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Published February 26, 2020
Published February 26, 2020
W3LL People

e.l.f. Beauty has made its first acquisition, snapping up clean beauty brand W3LL People for $27 million.

WHO: W3LL People was launched in 2008 by James Walker, Shirley Pinkson, and Dr. Renee Snyder to provide high-quality, clean cosmetics. The company is cruelty-free, and its plant-based product-line—which contains no fillers, propylene glycol, petrochemicals, or petroleum byproducts—includes 40 EWG-verified products. The brand bridges natural and luxury beauty boutiques, including Credo Beauty, The Detox Market, and Pharmaca, as well as top national retailers including Target and Whole Foods Market, proving that prestige beauty and wellness are not mutually exclusive. W3LL People also has two brick-and-mortar retail studios in Austin, offering the full collection of W3LL People products, as well as a curated selection of the best in natural beauty across skin, hair, and body care products.

Since 2004, e.l.f. has made the best of beauty accessible to every eye, lip, and face. They make high-quality, prestige-inspired cosmetics and skincare products at an extraordinary value and are proud to be 100% vegan and cruelty-free. As one of the first online beauty brands, e.l.f. has a passionate social following, national distribution at leading retailers such as Target, Walmart, and Ulta Beauty, and a growing international presence.

WHY: Buying W3LL People marks e.l.f.’s first serious move into the clean beauty space. The plan is to learn from the W3LL People team and further incorporate clean beauty formulations into the e.l.f. product assortment.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: “We are pleased to bring clean beauty pioneer W3LL People under the e.l.f. Beauty umbrella as our first strategic extension. Clean beauty is a strategically important segment given consumer sentiment and strong growth rates. W3LL People has a long history of expertise and credibility in clean beauty that works. Their brand values and market opportunity align closely with e.l.f. and we believe there are a number of synergies to be realized on both the cost and distribution fronts,” said Tarang Amin, e.l.f. Beauty Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

“We have been transparent about our desire to pursue strategic extensions that can leverage our strengths and bring new capabilities to e.l.f., and we have been disciplined in this process,” said Amin. “W3LL People is rooted in a deep and passionate understanding of clean beauty and shares our mission of making the best of beauty accessible. We believe that W3LL People’s twelve years of clean beauty experience and high-quality product line, in combination with e.l.f.’s multiple strengths from operations to marketing, will be attractive to our retail partners—including Target, our longest-standing customer.”

“W3LL People has a remarkable history of breaking beauty boundaries, and the acquisition by e.l.f. is an incredible milestone in our effort to make clean beauty accessible,” said James Walker, co-founder of W3LL People. “We feel tremendously grateful for our brand’s success and the extraordinary team that helped build it.”


  • e.l.f. is paying $27 million in cash to take over the business, which is expected to do $7 million in net sales for 2020.
  • The deal is expected to add 1 cent to e.l.f.’s adjusted earnings per share for fiscal 2021.
  • All three founders are staying on board; the company would not comment if there are existing redundancies within W3ll People’s 30-plus team.
  • In 2018, W3LL People received a minority investment from NextWorld Evergreen, which also backs Credo.
  • e.l.f went public with an IPO in September of 2016.
  • William Hood & Company, LLC advised W3LL People on the deal. e.l.f. did not use an adviser.

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