Maria Nila, the Swedish haircare brand, opened a month-long pop-up store in New York in June to signal its further ambitions in the US market.
The vegan and professional brand is a hot favourite in its home market. Brand ambassadors include Elsa Hosk, the former Victoria’s Secret model, and Swedish pop phenomenon, Zara Larsson.
L Catterton has taken a minority investment in Maria Nila through its European fund. Backed by LVMH, the world’s largest luxury goods group, and the holding company of Bernard Arnault, the conglomerate’s chairman and CEO, it’s been a busy year for the world’s largest consumer-focused private equity firm.
In April, L Catterton invested in the high-growth US vegan colour cosmetics brand, DIBS Beauty. Mid-year, John Demsey, the former Estée Lauder high-flyer, joined the company as a senior adviser.
In July, L Catterton also took a minority investment in Irene Forte Skincare. A B-Corp certified brand founded in 2018 by Irene Forte, the daughter of noted British hotelier Sir Rocco Forte, the luxury skincare lineup takes its inspiration from plants and ingredients grown at the family’s organic farm in Sicily for its science-backed products such as Hibiscus Serum and Prickly Pear Face Cream. At the end of the month, the private equity major led a US$28 million funding round in GlossGenius, the US business-in-a-box platform which helps beauty and wellness companies grow their businesses through services such as building websites, marketing and booking.
L Catterton has a strong track record in the haircare industry. In 2021, the company took a majority stake in the US-based Beauty Industry Group whose portfolio includes award-winning hair extensions, and previous investments in the sector include cult favourite, Frederic Fekkai.
L Catterton has a keen interest in environmentally-conscious brands. Maria Nila’s vegan credentials and back story have strong appeal. Founded in 1999 by Ann and Ulf Wikstrom, the couple kickstarted the company from their home in southern Sweden and named it after Ann’s great-grandmother. Shoppable in 45 countries today, its hero ranges include Colour Refresh masks and targeted concern products such as Head & Hair Heal shampoo and conditioner, Structure Repair, Pure Volume, True Soft and Luminous Colour. Hairhouse is Maria Nila’s official stockist in Australia – go to www.hairhouse.com.au.
Over the past five years, Maria Nila has sharpened its focus on expanding distribution in Europe and the US. A growth strategy that will accelerate with L Catterton’s involvement by opening more sales channels globally and expanding the brand’s product portfolio.
Marcus Wikstrom, the son of the founders, is the CEO of Maria Nila and will continue in the position.
“Maria Nila represents a compelling opportunity to partner with a truly sustainable and vegan brand in the beauty space,” said Luigi Feola, a managing partner of L Catterton’s Europe Fund. “As the number one professional hair care brand in Sweden with a strong consumer following, the growth potential for Maria Nila is significant. We believe there is meaningful whitespace to accelerate global expansion and increase share in under-penetrated categories by leveraging the brand’s successful go-to market strategy and differentiated brand proposition.”
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