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EXCLUSIVE: San Francisco Equity Partners Acquires Jane Iredale Brand

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Jane Iredale was an early pioneer of natural makeup, which is increasingly attracting investor interest.

San Francisco Equity Partners has acquired a majority stake in natural makeup brand Jane Iredale.

Jane Iredale, the eponymous line founded by British-born Iredale in 1994, uses minerals, botanicals and other natural ingredients for its skin-care-focused makeup line. The brand’s products do not contain synthetic preservatives, and are sold in the professional and retail channels, including Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom. Industry sources estimate the brand has about $70 million in net sales and is growing — largely due to e-commerce operations.

“We have a lot of expertise in the professional market, which is still our bedrock of business, and we’re learning about e-commerce…but there’s always more to learn. It’s such an evolving, dynamic field that the more expertise we can bring into it, the better,” Iredale said. She will stay on with the business, but is hoping to spend less time with Excel spreadsheets and more time on product development and with customers now that San Francisco Equity Partners is on board, she said.

“We’re big believers in the clean beauty and natural trend,” said Scott Potter, managing partner at SFEP. “We see all the numbers and where the market’s going there, and Jane has been doing this for 25 years in an extremely authentic way that can’t be faked.”

SFEP is planning to bring more consumers into the brand, deepen connections with professional partners and continue building on e-commerce growth, Potter said. “On the channel side, [there is] a long history with the professional channel — we’ve spent a lot of time understanding that and hearing from the channel and our partners, so we want to learn further into giving them what they need to continue to grow their businesses,” Potter said.

The Sage Group advised Jane Iredale on the deal.

In recent years, Iredale built up her product lineup to include more ingestible products, which she said continue to sell well. Two supplement launches are slated for 2019 — one probiotic, and one called “The Ultimate,” she said. “It really deals with skin, hair and nails.”

The brand just released BeautyPrep Hyaluronic Serum, $52, with a pre-sale option on its own web site and Amazon Luxury Beauty, which helped drive sales, according to Iredale. “We were one of the first brands to go on Amazon Luxury Beauty,” she said. “They guaranteed they’d take off all the gray market sellers that were discounting our brand, and they did.”

SFEP’s Jane Iredale investment comes during a time of increased investor and consumer interest in natural and clean products. In December, Silas Capital invested in Ilia, another clean makeup brand. According to the NPD Group, in mid-2018, natural skin-care products became the biggest category in skin care, and natural makeup and fragrances were both selling well.

Andrew Charbin, director at the Sage Group, noted that investors are paying more attention to clean beauty because it’s an area of consumer interest. “There’s a lot of interest, a rising level of interest in the clean beauty space,” Charbin said. “There are many small cap, early-stage brands making a name for themselves out there. Jane has a 25-year history and was a pioneer of the clean beauty sector, ahead of the curve, and throughout this process almost all entities who looked at this opportunity and assessed it, if there was one universal comment, it was positive praise for the high-quality product line.”