PARIS — Oh My Cream, the French clean beauty retailer and product line, has made its first acquisition: French supplements brand Combeau, created to care for skin from the inside out.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“Our vision of beauty has evolved toward something more holistic,” explained Juliette Lévy, who founded Oh My Cream, which began selling niche skin care brands, such as Dermalogica, Ren, Grown and Tata Harper, in 2012. “We strongly believe that supplements are super dynamic and important.”
Lévy described Combeau as having the “most expert, innovative formula there is on the market.”
“It became a reference in just a few months,” she said, of the brand launched in 2020. “Everybody was talking about it.
“So we thought, this is the right way for Oh My Cream to integrate this expertise, knowledge and ecosystem of great partners — labs, manufacturers, ingredients and producers,” Lévy continued. “It was for us the best way to accelerate on this Beauty Features.”
For Combeau, the deal will allow for growth within and outside of Oh My Cream’s retail network — which today counts 26 stores in Europe, of which 12 are in Paris, and an e-commerce site — alongside the chain’s private-label skin care brand, with about 30 stock keeping units, launched six years ago.
A ramping up of the rhythm of Combeau’s product launches is also planned.
Combeau was founded by Erika Fogeiro, whose aims to combine biotechnology-created formulations with natural ingredients in the supplements.
When she began working on the brand, Fogeiro realized the supplements industry has issues with formula quality. She aimed to revise the client experience, through branding, to help people reconnect with health and wellbeing in the beauty realm.
“The next thing was really to focus on the formula and innovative new ecosystem we would put in place to reinvent and propose very efficient supplements to our consumers,” Fogeiro said.
She homed in on ingredient sourcing, for instance.
“It was really important to build partnerships with biotech start-ups,” and to search for clinically tested ingredients, explained Fogeiro, who has been building a team around her including scientists, doctors, naturopaths, biotechnologists and biochemists.
Best-in-class ingredients needed to be combined in one formula, she said.
Combeau uses new technologies to develop supplements sustainably. The brand’s responsible dimension includes ethical and transparent ingredient and packaging sourcing, and communication.
“We only launch a product when we know it’s something new to the market and something better [than what’s there],” Fogeiro said.
Combeau’s first product, L’Essential Peau, or Skin Essential, includes seven active ingredients mixed to target skin radiance, signs of aging and imperfections. A one-month “cure” goes for 59 euros.
“It was really important for me to address skin’s specific concerns, because skin is the link between the outside and inside,” Fogeiro said. “It was really a way to embody our vision and the connection of beauty and health.”
Combeau debuted on its own e-commerce platform, Combeau.co, then rolled out at Selfridges in the U.K. and Oh My Cream. That is how Lévy and Fogeiro met.
Next up for Combeau will be a supplement for hair care, slated for September.
“We are working on collagen, as well,” Fogeiro said. “But we are trying to do something different, so it takes a lot of investment.”
Oh My Cream’s skin care brand launched supplements and beauty tools almost two years ago, and those now account for 15 percent of its sales.
The private label used to represent 15 percent of Oh My Cream’s overall business, but now it’s more than 20 percent — and growing. That’s thanks in part to category expansion; over the past two years, the brand also launched into body care, sun care, makeup and a line for men.
“The makeup is incredibly successful,” said Lévy, who explained will focus on selling Oh My Cream’s products, especially skin care, outside of the brand’s own retail channel starting in 2024.
The Oh My Cream business keeps developing strongly. Since its launch, it has registered between 50 percent and 100 percent on-year sales growth annually, save for during the coronavirus pandemic, when it was around 30 percent.
Lévy would not discuss sales figures, but in 2019, when Experienced Capital acquired a 41 percent stake in Oh My Cream, the company was expected to post sales of 13 million euros.
During lockdowns, the retailer temporarily shut down approximately 20 stores, but then, its online business boomed.
Subsequently, it’s now the inverse, and the brick-and-mortar business keeps expanding.
“People are massively going back to stores,” said Lévy, adding physical retail now makes about 65 percent of the business, versus approximately 40 percent pre-COVID-19.
Following almost a decade of developing in France, she felt her company was strong enough to grow abroad, and at the end of 2022 Oh My Cream opened two stores in London. And earlier this year, it debuted its first location in Brussels.
“The stores have had great performances since they launched, and we have amazing feedback from customers,” said Lévy, explaining Oh My Cream aims to offer a modern, holistic approach to beauty, with expert advice.
More stores openings should take place in the U.K., following Oh My Cream’s strategy in France. The next locations may be in Hampstead and on Marylebone High Street, by year-end.
“Our strategy was to be the alternative beauty destination,” Lévy said. “It takes time and a lot of stores.”
An ultimate goal is to have 10 to 15 locations in London before Oh My Cream launches into new geographic markets.