From Molly With Love Raises Funds On SeedInvest, Prepares To Enter Francesca’s Locations
From Molly With Love is filling its coffers with seed funding and its distribution network with Francesca’s stores.
The natural skincare brand has gone live on the SeedInvest equity crowdfunding platform connecting accredited investors and the public at large to budding startups and, so far, has racked up $17,500, putting it less than 2% of the way toward its funding goal. From Molly With Love will be able to receive investments through SeedInvest for 60 days.
“In the middle of last year, our sales were taking off, and it became obvious we needed additional capital in order to grow as fast as we have been. The whole process felt very, very daunting to me. I don’t have any connections in venture capital,” says From Molly With Love founder Molly Beane. “SeedInvest reached out to me, and it felt right because we’re all about inclusivity, and we’re really tight with our community. They can become part of the company and further the clean beauty space as well.”
Six-year-old SeedInvest has largely been a funding vehicle for technology companies. Among those presently soliciting funds on the platform along with From Molly With Love, for example, are virtual reality SaaS solution WorldViz, AI-powered WiFi security offering Gryphon, and biomimetic touch technology SynTouch.
Cognizant of its tech bent, SeedInvest is actively vetting companies outside the tech sector, particular ones with women at the helm. The firm discloses women- and minority-led companies constitute 29% of its portfolio. In comparison, companies controlled by women nabbed about 2% of venture funding in 2017. Joining From Molly With Love on SeedInvest are Love Goodly, a green beauty subscription box created by Justine Lassoff and Katie Bogue Miller, and Kindara, a fertility tracker app founded by husband-and-wife Will Sacks and Kati Bicknell.
SeedInvest accepts around 1% of applicants and more than 215,000 investors have supported 150-plus companies through it. Minimum investments are as low as $500. The largest amount a company has amassed via SeedInvest is $2 million.
On the SeedInvest platform, From Molly With Love’s valuation cap is estimated at $4 million. The brand registered $180,000 in sales last year, when its gross margins clocked in at 44%. From Molly has already reeled in $120,000 in sales this year and is on track to reach $1 million in revenues by the end of 2018.
Beane details the money obtained through SeedInvest will go toward staffing and scaling production. The brand is onboarding a fulfilment center and is considering outsourcing manufacturing in the near future. “We can improve our profit margins by buying raw materials in bigger volumes,” says Beane. “This company has grown 600% with just me and a couple of part-timers. Think about what we can do when we actually have real help.”
From Molly With Love is set to roughly quadruple its store count by rolling out to 400 Francesca’s doors in April with seven products. Retailers carrying the brand currently include The Detox Market, Thread & Seed, Aillea, Amazon, Etsy and A Piece Of Organic, a Hong Kong chain that’s been ordering $10,000 worth of products monthly. From Molly With Love’s assortment spans 40 stockkeeping units, and bestsellers are the Probiotic Deodorant, White Sage Smudge Spray and Beauty Oil.
Beane describes entering Francesca’s as a “huge milestone” for From Molly With Love, but the brand isn’t stopping its pursuit of distribution partners as it makes its first nationwide push at a major retailer. In 2019, it aims to secure another large retailer. Beane lists CVS, Target, Ulta Beauty and Sephora as dream accounts. From Molly With Love is planning to extend abroad, too. It’s in the process of acquiring E.U. certification and will showcase merchandise at Indie Beauty Expo’s London edition in October.
“In 2017, we pitched as many stores as possible. That felt a little like throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks. This year, we’re trying to approach it more strategically,” says Beane, continuing, “We have to come at this from many different angles. IBE LA helped us get in front of Francesca’s, so trade shows are a part of it. We do our own pitching, and we also participate on Indigo Fair to help us generate new wholesale customers. We’re trying to get as many different revenue streams as possible for a diverse and healthy business.”