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March 1, 2018
March 1, 2018
J.R. Watkins

Swander Pace Capital moves into the personal care category with the acquisition of J.R. Watkins from Watkins Inc. According to WWD, industry sources said after a growth plan is enacted, the brand could grow to do more than $100 million in sales.

WHO: With 150 years of authentic apothecary heritage, J.R. Watkins offers a broad range of natural personal and home care products sold to leading retailers nationwide. Established in 1868, J.R. Watkins began as an apothecary and supplier of personal care goods. Today, it is a globally recognized brand across a variety of household and personal care product categories. The company maintains a strong distribution network consisting of well-known distributors and retailers, as well as a growing online and Amazon presence.

Swander Pace Capital is a private equity firm that invests in companies that are integral to consumers’ lives. SPC’s consumer industry expertise informs the firm’s strategic approach and adds value through access to its proven SPC Playbook, senior team, and extensive network. The firm partners with management teams to help build companies to their full potential. SPC invests in businesses across three domains of consumer lifestyles: Food & Beverage, Body & Wellness, and Home & Family. The firm has invested in other beauty and personal care companies, including Glo Skin Beauty and Gilchrist & Soames.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: “We are looking forward to building on the legacy of J.R. Watkins to increase its share of the household and personal care category,” said Heather Smith Thorne, managing director at Swander Pace Capital. “J.R. Watkins has always stood for a superior range of products, high caliber of customer service, and extremely loyal customer base. These are tremendous assets for any consumer-facing business and are major reasons we are excited about partnering with this team and brand.”

“We are thrilled to be working with such an experienced and knowledgeable partner in Swander Pace,” said Mark Jacobs, CEO of Watkins, Inc. “Time and again, they have nurtured authentic brands with high-quality products in the natural products space, helping them become leaders in their categories.” He added, “Swander Pace is known for helping companies grow revenues, improve profitability and unlock value, and we look forward to working with their team to ensure J.R. Watkins is well-positioned for long-term success.”

“Amid changing customer tastes, J.R. Watkins is in a unique position to increase its market share in the natural home, bath and body care business,” said Mark Poff, managing director at Swander Pace Capital. “We are confident that the investment will put the company in the best possible position to expand upon its already-successful legacy.”


  • No financial terms were disclosed.
  • As part of its investment, Swander Pace will provide the resources and financial backing to carve out the J.R. Watkins Personal Care & Household product offering from Watkins, Inc. into a separate company.
  • Mark Jacobs, CEO of Watkins, Inc., will continue his involvement with J.R. Watkins as vice chairman of the newly formed J.R. Watkins company.
  • Swander Pace plans include building the company’s management team, expanding distribution, and increasing marketing spend.
  • According to WWD, industry sources said after a growth plan is enacted, the brand could grow to do more than $100 million in sales.
  • BMO Capital Markets advised Watkins, Inc. on the transaction.

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