Olaplex Holdings Inc., the hair care brand backed by private equity firm Advent International, debuted on the public market on Thursday. It raised over $1.55 billion as institutional investors bestowed a seal of approval on the company.
Individual shares were initially priced $17-$19 but popped in the early hours of trading to $21 each, providing a market value of $13.6 billion. Accounting for employee stock options, Olaplex has a fully diluted value of more than $14 billion. However, the Santa Barbara, Calif.-based company did not gain any money from the IPO and Advent, and other shareholders sold the 73.7 million shares offered. Advent controls almost 80% of shareholder voting power. According to Olaplex’s S-1 filing from Aug. 27, sales climbed sharply during the first half of 2021 compared to 2020. Olaplex made a profit of $95 million on net sales of $270 million for the first half of the year, compared to a net loss of $22 million on about $100 million in sales during the same period in 2020.
Glossy spoke with JuE Wong, Olaplex president and CEO, to discuss the brand’s IPO, including what comes next and if there is an opportunity to get its customers to also become its investors.
What do you think the IPO pop to $21 a share says about how institutional investors feel about Olaplex?
[It says] hair is no longer just a moment, especially prestige hair care. It is now a movement much like skin care; we are seeing the skinification of hair, the premiumization of hair and the ritualization of hair. Therefore it’s gratifying to see not only customers who have supported us, but also to see institutional investors excited about the prospect of being investors in Olaplex.
What are you focused on next, following the brand’s IPO?
The IPO opportunity is really for us to showcase that, as a company, we are ready. You have seen our performance in the S-1. We feel like it is time for us to tell our story. [The IPO] is also a great platform for us to elevate brand awareness and a way for us to recruit and retain talent. There are multiple reasons why we are in this, and we feel good [about what] our shareholders have done for us. And this is one way for us to continue to add value to them.
If you think about it we have so much more potential with distribution through our existing retailers. If you look at our S-1, our penetration at Sephora is only 7%. We could easily penetrate higher than that. By focusing on what we are doing and doing it better, we can become a better partner to our professional and retail channels, as well [as increase] direct-to-consumer [sales] and become not only the No.1 hair-care brand, but also the No.1 ranking beauty brand [globally].
We can also get more visibility in the community, as a public company, for our sustainability efforts. We are committed to and mindful [about] reducing and being carbon negative, especially when it comes to our packaging. It’s an important mission from the company
Do you think beauty consumers could become your investors, too?
It’s early days, and it will be good to see how this opens up and then see how Main Street investors respond and react to us. But a couple of days ago, there was a CNBC part-time reporter that posted on TikTok about [our IPO] … Olaplex is one of those brands that I call “The people’s brand,” where we resonate on Main Street, but we also resonate with Wall Street. You have seen us over the years do well at the [proverbial] box office, but we have also won critical acclaim. I’m excited about the future, but I think our focus today is to do what we do well and do it better.