On Thursday, skin-care brand Topicals announced $10 million in new financing to bring its chronic skin problem-solving products to more people.
The 2-year-old brand is attempting to bring the conversation of inclusivity, which has reverberated in makeup, to skin care. Topicals is centered around solving chronic skin issues like eczema, hyperpigmentation and psoriasis for consumers, and is sold through Sephora. OTC brands have been having a moment, amid a bigger push for innovative products and formulas within the historically unsexy clinical space.
The funding round was led by Cavu Consumers Partners, which has also invested in Hims & Hers, body-care brand Nécessaire and ingestibles brand Vital Proteins. Its check sizes are typically between $10 million-$50 million. Jenna Jackson, principal at Cavu, said Topicals has grown 675% in sales year-over-year as of November. Topicals has now raised a total of $15 million in outside funding to date.
“We love category creators, which are hard to find,” said Jackson. “Topicals is disrupting the ointment category and the idea that chronic skin conditions are confined to the CVS aisle filled with chemicals, and are unfun, ugly and don’t make you feel great about yourself.”
The funding will be directed toward inventory, as the brand has experienced routine sell-outs. It will also go to the development of a YouTube content series and other storytelling marketing, and hiring. Olowe said Topicals plans to hire a seasoned beauty executive and a CFO.
“I love to keep the company fresh and new, with [employees] who understand beauty or maybe who don’t understand beauty but are coming in with a different point of view,” said Olemide Olowe, co-founder and CEO of Topicals. “We’re looking for people from different industries who can continue pushing a cultural narrative but also have experience, because scaling a business is a bit formulaic.”
Olowe said her approach to developing Topicals takes great inspiration from streetwear, including hiring people from that sector and its relationship with art and culture. She said she admires the way streetwear can corral a fandom for a brand that does not directly relate to a product’s function. She also cited admiration for the pimple-patch brand Starface, which has attempted to make wearing a star-shaped pimple patch fashionable in public spaces.
Cavu maintains an in-house marketing and branding team called Uncommon, which works with brands across e-commerce, Amazon, social media, PR, influencer relations and packaging. Olowe said Topicals has already taken advantage of Uncommon, including accessing its Amazon resources.
“At the end of the day, the capital is really important. Sometimes you just need the money to go and execute a plan. But there also comes a time in your business, especially at my age [of 25-years-old], to lean on someone,” said Olowe.