Château one day, skin care the next. Famille C Venture, the private investment firm of the Courtin-Clarins family, has made a $9 million Series B investment in Pai Skincare.
The brand’s founder and chief executive officer, Sarah Brown, still holds the majority stake in the business. She plans to use the infusion to scale up the business, particularly in its three core markets: the U.K., France and the U.S., and is not planning any expansions at the moment. “We’re in 1,200 doors and over 30 countries,” Brown said. “There’s no ambition in the next year to enter new markets. We have plenty of work to do where we are. This is about future-proofing our business and future-proofing our vertical integration model.”
The direct-to-consumer channel makes up 35 percent of Pai’s business, and Brown plans to double down on digital. “It’s definitely growing, and that could be a chunk of the investment we’ll be looking at. For example, how do we look at overall customer experience? We’ve got some fun plans for the d-to-c space,” she said.
Brown founded Pai Skincare in 2007. The brand is certified organic, vegan and cruelty free. “We’ve been beating this drum for a long time. We really want to cement our expertise and authority in the organic category,” she said.
The brand has championed supply chain visibility, which has only become more expensive to keep up with as product demand rises. Brown said the funding will go to “expanding operations. We currently occupy 12,000 square feet in our headquarters in London, and everything’s currently in one place. Now, we’re looking to move the manufacturing lab to a 37,000-square-foot new facility. We can grow capacity by 900 percent.”
The Courtin-Clarins family, which founded and owns beauty giant Groupe Clarins, will be a valuable resource to Pai as well, Brown said.
“We hope to get huge counsel [from the family], particularly on this operational piece, and on how we continue to scale up, and how we bring efficiencies — particularly from a sustainability point of view. There’s all sorts of things you can do, to produce more sustainably and efficiently,” Brown said.
Pai Skincare rebranded last year, and sustainability was the brand’s top priority in the line’s repackaging, including PCR- and bio-sourced plastics. “There’s now even more development there. So we’re looking at upgrading the bioplastic piece to take it one step further,” Brown said.
The Courtin-Clarins family has been diversifying its assets. Last week, the Courtin-Clarins family acquired Château Beauséjour for 75 million euros. It includes a vineyard, which features Class B status Saint-Émilion Premier Grand Cru.
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