Freshly Cosmetics raises €19 million to boost expansion, announces London store opening
Freshly Cosmetics, a Spanish brand specialised in natural cosmetics, is proving to be attractive to investors. It has recently closed a financing round led by British investment fund Blossom Capital, raising €19 million to boost its internationalisation drive. In parallel, Freshly Cosmetics announced the opening of its first store outside Spain, at 44 Carnaby Street, London, and that the brand aims to generate sales worth €50 million this year.
Freshly Cosmetics was founded in 2016 by two young chemical engineers, Miquel Antolín and Mireia Trepat, and is celebrating its first five years in business by developing the financial muscle it needs to expand abroad.
In a recent interview with FashionNetwork.com, Antolín provided details about Freshly Cosmetics’ international plans: “France, Italy, and Portugal are the countries, outside of Spain, where our revenue is currently highest. We still have a lot of ground to cover on our domestic market but, for 2022, international expansion will be essential to our growth.”
Antolín indicated that the next countries in the brand’s sights, beyond European ones, are the USA and China. The North American market is one of Freshly Cosmetics’ future targets, while the brand has been present in Asia since the summer.
“Although we started our operations there in June, we are only now beginning to get going in China. We sell through Tmall, using a cross-border format that allows us to maintain Freshly’s values and access a market with such huge potential as [China],” said Antolín.
Currently, Freshly Cosmetics sells its products online in 24 European countries. In 2020, the brand’s international sales accounted for 5% of the total, but markets outside Spain are currently expected to account for between 15% and 20% of revenue in 2021.
One of the keys to the brand's international expansion strategy is to rely on “localising to the max.” According to Antolín, the approach is to “rely on local teams, with customer service in the local language and with e-shops that are adapted to each country.” One of Freshly Cosmetics’ challenges is that, for the time being, the entire staff (including the team working on international markets) is based at the company's headquarters in Reus, Catalonia.
“Attracting talent is easier if you are a brand with a very human touch and a strong team culture, like Freshly Cosmetics,” said Antolín.
Destination London for Freshly Cosmetics’ first international store
Freshly Cosmetics, which last October opened its third Spanish store in Valencia (the other two are located in Madrid and Barcelona), has also announced it is about to enter the international retail arena. On November 19, it will open its first store outside Spain, at 44 Carnaby Street, London.
Freshly Cosmetics will occupy 85 m2 premises extending over two floors in a street, Carnaby Street, that is one of the world's prime tourist destinations, with a footfall of half a million people per month.
In addition to using the finance raised with Blossom Capital as a springboard for international expansion, and to bolster the launch of this flagship in the commercial heart of London, Freshly Cosmetics plans to use the funds to invest in product development.
“Our aim since we were founded has been to demonstrate that natural cosmetics can outperform traditional cosmetics in terms of effectiveness and results, and we will continue to work on that next year,” said Antolín.
“In 2022, we will also focus on sustainability, striving to offer to our customers increasingly sustainable solutions not only in terms of product, but also packaging,” he added.
According to Freshly Cosmetics, all its formulations contain more than a 99% share of natural ingredients, and neither the formulations nor the raw materials used are tested on animals. In addition, 95% of Freshly Cosmetics’ packaging is made of glass, aluminium or recyclable kraft paper, and the brand is adopting new solutions, like cardboard tubes, for the packaging of some of its products.
Reconciling sustainability with discounts
In commercial terms, Freshly Cosmetics is characterised by a practice of offering customers hefty discounts, using a brand club-style loyalty programme. Especially on key dates on the e-tail calendar, like Black Friday: from November 1 to November 30, Freshly Cosmetics is offering discounts that in some cases exceed 50%. To meet demand, the brand has doubled its logistics capacity and installed a temporary order management centre in Reus, extending over more than 1,800 m2.
This approach raises the question of how it is possible to reconcile sustainability as a value with such significant discounts.
“We believe that Black Friday is not necessarily incompatible with sustainability. With this campaign, we are not looking for profits, but to expand the customer base, bringing the brand closer to new customers, people who are joining the shift towards natural cosmetics that we are spearheading with Freshly Cosmetics. We do not regard this as over-consumption, but as an opportunity to reach new customers, and to enable regular customers to replenish their stock,” said Antolín.
Having further strengthened its position on the Spanish market, and laid the foundations for international expansion, Freshly Cosmetics is targeting a revenue of €50 million this year, despite having closed 2020 with a revenue of €30 million.
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