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SuperOrdinary Acquires Celebrity Esthetician Brand Joanna Vargas

March 18, 2022
March 18, 2022
Joanna Vargas

SuperOrdinary has taken a controlling stake in the Joanna Vargas product business, marking its first majority stake investment. 

WHO: Joanna Vargas opened her first spa in New York in 2006, launching the skincare brand in 2011. Vargas is a recognized skincare expert known for her commitment to plant-based ingredients and her passion for science. Joanna's nature-meets-technology approach has made her one of the most sought-out estheticians and experts in the beauty industry today. Joanna's results-driven treatments and products are notorious for being a favorite among celebrities and editors. Her noninvasive techniques, paired with her natural and effective products, result in healthy, glowing skin.

SuperOrdinary was started by Julian Reis, an industry veteran and co-founder of Skin Laundry in 2018, as a laboratory to grow the next generation of innovative consumer brands in China and on Amazon in the US. The fast-growing brand management and distribution company is working with best-in-class global beauty brands to establish and scale their businesses. As an investor, SuperOrdinary is patient capital agnostic in terms of the investment cycle, writing checks from $100K to $50MM taking either a minority or controlling interest. The business is implementing an M&A strategy of incubating, investing in, and acquiring brands to optimize marketing, infrastructure, and scale on a global level, laying the foundation to become the beauty industry's most powerful conglomerate.

WHY: This partnership will allow Joanna Vargas to broaden its geographic reach across North America, China, and Southeast Asia, utilizing SuperOrdinary's global capabilities including: local expertise, Amazon capabilities, supply chain management, data management and reporting, new product development and innovations, and finally, cross-border and on-short distribution in China.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: "During the pandemic, my husband Cesar and I had a lot of downtime to discuss our goals and future of the brand," Vargas tells Vogue Business. "When we met with SuperOrdinary, we instantly felt we had met the perfect partner. They are experienced and accomplished, but what most impressed us was that they understood our vision of our brand."

Julian Reis, founder and CEO of SuperOrdinary, said. "We have long admired Joanna Vargas as a premium, science-backed and esthetician-founded skincare brand with highly effective and thoughtfully formulated products. Joanna's science meets nature product approach, combined with her unparalleled expertise in skincare is something that really sets this brand apart from others, and we are excited to bring the brand and products to consumers all across the globe. Phase I of this partnership is really focused on further strengthening the brand foundation in the domestic market, focusing on marketing and new product development so we are poised for a successful launch in China and SouthEast Asia soon."

SuperOrdinary is also keeping an eye out for other investment and acquisition targets priced at about $25 million and under. "Valuations still tend to be very frothy but we look for opportunities where we can add real value," Reis told Vogue Business. He prefers brands that have been operating for at least 10 years. "Brands that have demonstrated the ability to stand on their own feet for a period of time gives you more comfort as an investor. That also plays well with customers in the Asian region, who appreciate founders that have been doing it for a while."

TRIBE DYNAMICS EMV: While Joanna Vargas Skin Care saw QoQ declines among its creator community (-19%) and post volume (-15%), a whopping 122% QoQ increase in the brand’s EMV per influencer helped secure a successful quarter. Much of this boom in potency stemmed from incoming creators, who were responsible for $1.4MM EMV, or 91%, of the brand’s $1.6MM total. Ranking at no. 1 among all these generative newcomers was actress Ariana DeBose, who tagged Joanna VargasSkin Care in posts chronicling her win at the recent Academy Awards DeBose inspired $394.8K EMV across 16 mentions, with her total outranking the brand’s next-highest earner by nearly $200K. Thanks in large part to DeBose’s passionate activity, Joanna Vargas Skin Care closed Q1 with an 80% QoQ EMV growth.

DETAILS: 

  • SuperOrdinary increased their stake to 51% in the Joanna Vargas skincare product business after making a minority investment in 2021. 
  • The business has been self-funded to date. The Joanna Vargas spa business was not part of the transaction and remains owned by Vargas.
  • Vogue Business reported the Joanna Vargas business is doubling sales year-on-year, and SuperOrdinary also doubled sales in 2021, topping $180 million.
  • Since signing on with SuperOrdinary for Amazon management, Joanna Vargas' Amazon sales have grown 186% YoY, and all unauthorized resellers removed. 
  • SuperOrdinary has implemented new hires across all company departments, most notably bringing on John Osterholt as the General Manager of the brand. The Joanna Vargas team will continue to work closely with SuperOrdinary's executive team on implementing global growth strategies.
  • Phase I of the partnership is really focused on further strengthening the brand foundation in the domestic market, focusing on marketing and NPD so they are poised for a successful launch in China and SE Asia at the end of 2022 / early 2023.
  • SuperOrdinary backed Good Light and Violette_FR, and made a $25 million investment in CREA, an omnichannel brand partner in Southeast Asia, in 2021. They also launched its first-ever incubator brand Lula and expanded into the United States through Amazon.
  • In January 2021, Alliance Consumer Growth made a minority investment in SuperOrdinary.
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