LA investors smell a winner in direct-to-consumer perfumer Skylar Body


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The patron funding practice retains rolling by means of Los Angeles, with natural perfumer Skylar Physique changing into the newest model that buyers listed below are banking on for an enormous win.

The corporate raised $three million late final yr in a spherical led by Upfront Ventures, with participation from serial entrepreneur-turned-investor Brian Lee and different top-tier native buyers.

Lee, who made his title (and his fortune) within the LA expertise startup scene as a founding father of LegalZoom, ShoeDazzle and The Trustworthy Co., was the unique backer for Skylar Physique, whose founder and chief government, Cat Chen, additionally made her manner from the world of contemporary and clear house care and child merchandise at Trustworthy.

“Brian was the one that launched me to startups and e-commerce,” Chen tells me. A former product supervisor at Apple and Activision/Blizzard, Chen rose quickly by means of the ranks at Trustworthy earlier than departing a couple of yr and a half in the past to launch Skylar Physique.

The sweetness business is an enormous enterprise, with roughly $40 billion spent on cosmetics, perfumes and different merchandise. And Chen isn’t alone in attempting to sort out the market. Scentbird has raised cash out of New York for its personal tackle capturing a share of the fragrance enterprise, and so they’re not alone.

Globally, enterprise funding into magnificence startups skilled a four-year surge that peaked some time in the past, in response to Crunchbase. In 2015 $921.9 million had been invested throughout 187 offers, in contrast with simply $120.9 million over 86 transactions in 2012. The quantity invested plummeted in 2016 to $608.9 million throughout 150 offers, which was the final yr knowledge from Crunchbase had been made obtainable.

“I’ve been keen about scents my complete life,” says Chen. “Scents are one thing that I personally lean in the direction of as a part of my magnificence regime. I used to be at all times an olfactory kind of particular person.”

It wasn’t till Chen’s being pregnant — and after working at Trustworthy — that Skylar’s founder and chief government grew to become conscious that lots of chemical substances thought of dangerous by regulatory companies in Europe are hidden within the tiny vials of fragrance and eau de toilette that individuals apply every single day.

“There’s a whole lot of components which are in a position for use right here within the U.S. that Europe bans,” says Chen. Paraben and phalate are two that the newly minted chief government factors to as being significantly prevalent within the business.

Chen’s answer is to create a fragrance that makes use of solely pure components, sourced from Cosmo Fragrances, a customized perfume home that gives scents to many boutique perfumers around the globe.

“They actually learn about pure components,” says Chen. “We now have a perfumer known as Sarah Horowitz to fill our product and he or she guides us within the formulation as effectively.”

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Chen claims that the oils she’s utilizing price 5 occasions as a lot as what’s utilized in conventional perfumes and that the natural sugarcane-based alcohol within the scents additionally provides to price, however the firm is ready to preserve prices down by going direct-to-consumer (for now).

“Others’ [perfumes] are priced at $70 to $150 per-bottle. Ours is priced at $78,” Chen tells me.

A slew of Los Angeles-based buyers are rallying behind Chen and her fragrance enterprise. Brian Lee, Amplify, Upfront Ventures, Kaktus Capital (based by ex-NastyGal government Deborah Benton) and Sensible Ventures are all buyers in Skylar Physique.

Since its launch eight months in the past, the corporate has managed to choose up 10,000 clients with their pitch for natural, personalised fragrances.

Certainly, past the natural factor, the chance to create a extra personalized product for a person (and inspiring them to spend more cash) by means of mixing and matching scents has been an enormous promoting level for the corporate, Chen says.

As of late, customization is essential for any new model that desires to distinguish itself from a fresh-from-the-warehouse product delivered by Amazon straight to your door.

“We’re advocating layering to create a customized scent. Our scents are actually gentle and actually contemporary so you may layer a number of scents collectively,” Chen says.

An preliminary order features a pattern starter pack that accommodates all 4 of Skylar Physique’s fragrances, and clients can then combine and match as they please. Round 15 % of consumers improve to the complete dimension from a pattern.

“It’s uncommon that we see a commerce class that so clearly leverages robust market traits with this kind of excessive margin, excessive repeat price unit economics,” mentioned Kara Nortman, Upfront Ventures companion, in a press release. “[And] Cat Chen represents all the pieces we search for in a founder. Cat is a triple menace with an unfair benefit in viewers constructing, provide chain, and strange entry to the very best native expertise throughout each product and expertise popping out of her years at Trustworthy.”

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