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Published February 26, 2021
Published February 26, 2021

Ben Bennett’s The Center acquires digital-first clean beauty brand Phlur, adding to its stable of brands.

WHO: Phlur was launched by husband-and-wife team Eric and Cynthia Korman out of Austin, Texas, in 2014. The brand is a digital-first fragrance company that reimagines how customers buy, wear, and learn about scent. A Certified B Corp, Phlur provides transparency into its ingredients and processes, using an intentional balance of materials derived from botany and from the lab to create stunning scents that are safer for skin, and safer for the planet. Phlur offers customers fine fragrances, body care, and candles, and recently launched a line of natural deodorants under the brand Explore Naturals. The brand is available at Credo, Sephora, and direct-to-consumer.

The Center was started by industry veteran Ben Bennett as an incubator and investor following his exit from HatchBeauty in April of 2019. Along with Phlur, The Center’s portfolio currently includes brands Naturium, Make Beauty, and an up-and-coming addition Bennett has yet to disclose.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: “The former owners of Phlur did a phenomenal job at building awareness and were really pioneers in the concept of transparency in fragrance,” Ben Bennett, founder of the Center, told WWD.

“Phlur was really one of the first brands to say, you know, ‘We understand that this essentially gives other perfumers the recipe to re-create our fragrances, but we’re OK with that. We think it’s more important to fully disclose every ingredient in our products including in the construction of fragrance oil,’” he continued.


  • The Center acquired Phlur. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
  • In June 2019 Phlur completed a Series A with a total of over $7 million in funding. Concurrent with the funding, Phlur acquired independent clean beauty manufacturer Texas Beauty Labs. The round was led by Symrise Inc, joined by existing investor Next Coast Ventures, and attracted as a new investor Belcorp, the second-largest beauty company in South America.
  • In June 2017, Next Coast Ventures, an Austin-based venture capital firm, led the $1.45 million raise along with new investors to the business Roger Farah, former co-Chief Executive Officer of Tory Burch and former Vice Chairman, President, and Chief Operating Officer of Ralph Lauren; Joey Levin, CEO of media firm IAC; and Cotter Cunningham, CEO of RetailMeNot.
  • In August 2016, Phlur closed on a $1.8 million convertible debt raise, comprised of a continuation of commitments from existing investors who participated in its seed round.
  • In June 2015 the company raised a seed round of $2.7 million.

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