How and what beauty products people purchase has changed in both subtle and dramatic ways due to Covid-19. A new portfolio beauty and wellness company called Present Life plans to build a new type of company that speaks to consumers’ new desires and needs.
Founded by Camillo Pane, the former Coty Inc. CEO between 2016 and 2018, Present Life announced on Friday a $20 million Series A investment, which it will use for product development, customer acquisition and further additional launches.
Present Life debuted in the height of the pandemic in April with a CBD brand called Healist Advanced Naturals that was founded by Michael Bryce, former CMO of Coty Inc. Present Life then acquired 2-year-old clean, sustainable skin-care brand One Ocean Beauty in July for an undisclosed amount. And on Sept. 1, it will launch Loum, an anti-stress skin-care brand.
The investment round was funded by The Craftory, which is a $375 investment fund out of the Cause Capital firm that’s dedicated to investing in consumer goods across five areas: health, sustainability, progressive causes, raising self-esteem, and democratizing access to products and services. The Craftory has B-Corp certification.
“Present Life is built exactly because of [changing consumer needs],” said Pane. “Lockdown gave us the time to reflect more on the type of world we want to have and how to approach wellness. All that reflection time will generate consumer behavior changes and acceleration of certain trends, like CBD, within beauty.”
The recent, critical behavior changes among customers include the adoption of DIY or at-home products, such as nail polish for manicures or boxed hair dye. There’s also been a shift toward thinking about health and the environment, with more interest in refillable beauty products among brands and consumers, and the addition of hand sanitizer as a permanent portfolio product. Even Fabrizio Freda, Estée Lauder Companies CEO, declared that the “lipstick index,” which was originally coined by Leonard Lauder, is no longer relevant as everyone seeks new types of self-care products, particularly skin care.
Investments during Covid-19 have also significantly changed. According to Crunchbase data, the venture capital landscape has contracted during Covid-19. Between March and June, there was a 44% year-over-year decline in Seed, Series A and Series B rounds across industries. However, the average investment size did not change and continued to hover at around $21 million for Series A rounds. But within the beauty and personal care landscape, wellness investments and acquisitions have unsurprisingly been resilient, though exact investment data is not available. Notably, in June, Grove Collaborative acquired Sundaily vitamins and Nestlé Health Science invested in Vital Proteins.
But, Elio Leoni Sceti, The Craftory co-founder, cautioned that even as consumer demands change, the investment sphere is still typically beholden to profit-generating timelines and quick exits. For its part, The Craftory separates itself from the traditional metrics of success by offering permanent capital, which is a type of investment for an indefinite period of time.
“Financial investments to [fuel] growth are probably going to get much tougher. We’ve gone through a crisis, and we are not out of it,” said Sceti. “Consumer goods are a very complex space with a very different dynamic than technology, for example. For entrepreneurs who want to build knowledge and operational experience, combined with [social responsibility], there are not many options out there right now.”