Beautycounter CEO Marc Rey: ‘Even in a recession, we have a lot of growth opportunities’

Since first launching in 2013 with a mission to make clean products tablestakes in beauty, Beautycounter has not wavered in its advocacy.

Beautycounter has gone on to lobby for legislative reform on Capitol Hill, and organized in-person and text-based advocacy campaigns to support cosmetic formulation standards, among other work. Private equity firm The Carlyle Group acquired a majority stake acquisition in Beautycounter in April 2021, valuing the brand at $1 billion. In February, Beautycounter appointed veteran industry executive Marc Rey as CEO to strengthen its organization and supercharge sales growth. Previously, Rey served as CEO and global chief growth officer of Shiseido Americas, and svp of Coty North America. Rey said he was attracted to the role at Beautycounter precisely because of the brand’s mission around clean beauty and advocacy. Gregg Renfrew, founder of Beautycounter, continues to lead the brand’s community engagement, brand innovation and advocacy mission.

Rey spoke with Glossy about his top priorities at Beautycounter and concerns about the economy.

What are your top priorities this year?
“[My biggest] priority is our mission to put safer products in the hands of as many women as possible. We’re succeeding in doing that. There are many more brands which follow our lead and claim that they’re clean. There’s some recent legislation coming, which is is good. I have the classic business objectives, like beefing up my team, [driving] sales growth, having the best innovation on the market and increase trialing of products. We’re doing well, but we’re only scratching the surface, in terms of growth. We’re talking to a lot of young consumers and have a pretty bullish plan to increase trials [of our products] among young consumers.”

How are you navigating inflation and a likely economic recession?
“I am carefully monitoring [the business], watching the supply chain and de-risking by putting some safety [mechanisms] in place like buffering supply chain inventory. I’m also trying to manage cost and see where it’s moving. Beautycounter also has our beauty advocates [salespeople], who promote the brand and sell products. [Direct-selling] is a model which is relatively recession-proof, because in a recession, more people are interested [in selling Beautycounter]. A lot of women do that in addition to their day job. We have so much left in the tank that even, in a recession, we have a lot of growth opportunities. It may not be at the same speed of growth if there is a recession, but we can still grow enormously.”

What keeps you up at night?
“The state of the economy is a concern. Inflation is the worst thing of all because inflation is bad for profitability and for purchasing power. It’s super concerning because, psychologically, it has a direct and indirect effect [on consumers]. So that’s an issue. We have done some [limited] pricing increases, but we don’t have big price increases planned for the moment. But that may change if inflation keeps on increasing. We’re pretty [well set] in covering ourselves, in terms of supply, for a relatively long period, which means we benefited from our original cost of goods. But overall, I sleep pretty well at night; I have a great team, I’m working for a beautiful brand, and I’m trying to move the world in the right direction.”

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