Ilia nears $ 100 million in revenue as it posts monumental growth


Beauty brand Ilia is poised to dominate the clean beauty category.

Throughout 2020 and 2021, Ilia has shown resilience and weathered the slowdown in makeup sales. Ilia has doubled its revenue year over year every year since 2017 and is expected to approach $ 100 million in sales in 2021. WWD reported in January 2020 that Ilia ended 2019 with around $ 22 million. dollars in retail sales and is expected to earn $ 35 million in 2020 at the time. Over the past 18 months, the brand has done a refresh, launched Super Serum Skin Tint, then broadened the shades, focused on its e-commerce and brought its field teams in-house rather than putting them on leave during the quarantine period. . There are currently nearly 100 employees. Ilia also announced in September that 1% of all sales of her hero Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40 will go to the 1% For The Planet charity, and will focus efforts on planting 1 million trees by the end of 2023. .

Ilia is sold by Sephora, Dermstore, Credo, and Nordstrom, among other retailers. Brand sales represent just under 50% of DTC e-commerce, said Lynda Berkowitz, CEO of Ilia. The brand has raised more than $ 14 million in two fundraisers via Silas Capital and Sandbridge Capital, among other investor partners according to Crunchbase.

“We had a lot of great things that happened in addition to a really turbulent economy. [in 2020]. It was a perfect storm, but it had a positive impact on our business, ”said Berkowitz.

As a brand hovering around the $ 100 million sales mark, Ilia is ripe as a potential acquisition target or for an IPO. Berkowitz said Ilia was exploring options regarding the brand’s future, including additional investments or channel partners for its international expansion, but also said Ilia was not in any “official process”. Currently, Ilia is sold via Mecca in Australia, Sephora e-commerce in Europe, and has undisclosed UK expansion plans to be announced by the end of the year.

In 2021, Ilia focused on consolidating its internal functioning. Among the top hires, Jessica Zeller was hired in January as vice president of global marketing and public relations from Kendo Brands. Additionally, Kym Davis was appointed Vice President of Product Development in June, having also worked at Kendo Beauty (specifically Fenty Beauty) and Glossier. In addition, Ilia has developed in-house customer service, as well as marketing, social and creative teams.

“Having a strong management team has made all the difference, as each department has a strong and well aligned strategy,” said Berkowitz. “Part of being successful is realizing that it takes more hands and more talent. “

Ilia has remained product-centric since its launch in 2010. Berkowitz said skin tone products represent over 50% of Ilia’s sales and over 50% of new customers buy Super Serum Skin Tint as their first purchase. . In addition, “loyal” customers use more than five Ilia products. Ilia has a large following, namely “millennials and their mothers,” Berkowitz said.

“[Complexion] is very emotional [category] because everyone wants to have fair skin. It’s a very personal thing, so having half of our business skin tone shows consumer confidence, ”she said. “Our goal has been to continue to present Super Serum Skin Tint to customers, to develop this franchise and to continue to strengthen this credibility and loyalty. “

Another flagship includes Limitless Lash Mascara, launched in 2018. At Sephora, Ilia’s Limitless Lash Mascara is the best-selling mascara behind Too Faced Better Than Sex. Berkowitz said marketing around the product was limited and success was due to word of mouth. To support flagship products and major launches, Ilia now has a full-fledged approach including customer sampling via its e-commerce and Sephora, paid advertising and influencer marketing. Ilia distributes over 3 million samples per year and 70% of new customers arrive at Ilia through social media, including ads and influencers, she said. WWD reported that Ilia spent $ 2 million on sampling in 2020.

“While the women didn’t necessarily put on full makeup for going out on Saturday night, they always put on mascara for Zoom calls,” said Brian Thorne, partner of Silas Capital and a member of the Ilia board of directors. “[Ilia] was able to acquire customers with a relatively low price and purchase mascara at a lower cost. Then [the brand] guided her further in the [acquisition] funnel to match the shades and optionally purchase the Super Serum skin tone.

Now, Ilia is also developing her brand awareness through out-of-home and connected TV ads in September. Ilia started her first OOH commercials in February 2020 in Los Angeles and New York when she launched her Super Serum Skin Tint. Ilia will also run frequent wild posts, billboards, and even a direct mail campaign at an indefinite time. In September, there was a full-page New York Times weekend ad. Ads for smart TV have appeared on Bravo, E, HGTV, and Hulu, among other channels and platforms.

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