Founding a beauty company in the hope that a multinational will buy it is a well-worn path  in the cosmetics industry. Unilever, The Estee Lauder Companies and Procter & Gamble have long had investment divisions.

Natura & Co, the Brazilian giant has leveraged itself into the fourth largest pure-play beauty company in the world with the acquisitions of The Body Shop, Avon International and Australia’s Aesop. To continue this growth strategy, the multinational has launched Fable Investments, a dedicated corporate investment arm.

Thomas Buisson, the former general manager of Aesop in Europe, and Michael O’Keefe, the Melbourne-based CEO of Aesop, will helm Fable Investments. Natura plans to harness Aesop’s considerable expertise in growing a brand without losing the “magic” that inspired its founding principles.

The division’s initial strategy is to target 10 to 15 high growth and innovative small brands for minority investments. Depending on individual agreements, investment amounts will vary from several hundred thousand dollars to US$10 million.

Perfumer H, the fragrance brand launched by Lyn Harris, a former Robertet perfumer, has scored the first investment from Fable. Harris also founded Miller Harris, the London-based couture fragrance house in the 1990s.

Natura has also announced that The Body Shop’s products will be 100 per cent vegan-certified by 2023. The company first began campaigning against animal testing in 1989 and 60 per cent of its current ranges are already vegan.

The Body Shop also pioneered refills in the 1970s. The company will roll out refill stations in 500 locations worldwide by the end of the year, including Australian stores.

The company’s Return, Recycle and Repeat program, inaugurated in 1993 and revived in 2019, will also be extended to 800 stores in 14 markets over the next six months.

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