January 2017

Originally posted on WWD

L Catterton and a handful of celebrities, including Karlie Kloss, have teamed up to invest in coconut oil brand Kopari Beauty.

The San Diego-based brainchild of cofounders Bryce and Gigi Goldman, Kiana Cabell and James Brennan, Kopari launched online only in 2015, followed by a sephora.com launch last October and recent QVC debut. The company’s products include Coconut Sheer Oil, $44; Coconut Body Glow, $42; Organic Coconut Melt, $38; Coconut Balm, $32; Coconut Crush Scrub, $28; Coconut Misting Body Oil, $34; Coconut Body Milk, $30; Coconut Cleansing Oil, $32; Coconut Rose Toner, $24; Coconut Face Cream, $38, and Coconut Lip Love, $10.

“The capital really will drive more of the awareness building,” said Michael Farello, managing partner at L Catterton, which has invested in beauty companies CoverFX, Bliss, Clio Professional, Dr. Wu, Ideal Image, Intercos Group and StriVectin.

The L Catterton and celebrity money (Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis, Hilary Duff and Shay Mitchell are also investing) should also help Kopari expand in terms of geographies and products — right now, the vast majority of Kopari’s sales come from its own e-commerce operations. Kopari and L Catterton were both mum on the details of the minority investment and sales figures, but industry sources estimated the brand had about $5 million in sales for 2016.

“We’re looking to increase sales over [the year] by at least three or four times, and not only the capital they brought to the table, but the other resources and support that they bring is going to help us get there,” said Bryce Goldman, Kopari’s chief executive officer. The celebrities mainly came into play through Brennan, a restaurateur who also founded Suja Juice, which counts Leonardo DiCaprio as an investor, he said. “Having them as investors and actually writing checks into the company really sets the stage for…some way to work together down the line in a very authentic fashion,” Brennan said.

Immediately down the line is Kopari’s launch in 340 Sephora U.S. doors, where the brand’s Organic Coconut Melt and Coconut Body Glow are set to launch as part of the Scouted by Sephora program, which features niche beauty brands. Coconut Melt is the company’s bestseller, while Body Glow and Sheer Oil are tied for second place, according to the brand.

“They’ve got an increased focus on indie brands, and they realize a lot of their customers and people, in general, are interested in these up-and-coming brands and discovering those brands, with a focus on natural, so we fit both of those boxes,” said Gigi Goldman. Kopari exceeded initial expectations on sephora.com, she added, noting that it also did well during its four airings on QVC. International shipping direct from the Kopari site launched about six weeks ago, and the business works with Sephora Canada and is in discussions with Sephora Europe.

Kopari's product lineup is made with coconut oil from the Philippines and without toxins.

Kopari’s product lineup is made with coconut oil from the Philippines and without toxins.

Kopari’s niche positioning — the brand makes natural products with coconut oil sourced from the Philippines, without sulfates, silicones, parabens, GMOs or toxins — is one of the things that drew in L Catterton.

“Kopari came up on our list early as one of the dozen or so brands that we’re tracking and watching,” said Farello. “It’s natural and efficacious and we look for that combination and see both of those trends as ones that will continue to endure for the next five-plus years.”

On the product side, Kopari’s focus right now is on driving sales of the skin-care range that launched in January — the cleansing oil, toner, cream and lip balm — but the ingredient stories of future products may veer beyond just the coconut, the founders said.

“We are looking at other components and ingredients as well,” said Brennan. “Things that enhance the benefits of coconut oil are very important to us as well,” Cabell added.

Kopari is the latest digitally native beauty business to attract investor capital. Recently, skin-care and makeup brand Glossier raised a $24 million Series B venture capital round from IVP and Index Ventures. Other Internet-savvy brands like Too Faced, Becca Cosmetics and NYX have attracted Estée Lauder and L’Oréal as buyers. For the big beauty players, betting on digitally fluent brands brings know-how and growth in house; for private equity firms that watch the size and multiples on big beauty exits, investments provide the chance to reap those returns.

*The Giannuzzi Group acted as legal counsel to Kopari.