Launching a skincare brand has become a default position for many celebrities and entrepreneurs worldwide. But the attrition rate is high and it’s still difficult to fend off the major cosmetic players and achieve market cut-through.
Foster Blake has a 40 per cent share in Go-To and will retain a 23 per cent holding. The brand will remain a standalone business within the BWX stable and Foster Blake will stay in the business for a minimum of three years as a strategic shareholder, chief creative officer and director. The company’s other co-founders will also continue to be involved.
Foster Blake has strategically built the success of Go-To over the past seven years. She has in-depth beauty cred as the former beauty editor of Cosmopolitan and Harper’s Bazaar magazines and the founding editor of beauty website, primped.com.au. An expertise that helped her gain insight into the clean beauty trend before it went mainstream.
Billed as a smart, simple, all-natural brand, Go-To has built a strong, repeat purchase market for its curated SKUs, including cult products such as Face Hero, Properly Clean and Very Useful Face Cream. Available from Mecca and its own dedicated website – gotoskincare.com – the brand has boomed during the Covid-19 pandemic with 60 per cent of its revenues being direct-to-consumer.
Foster Blake has also built herself into brand with a cult following. In addition to her long-term beauty expertise, she is the best-selling author of 12 books, including The Wrong Girl which was adapted for TV. Earlier this year, she fronted the Holiday Here This Year campaign for Tourism Australia, alongside her husband Hamish Blake, the popular comedian and TV host.
The BWX deal is a marriage made in heaven. The Melbourne-based company has been on an acquisition spending spree over the past six years to transform into “a house of natural brands”.
Sukin, the number one natural skincare in Australian pharmacy, was acquired in 2015 for $53 million. Since 2017, BWX has acquired Andalou Naturals, the number one facial skincare brand in the US natural channel, for US$80 million, and Mineral Fusion, the number one cosmetics brand in the US natural channel, for $50 million.
In May this year, the company ramped up its direct-to-consumer stable with the $27 million buyout of Flora & Fauna, Australia’s largest online eco store, to boost its earlier $20 million acquisition of Nourished Life, Australia’s largest natural beauty store.
With these six powerful brands, BWX announced a 3.4 per cent increase in revenues for the fiscal year ended June 30th to $194.1 million. Sukin was the standout performer with a 16 per cent surge in sales to $95 million.
BWX has also been on a tear with new distribution deals, inking a five-year equity alliance agreement with Chemist Warehouse and strategic partnerships with Woolworths Australia and Walmart Canada.
The company is already well-entrenched overseas, with its core brands selling in Asia, the US, Canada and Europe, with further expansion planned for priority markets, including China. It also has an international office in Los Angeles.
Go-To, which has expanded to Gro-To, a natural skincare range for babies, and Bro-To for men, is poised to add more heft to the global ambitions of BWX. The US already makes up 12 per cent of the brand’s sales.
According to Mark Fenlon, CEO of BWX, Foster Blake is a proven brand-builder and innovator.
“We have the tailwinds of consumers moving from synthetic to natural and ultimately the opportunity to take Go-To international.”