Westman Atelier expanded to Sephora.com on Monday, as the prestige clean makeup brand enters a growth stage of the business.
Sephora.com, with its 25 million Beauty Insider members, represents Westman Atelier’s largest retail partner in the U.S. Westman Atelier, launched in 2018 by makeup artist Gucci Westman through Barneys before expanding to Violet Grey, Cos Bar and Net-a-Porter. Sephora recently reformatted its physical expansion plans due to Covid-19, opting to partner with Kohl’s after initially planning to open 100 additional doors in 2020. It also updated its reward programs in Aug. 2020, with a focus on digital redemption offers.
Meanwhile, Westman Atelier sales increased 100% year-over-year in 2020, according to David Neville, Westman Atelier CEO (and Gucci Westman’s husband), though he declined to state overall revenue. Neville added that the brand was focused on digital asset creation in 2019 and 2020, such as the brand’s YouTube channel, to share more of the Westman Atelier lifestyle and product information.
“Because of the way that the Westman Atelier products look and perform, we’ve been able to get a lot of exposure on our partners’ platforms,” said Neville. “That’s a focus of ours, along with the idea of being best in class. I think we have been doing a pretty good job.”
These efforts have paid off thus far, especially as Covid-19 moved customers toward e-commerce shopping. The brand’s direct-to-consumer e-commerce sales increased by 400% in 2020, now representing 50% of all sales, according to a brand spokesperson. Westman Atelier, which currently employs 30 people, raised $5 million in seed funding led by Prelude Growth Partners in May 2019, and another $5 million in Dec. 2020.
Clean makeup is viewed as one source of innovation within the color cosmetics category that has seen sustained declines, with brands like Lawless Beauty seeing significant growth. Investors have continued to make bets on clean brands like Kosas, in Jan. 2020, and Saie, in Aug. 2020. Separately, Sephora expanded its clean focus with a clean Sephora Collection in Aug. 2020.
In 2021 Westman Atelier will focus more on sustainability through the introduction of refillable compacts and lip products in April, which will be sold through Sephora.com. Westman Atelier already has a carbon offset program, as well.
“Sephora is such a big opportunity to have [a larger] platform,” said Westman. “Sephora has a tremendous customer base and is a makeup destination. We’ll be able to gain more exposure from their visibility. We need to continue to lead this conversation in the clean luxury space.”