Sales: $270 million.
Key Personnel: Tarang P. Amin, chief executive officer and director; John P. Bailey, president and chief financial officer; Richard F. Baruch Jr., senior vice president and chief commercial officer; Jonathan T. Fieldman, senior vice president, operations; Mara A. McCune, vice president, brand; Ellie B. Off, vice president, innovation; Fanny Xu, vice president, general manager, China operations.
Major Products: Makeup and beauty products.
New Products: Beauty Shield skin care, e.l.f. Active, Oil Control Primer Mist, Oil Control Blotting Powder, Pore Refining Regimen Kit, and Pore Refining Brush and Mask Tool.
Comments: In its own words, e.l.f. Beauty “offers high-quality, prestige-inspired beauty products at extraordinary value.” That combination has proved successful for the company; last year, net sales rose 18%, or $40.3 million, driven by sales growth across leading retailers and its direct to consumer channels. At the same time, gross margin expanded to 61% from 58%.
“This performance demonstrates the strength of the e.l.f. brand, driven by our mission to make luxurious beauty accessible for all,” noted Tarang Amin, chairman and CEO.
Amin said the year included many noteworthy accomplishments, “including a three-point increase in unaided awareness, the introduction of 128 new products, continued expansion with leading retailers, and investments in the team and infrastructure to enable future growth. We remain excited about our opportunities as we begin fiscal 2018 and expect another year of significant accomplishments toward our long-term goals.”
And when the calendar, flipped, e.l.f. kept growing. For three-months ended March 31, 2018, net sales rose 9%, buoyed by the company’s full-chain rollout at Ulta Beauty and the “most successful” Beautyscape influencer program and product collaborations to date, according to Amin. e.l.f. believes its e-commerce heritage makes it agile. A “modern consumer engagement and responsive innovation model” keeps products on-trend and consumers engaged. Further, e.l.f. talks up to its ability launch high-quality products quickly by leveraging fast-cycle product development and asset-light supply chain. The firm’s strategy entails rolling out new products on elfcosmetics.com first, with distribution generally only broadened to retail customers after it receives strong consumer validation online.
e.l.f’s largest customers are Walmart and Target, which accounted for 29% and 25% of net sales in 2017, respectively, in 2017. All told, national and international retailers comprised 87% of sales in 2017, with the remaining 13% coming from e.l.f.’s direct-to-consumer channels, mainly e-commerce but from its own stores, the most recent of which bowed in Austin, TX.
In 2017, e.l.f. launched 128 new items, an increase of 40% over the prior year, including 39 products that were first-to-mass. Among the biggest introductions were Beauty Shield, an advanced skin care line, and e.l.f. Active, a range of sweat-resistant formulas.
e.l.f.’s launch pad has been active this year too, with 31 new SKUs rolling out in the first quarter alone. The emphasis continues to be on skin care as new products included Oil Control Primer Mist, Oil Control Blotting Powder, Pore Refining Regimen Kit, and Pore Refining Brush and Mask Tool. The brand says it continues to innovate across price points, too, launching five items sold at two dollars or less, including its top-selling Line and Define Eye Tape.
e.l.f. continues to improve its speed to market. According to sources, its average speed from initial idea to selling online in Q1 was 20 weeks, with the fastest launch in as few as 13 weeks. In addition, the company has also started working with its first US manufacturing partner, which it says brings additional capabilities in speed and innovation prototyping.