New World Natural Brands Adds Nügg Beauty To A Swelling Portfolio
New World Natural Brands has acquired Nügg Beauty to assemble a portfolio of four brands in less than a year.
The emerging personal care holding company’s purchase of the face mask specialist started by Conny Wittke, former president and CEO of Tweezerman, for an undisclosed price succeeds pick-ups of Suki Skincare, Baetea and Baebody. Nügg extends New World’s reach into the mass market following its establishment of a digital presence with Baetea and Baebody, and natural grocer and pharmacy footprint with Suki Skincare.
“We were originally attracted to Nügg’s growth trajectory, strong brand positioning, consumer connections, high-quality product line and their solid distribution,” says Kim Ryan, vice president of brand and product strategy at New World. “After getting to know Conny and the team better, it became evidently clear that her industry knowledge, branding and innovation expertise would be another valuable addition to the New World Natural Brands family.”
Wittke will remain at the helm of Nügg, and her role is being magnified to encompass brand-building initiatives at New World. Formed nine months ago in St. Louis, New World chairman Ed Ryan, founder of private equity group Entrepreneurial Financial Resources, shares on his LinkedIn account that the business is being groomed to surpass $100 million in revenues. New World expects to acquire two to four brands annually and, currently, is zeroing in on natural cosmetics, men’s merchandise and baby care players for investments.
“New World Natural Brands is committed to nurturing and growing natural indie brands in the beauty and personal care space. We provide brands with growth capital, talent support, and best practices to help them reach the next level.”
“New World Natural Brands is committed to nurturing and growing natural indie brands in the beauty and personal care space. We provide brands with growth capital, talent support, and best practices to help them reach the next level,” says Kim Ryan. “Additionally, by connecting our portfolio brands, the portfolio company leaders are able to collaboratively work together and share their learnings, successes and failures. This built-in collaboration allows entrepreneurs to experience being part of a bigger team while still driving the success of their brand.”
In the beauty industry, there’s been a rise of companies stringing together several brands often concentrating on a product segment or distribution channel. Luxury Brand Partners has been a particularly fruitful example, and it’s focused principally on the salon channel with brands like Pulp Riot, now controlled by L’Oréal, Oribe, which was bought by Kao, R+Co, V76 by Vaughn, IGK and Smith & Cult. Volta Digital Brands is incubating and acquiring brands, including No B.S., Earth Therapy and Mia Del Mar, with digital strength.
These companies thrive on efficiencies achieved from scale and the spread of insights across properties, but coordinating a cohesive unit from an organization of disparate parts and personalities can be difficult. The bankruptcy of Warburg Pincus-backed Glansaol, owner of Laura Geller, Julep and Clark’s Botanicals, illustrates the difficulties of integrating brands effectively.
“We found that our value system, passion for natural and sustainable beauty, and commitment to build brands and do business in kind, honest and humble ways were perfectly aligned.”
New World approached Nügg in the summer last year when the brand, bootstrapped until New World’s involvement, was seeking an injection of capital. Wittke says, “We found that our value system, passion for natural and sustainable beauty, and commitment to build brands and do business in kind, honest and humble ways were perfectly aligned.” She declined to discuss the size of Nügg in revenues or its year-over-year percentage sales gains.
Launched in 2014, Nügg was one of the first brands to introduce gel masks in single-serve pod packaging, and its products containing at least 93% natural ingredients distinguished it from the K-beauty brands dominating the mask category without natural inclinations. The idea for Nügg came out of a heavy travel schedule that caused Wittke to have dry skin and search for solutions to address it. She created the brand with husband Thorsten Kothe as an antidote to the masks she ran across that she thought were overly trendy and made from subpar ingredients.
Nügg’s retail network stretches to Target and Whole Foods. With New World’s assistance, the brand aims to pursue key e-tailers, and specialty and international retailers. Ryan identifies e-commerce and supply chain capabilities as other areas New World can enhance the brand.
“From a retailer perspective, there’s a lot of choice right now, and it’s not always easy for a buyer to sort through everything, and the quality levels are dramatically different,” Wittke told Beauty Independent in 2017. “Ultimately, people will come back to us because we have serious treatments, not just fun things to try where you move on to something else.”
“We will continue to grow via outstanding product innovation and by expanding our brand further beyond face and lip masks. We have built wonderful customer relationships and passion for our product quality, which is a great foundation for such expansion.”
This year, Nügg will complete a refresh to match its look with its “cute but serious” messaging. The brand is also unleashing fresh products. It recently rolled out Skin Fizz 3-in-1 Cleanser, Exfoliator and Mask items, and plans to enlarge the Skin Fizz range in 2019. This month, it’s premiering a hydrating watermelon face and sleep mask in a multiuse spout pouch, and its debut mud mask with Target. Nügg’s products are priced primarily from $3.99 to $9.99.
“We will continue to grow via outstanding product innovation and by expanding our brand further beyond face and lip masks,” says Wittke. “We have built wonderful customer relationships and passion for our product quality, which is a great foundation for such expansion.”