On Monday, U.K.-based clean skin-care brand Pai raised a Series B investment round of $9 million, which it will use to increase its manufacturing output and distribution.
Famille C Venture, the corporate venture capital arm of the Courtin-Clarins family office, led the Series B. Courtin-Clarins is the family behind the French luxury cosmetics company Clarins Group. Pai has received a total of approximately $12 million in outside funding across its 13-year history. It sells through U.S. retailers like Credo, Free People, Bloomingdales and Skinstore. The brand maintains a vertically integrated supply chain with a 12,000-square-foot office in West London, which houses a corporate office, a lab and an existing manufacturing facility. With the new funding, Pai will build a 37,000-square-foot lab and manufacturing facility over the next 12 months. This will allow the brand to grow product output by about 900%, said Sarah Brown, Pai founder and CEO. In 2020, the brand produced about 1.2 million units.
In Sept. 2020, the brand relaunched to better communicate its clean positioning and tie itself to sustainability. Approximately 65% of global sales are wholesale versus 35% DTC. The brand earned $12 million in 2020 sales, a 20% increase compared to 2019. Brown said she still maintains majority equity in the business.
“[Vertifical integration] is core to this raise,” said Brown. “It’s a huge endeavor to expand your own facilities. You can’t do it quickly, and even a lot of the machinery has to be ordered a year ahead because it’s custom-built for you. This moment is about looking ahead to plan for the next four years.”
Aside from the investment toward manufacturing, Pai’s other 2021 focus areas are acquiring new customers, increasing brand awareness, elevating the customer experience and further driving its sustainable practices. Its micro-batch program, Pai Labs, that debuted in Oct. 2020 has now produced three products. Brown described it as a “Covid collection,” because it includes a hand sanitizer, a hand wash and a moisturizing hand serum. The intent behind Pai Labs is to allow a quicker reaction to customer trends and market needs. These products are exclusively available on the brand’s DTC e-commerce site.
Brown said she was attracted to investment by the Famille C Venture, given its beauty roots. Famille C Venture can also provide operational council as needed, Brown said.
“Sarah [Brown] founded a company with a highly original model and fantastic potential. I am convinced Pai has a role to play and a key-value proposal, which perfectly fits with new customers’ expectations,” said Prisca Courtin-Clarins, Famille C Venture founder and CEO.