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Clean Makeup Pioneer Ilia Acquired by Courtin-Clarins Family

Published February 2, 2022
Published February 2, 2022

The Courtin-Clarins family holding company, Famille C, which also owns the Clarins brand, is acquiring Ilia Beauty.

WHO: Ilia was founded in 2011 by Sasha Plavsic and her brother, Zachary, who developed a line of clean makeup products. Ilia offers a "full face" assortment of more than 100 distinct high-performance products crafted with certified organic ingredients and nontoxic synthetics. The brand strives to ensure its products are manufactured ethically and sustainably, including the use of recycled aluminum and post-consumer recycled paper printed with vegetable-based dyes. Its unique combination of brilliant pigments, superior performance, and nourishing organics has earned Ilia a leading position in this fast-growing category.

Famille C is the Courtin-Clarins family holding company. The holding has various activities: a venture branch that takes minority stakes in beauty brands and digital tools; a classical financial investment activity that has, for instance, put funds into French unicorn Mirakl Marketplace, a marketplace platform; a heritage-related division, which invests in French art de vivre, and the mergers-and-acquisitions part.

WHY: The deal positions the Clarins portfolio as pioneer and leader in the clean makeup category expected to continue significant growth.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: Commenting on the acquisition she spearheaded, Prisca Courtin-Clarins, Deputy CEO of Famille C, explained, “This brand is incredibly relevant and has huge potential. This operation demonstrates Famille C’s determination to identify and support great ideas and devoted teams who are innovating to keep the beauty industry moving forward. From a strategic point of view, the acquisition is in line with our goal of supporting exceptional brands that share our values and vision, and it will strengthen our foothold in the U.S. Today, we are very eager to contribute to this new adventure alongside Ilia founder Sasha Plavsic, and its CEO, Lynda Berkowitz.”

Ilia founder, Sasha Plavsic, affirmed,  “When I started Ilia, there was a curiosity to make products more skin and planet friendly. After a decade of deep exploration in these areas, I am thrilled to partner with a global family powerhouse whose mission clearly states, 'Passing on a more beautiful planet.' Both Ilia, Famille C and Clarins share similar values that includes creating exceptional products coupled with an awareness around driving sustainability. The ability to collaborate and strive towards the same goals, brings more meaning to what the Ilia team can do as we take this next exciting step forward together.”

Jonathan Zrihen, President and CEO of Clarins, praised the strategic move as “in line with the ambitions of the Courtin-Clarins family: remaining on the cutting-edge to develop sustainable beauty for tomorrow. Ilia is an amazing brand managed by a great team, I am truly convinced that this operation will enable Ilia to benefit from both Famille C and Clarins expertise to further accelerate and conquer new territories

TRIBE DYNAMICS EMV: Ilia pulled in $16.1MM EMV in Q1, a 15% quarter-over-quarter uptick. The consumer-favorite clean makeup company earned mentions from2.8K creators, marking a modest but impactful 8% QoQ community expansion. Throughout the quarter, the brand enjoyed momentum for several of its popular skin-focused makeup products, including theSuper Serum Skin Tint SPF 40 and the True Skin Serum Foundation, which garnered a respective $1.3MM and $834.1K EMV, up from$814.6K and $209.0K the previous quarter. Product retailer Sephora(@sephora on Instagram) proved key in sparking digital interest in these offerings, driving $489.1K EMV across 44 posts as Ilia’s top Q1earner, an improvement upon its $139.8K via 13 mentions last quarter.Creators typically tagged Ilia in organic makeup tutorials and outfit posts.


  • The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
  • Famille C will own the majority share of the brand, while Clarins will hold a minority stake, as will Plavsic and Lynda Berkowitz, the brand's CEO.
  • The brand tripled sales from $30 million in 2019 to $100 million in 2021, with half of the revenue coming from DTC and a few hundred points of distribution, including Sephora, Credo, Space NK, and Mecca.
  • Ilia is profitable, and Clarins expects to triple the brand's value by 2025.
  • 70% of Ilia customers repurchase within 12 months.
  • Ilia's hero product is the Super Serum Skin Tint, which has sold more than 1 million units since it launched in 2019.
  • Ilia will maintain autonomy while being supported by Clarins. Plavsic and Berkowitz will remain at Ilia, along with their senior leadership team.
  • In January 2020, Ilia raised a Series B from Sandbridge Capital to fuel growth with participation by Silas Capital.
  • Silas Capital, a New York-based emerging growth equity firm, led the brand's 2018 Series A.
  • In April 2021, Pai skincare raised a Series B investment round of $9 million from Famille C Venture.
  • Financo Raymond James was Famille C's financial advisor and Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP and Villey-Girard-Grolleaud acted as its legal counsel.
  • Ilia's financial advice came from Goldman Sachs, while Sidley Austin LLP and Sideman & Bancroft LLP were the brand's legal counsel.

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