On Friday, Otherland, a maximalist Gen-Z and millennial candle brand, announced it has been acquired by Curio Brands.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Curio Brands, founded in 1982, owns two home fragrance brands, Capri Blue and Thymes. Both brands have DTC e-commerce but mainly distribute through wholesale retail. Anne Sempowski Ward, CEO of Curio Brands, said a primary attraction of Otherland was its digitally-native presence including its strong social media following. Otherland, founded in 2017, has 82,000 Instagram followers and 23,000 TikTok subscribers.
Otherland opened its first store in June 2022 in New York City. Its office is located above the storefront, providing a closer viewpoint for testing in-store concepts and hosting events. At the time, Abigail Cook Stone, CEO and co-founder of Otherland, said the brand’s sales had grown 250% year-over-year since 2020, but she declined to provide more recent figures. Otherland is also sold through Nordstrom and Sephora, and wholesale business accounts for approximately 15% of revenue. Otherland raised $2.7 million in seed funding in 2019 and later an undisclosed amount in a Series A. Co-founders Stone and Sayyid Markar will stay on with Curio. Stone will oversee brand strategy and execution, while Makara will focus on operations and the supply chain.
“There’s a natural fit with Otherland’s focus on bringing art, beauty and amazing fragrance together; that is very much who we are as a company,” said Ward. “Otherland has a direct conversation with the consumer [online], versus selling through retail and connecting with the consumer afterward online. This [acquisition] allows us a direct way to do that, and we hope to reapply that consistently across our business.”
This year has been quiet, but not nonexistent, for beauty M&A. Notable transactions include P&G’s acquisition of Mielle hair care in January, the same month AS Beauty acquired heritage brand Bliss. L’Orèal followed, acquiring Aesop in April. When it comes to candles, the latest headline-making news was private equity firm Eurazeo’s sale of its Nest majority ownership to another private equity firm, North Castle Partners. The 2021 transaction valued Nest at approximately $200 million. Several smaller sales have taken place since 2020 when the candle and home fragrance category received renewed attention as people spent more time at home due to the pandemic.
In previous Glossy reporting, Stone referred to the popularity of candles during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic as “interiential,” a mash-up of “interior” and “experiential.” It is the concept of elevating everyday products, from toothpaste to home cleaning, in order to make the home more akin to a sanctuary or a destination in itself. Stone plans to expand upon this concept. She indicated that there is potential for multiple expansion categories like personal care and home care, but declined to share any specific launches or timelines.
“When customers fall in love with a scent, they want to experience it in as many ways as possible,” said Stone. “As our homes will become much more of a focus, [with concepts like] table-scaping and smaller moments, like styling a coffee table. So we’re seeing the influence of art and culture mixing with wellness.”