be strong and that wellness will continue to come into this category in other ways and we want this business to [encompass] all of those.”
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For the near term, however, Glynn said Orveon will focus on bareMinerals, Laura Mercier and Buxom, and creating a culture for the standalone collective of premium and prestige beauty brands.
The official closing marks the start of a new path forward for the acquired businesses and their employees to join the ecosystem of the newly-created Orveon, and accelerating the growth of three brands is paramount. Upon closing the deal yesterday, employees of bareMinerals, Laura Mercier and Buxom, as well as about 350 staffers in corporate support functions, moved from Shiseido to the newly formed Orveon.
“We want to make sure the culture of this business is set in stone and that we’re making sure these brands are fully supported and we’ve done our job transitioning these brands from Shiseido,” Glynn said.
“At the end of the day, in a growth business, we’ve got to be thinking about where the market is going to be five or ten years from now, and that’s one of the huge opportunities I see for Orveon to scale investment and be a concentration of talent and excellence and phenomenal brands. The opportunity to invest right now for the future is what’s really gotten us so excited,” Glynn added.
Pascal Houdayer, who has a resume with more than 30 years of beauty industry and management experience, will serve as CEO of Orveon, leaning into the idea of beauty being more than skin deep and focusing on helping consumers move from looking beautiful to feeling great.
“With Orveon, we are embarking on a journey to bring the world a new type of beauty company defined by solidarity, stark honesty and benevolent activism,” said Houdayer. “We intend to unite these powerhouse brands and move to an era of innovative evolution, that will break down category barriers and societal conventions to form a sustainable face care expert. I feel honored to be a part of a team creating a space in which the industry and consumers can be advocates for change for the better.”
Visionary founders and owners of the three brands built a solid foundation of products and strong customer support and demand. Orveon aims to bring additional innovation that both embraces the brands’ DNA while continuing to push formulations towards enhancing and improving skin health and overall wellness, and enabling beauty built on a foundation of health.
“We have an opportunity to set up a business Day One, that has modern capabilities and gets to start fresh,” Glynn said. “That will be an e-commerce infrastructure, and digital and data insights that will [inform] product innovation. The formulas of these businesses, of these brands are beautiful, but bringing new product innovation to delight these customers – the customers that have been loyal for so long – and getting them to market and getting insights for our customers so much faster, is what we’re working hard on now.”
With just three brands in the stable for the near term, Orveon will be able to lavish careful attention on bareMinerals, Laura Mercier and Buxom. It’s an advantage for Orveon, Glynn said, that larger companies don’t always have.
“Having focus is tremendously powerful,” she added. “A culture of employees who are focused on just these three brands is important. It’s a lot more focus than the average beauty company is able to bring. That, in and of itself – just the focus in mind share – is incredibly powerful. In the longer term, we’d absolutely love to add brands to the family.”
Glynn said the Covid-19 pandemic reshaped the way consumers think about beauty and create new regimens. “There’s new consumer patterns and consumer routines being set,” she said. “It’s actually a really interesting time to invest in these brands now to help them access and get in front of customers when people are setting new routines.”
Since the pandemic changed demand for beauty – at the height of the crisis and masking mandates, consumers pulled back and many cosmetics companies reported losses for the first quarter of 2021. Several beauty companies, including Estee Lauder, reported outstanding results in the second quarter, when pandemic restrictions eased, and Ulta reported record metrics.
Asked whether beauty as a category is volatile, as the Omicron variant rears its head, Glynn said, “It’s hard to say we’re not living in volatile times, but the original idea for this opportunity and the excitement around this opportunity came during the pandemic. I’m a huge believer and a bull of the long term. Like every other industry, we’re going to need to breath deep and think strategically and invest in the long term for the next couple of years.”