This story was originally part of the 2023 Glossy 50 feature. Click here to see all of this year’s honorees.
In August, when Susan Yara sold Naturium to E.l.f. Beauty for a $355 million cash and stock deal, she became one of the first true content creators to sell a brand. That’s excluding expert-founded brands like Jen Atkin’s Ouai, which sold to Procter & Gamble in 2021.
“I’m very proud that we sold the brand; it was one of the goals from the get-go,” Yara said. “It can feel taboo for people to say they wanted to sell their brand.” But, because she built Naturium with The Center, which is “an incubator, but at the end of the day, an investment firm,” she said the intention to sell was always clear. “Investors always expect to have a return on their money. So I wasn’t going into it thinking, ‘I’m gonna be able to hold on to it, pass it down to my family and live off of it for the rest of my life.’”
That said, she and Naturium’s 25 employees have stayed on and will continue to work on the brand, which has become known for its “clinically-effective” and affordable products. Naturium is expected to hit $90 million in net sales by the year’s end.
Yara called E.l.f. Beauty the perfect “second family” for the brand, praising the larger company for the way it treats its team and consumers and “thinks about the world.” In fact, she said, she told Ben Bennett, founder of The Center, that E.l.f. would acquire Naturium years before the two companies ever made contact.
Now, with more resources available to Naturium, expansion lies ahead. “We get questions every day on social media, saying, ‘When are you going to launch in Canada?’ ‘When are you going to launch in the rest of Europe?’ ‘When are you launching in Asia?’” Yara said. Launching in international countries requires compliance with local regulations, which often mandates new packaging and, in some cases, new product formulations. Now, Naturium can tackle those challenges.
“We’re going be able to accelerate the brand,” Yara said. “We’ll have bigger distribution and fewer problems with keeping products in stock. You don’t want to always be out of stock on some of your best sellers; you want to be able to get your product to people.”
And, she added, the sale provides a meaningful message for female content creators at large. “We hear a lot about our male counterparts’ [deals] — Mr. Beast is always in the news for all these things he’s doing with his businesses. … This is proof that you can be a female content creator and a very successful entrepreneur.”