Four-year-old Phlur, Inc. is ramping up growth: On Tuesday, it announced a $7 million Series A funding round from existing investor Symrise and Latin American beauty company Belcorp. Additionally, the company announced the acquisition of manufacturing partner Texas Beauty Labs, made to vertically integrate parts of its business.
Phlur’s fresh funding round will be directed toward extending the Phlur brand into more product categories, such as hair care and after-sun products; building inventory; and increasing marketing efforts. Phlur currently creates and sells candles, fragrances and body-care products, which are sold through Phlur.com as well as Sephora and Credo. The acquisition of Texas Beauty Labs, its only non-fragrance manufacturing partner, will reduce supply-chain bottlenecks and open the company to new revenue streams by servicing other clean indie brands. Following the acquisition, TBL was renamed The Goodkind Co. Phlur, Inc. declined to state its annual sales or the financial terms of the acquisition.
“At a high level, the funding itself, as well as the acquisition, underscores our conviction for the momentum and energy behind clean beauty,” said Eric Korman, Phlur, Inc. cofounder and CEO. “For us, our desire is how to put more products out in the marketplace through this clean lens.”
The motivation for acquiring The Goodkind Co. is partly informed by a side project of Phlur, Inc. In October 2018, Korman and Mary Berry, The Goodkind Co. CEO, launched a clean deodorant brand called Explore Naturals. The brand’s lineup consists of a hero stick deodorant in six scents, which sell for $12 on Amazon. Since January 2019, it’s done $1 million in monthly sales. With the acquisition, Explore Naturals will exist as a separate brand under Phlur, Inc. and will expand its merchandise assortment to include everyday bathroom essentials, like soap. In addition, there will be a focus on growing its direct-to-consumer sales through ExploreNaturals.com.
The Goodkind Co. will continue to be responsible for manufacturing non-fragrance products within the Phlur portfolio and will continue to work with its nearly 50 other beauty brand clients. (Phlur declined to name those clients.) The company has about 100 employees, 70% of whom are manufacturing employees, and earned $10 million in revenue in 2018, according to Berry.
“I have a great executive team, but being a single owner is like the loneliness of a long-distance runner and having a partner is like running in a group,” Berry said. “The next phase for us is making strategic business decisions that Eric [Korman] is positioned to help with.”
Such decisions include expanding the Austin, Texas, facility from 16,000 square feet to 46,000 square feet by the end of the year to accommodate larger production at a more frequent pace. Additionally, the research and development facility is also expanding by four times to 1,500 square feet, while the cosmetic chemistry team is growing from two chemists to six, said Berry. Because The Goodkind Co. works with a variety of clean indie beauty brands, Phlur Inc. sees an opportunity to become a manufacturing hub for many clean beauty innovations, in particular by integrating investment partner Symrise and its own ingredient and go-to-market innovations into the business.
“What we are able to do with this merger and funding is take a lot of the tech [Symrise] has available around cosmetic ingredients and bring that to the indie community,” Korman said.