Artisan Marketplace Novica Acquires Beauty Subscription Box Company Love Goodly
Novica is getting into the beauty business.
The online marketplace that hunts around the world for goods crafted by skilled artisans has acquired a company in its Los Angeles area backyard: Love Goodly. Terms of the deal for the beauty subscription box service weren’t disclosed, but its founders Justine Lassoff and Katie Bogue Miller are staying on board to oversee their 5-year-old business as well as guide Novica’s entrance into beauty merchandise.
“Beauty is a category that they don’t have,” says Bogue Miller. “We are able to bring our mission of cruelty-free, vegan and nontoxic beauty to their customers who are voting with their dollars to support the work of artisans. Now, we will reach a much broader audience and be able to grow strategically.”
Love Goodly sells bi-monthly boxes for $34.95 containing four to five full-size products valued together at $85 or above. Every other box is a brand-specific offering to provide subscribers with a fuller experience of a brand’s assortment. The February/March box spotlighted Sylveco, for example. Love Goodly also sells boxes a la carte for $39.95 to $55.95 and has an e-commerce component carrying about 50 brands, including Pacifica, Aether Beauty, Plus Ultra, Doctor Rogers, Antonym Cosmetics, Dr. Botanicals, Evio Beauty, Hurraw and Delia Organics.
E-commerce has been a small part of Love Goodly, and it’s concentrated on expanding its subscription box enterprise, which is closing in on 10,000 units in bi-monthly sales. Under Novica, it will pay greater attention to e-commerce. Products from Novica’s selection will be seen on Love Goodly’s website and vice versa, and Novica items will be an add-on opportunity for Love Goodly subscribers.
“We are able to bring our mission of cruelty-free, vegan and nontoxic beauty to their customers who are voting with their dollars to support the work of artisans.”
“This partnership with Novica is the perfect step for us because we will continue to grow the introduction of products and brands, and add a revenue stream of the standalone product, which is required because of the profit margin of the boxes,” says Lassoff. “You need to pay something to the brands, of course, for the products that go into the boxes and that eats into margin, so the business makes the most sense if you have healthy e-commerce, and that’s where I think the subscription segment on the whole is heading.”
Bogue Miller’s and Lassoff’s relationship with Novica dates back about a decade to LovingEco, a flash sales platform for sustainable fashion and natural beauty products co-founded by Lassoff that sold in 2012 to JP Selects, a defunct online marketplace for ethical brands that was in John Paul Mitchell Systems mogul John Paul DeJoria’s stable of several ventures. TechCrunch reported JP Selects spent $1 million for LovingEco. The platform featured artisan bracelets discovered by Novica. Lassoff and Bogue Miller met at LovingEco. Bogue Miller was its merchandising director.
Novica operates in nine geographies: the Andes, Central America, India, Thailand, West Africa, Mexico, Brazil, Ireland, and Bali and Java. Pieces from more than 20,000 artisans are available on its site, and Novica estimates it’s paid out almost $100 million to artisans since it was established in 1999. In 2003, Novica secured $3 million from IFC World Bank. Its products span the jewelry, fashion, home and art categories currently. Once beauty is integrated, Lassoff and Bogue Miller believe it can be a top category for the marketplace.
Proactively pushing for a better future for Love Goodly, Lassoff and Bogue Miller approached Novica about a takeover and deal negotiations began in December. In March, Love Goodly’s team, which has four people, moved from downtown LA to Novica’s Santa Monica headquarters. Prior to the Novica acquisition, Love Goodly raised $470,000 from Third Wave Digital and participated in the Quake Seed Capital accelerator program in summer 2018.
“The business makes the most sense if you have healthy e-commerce, and that’s where I think the subscription segment on the whole is heading.”
While Novica wasn’t on Lassoff’s and Bogue Miller’s initial list of exit targets, Lassoff emphasizes the lesson from its pickup of Love Goodly is that entrepreneurs should think outside the box when it comes to potential partners. She says Novica “wasn’t one that came to mind first because they didn’t have a focus on beauty and skincare, but, then, they are a mission-based company that really gives back and cares about their community like we do.”
Bogue Miller chimes in that sticking to Love Goodly’s charitable efforts has been helpful for the brand not only to improve animal welfare and be a feel-good extension of its business, but to clarify its purpose and narrow possible partners to those that have genuine synergies with it. A portion of the proceeds from each box goes to organizations such as Mercy For Animals and Farm Sanctuary.
“A lot of investors just see dollar signs, and some investors are like, ‘Why are you supporting causes? That’s taking money away from your profits,’” says Bogue Miller. “We could have gotten rid of that, but we stayed true to it because it was important to us.”