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Revolution Beauty: “Building a UK Global Beauty Brand”


You may not have heard of Revolution Beauty, and even less of their co-founder and creative heart Adam Minto. But if he has his way, that will soon change.

Tomorrow he will start the business he started eight years ago on the London Stock Exchange, valued at nearly £ 500 million. And that’s just the latest phase of his plan, he says.

“I really think we’re doing something completely different. I think we can build a global beauty business to challenge the big guys – companies that have always been there and usually take over companies like us. ‘

Versatile: Adam Minto by Revolution is already sold in 100 countries

Minto, who already sells in more than 100 countries, says it ditched the approaches of L’Oreal, Revlon, Unilever and Coty in order to stay independent.

“Every brand is eventually sold to these multinationals. What Revolution is trying to do for the consumer, for the business, and for our team, is to bring a positive view of the beauty industry and do what most companies cannot.

“I’ve made, designed and developed products for the big beauty brands all my life. But I felt that the industry had become elitist. That shouldn’t be controversial. But the industry had a bad image – only used models, retouching even beautiful people and forcing this version of beauty on the consumer.

“It was about perfection. I felt that the industry was out of date and needed to change. We use real people. We were cruel free from the start when, incredibly, the industry wasn’t. All these things that are completely natural to us: body positivity and reality. ”

Minto, 51, founded his first company in 1989 with his father Peter.

He was determined not to get into his father’s business in the cosmetic packaging industry. So they started their own company together – “not very imaginative” called Minto & Family, he says.

He soon found himself supplying companies like Revlon and Rimmel, as well as the Boots pharmacy, which brought high street prices to the industry. “It just exploded – I was in the right place at the right time. When we sold the business in 1999, I was making over 100 million lipsticks a year.

Several incarnations later, and a previous company that “just didn’t work out,” Minto met his current business partner Tom Allsworth, now chairman, and founded Revolution.

“With Tom, I got to know someone who really was the best person I had. I have a creative and branding background, and he has an operational background. He’s the ant for my December, as we say.

“I knew the industry inside out, I knew how to manufacture and how to scale production. I believed that digital would be the future – which seems crazy in retrospect as it is very obvious now, especially after the pandemic.

“But it wasn’t obvious then. Already over 90 percent of the mass [market] Beauty industry is still being sold through stores, I don’t think it will be in another seven years.

The couple are not satisfied with expanding their UK business first, but have already set global ambitions. “I developed a lot of brands for other companies and I realized they had made mistakes, focused on the UK and only went global much later. Of course, by then a competitor will come or the market will keep moving if you are ready. It’s similar with US brands. There are very few global brands. ‘

Since then, the two have assembled a team of industry veterans to help them grow and build a global infrastructure after receiving funding from a specialist beauty investment boutique, TSG Consumer, in 2017. Revolution now sells in stores in 45 countries and through e-commerce in more than 100 countries. Britain makes up a third, but America will be the biggest this year. Tomorrow, Allsworth and Minto will sell shares worth £ 15.6 million each and both will retain a stake of £ 78 million – just over 30 percent of the deal. Sales were £ 157.6 million for the 14 months ended February.

They have set up warehouse and logistics “hubs” in the UK, US and Australia, as well as on-site teams to manage facilities in a handful of specific countries.

“I wanted to build a digital first, global brand. I guess we wanted to build a mini L’Oreal or a mini Estee Lauder. We made a conscious decision to travel to very different places around the world as part of our strategy – for example in Poland and the Czech Republic. Completely different from Italy or Turkey.

“We did this mainly to build this global brand, to make sure the product offering would suit different tastes, different skin tones, and in some places price points, and to build operational infrastructure to support that growth. The consumer choice was the biggest problem: the difficulty of getting a concealer and foundation that matched skin tone, the difference in price and quality – that you had to pay a high price to get an amazing quality product. ‘

Minto says the company is now poised to become “one of the top 20 beauty companies in the world”.

Everyone smiles: Adam Minto says the company is now in a position to become “one of the top 20 beauty companies in the world”.

He says Revlon – which he already sells in individual retail stores – is the 20th largest beauty company with sales of $ 2.4 billion (£ 1.7 billion). Despite the early success, however, he points out that his exposure to these markets is still low. “Remember, we are very narrowly distributed right now. Only one dealer in each country. But we believe we can grow a similarly large company [to Revlon] over the next seven years. ‘ An annual turnover in the billions? ‘Yes, I think that’s possible at this time.’

Citing Asos and Boohoo as the companies that went public, he adds, “I believe the beauty market is going to go through the same kind of changes as the fashion market – balanced between digital and physical.”

On the eve of his stock market debut, he reflects on the journey he “began 32 years ago with my father”, who died 19 years ago almost to the day. “He would be very proud,” he says.

“People might think this is an overnight success – eight years might not seem like that long – but I’ve been in the industry for 32 years. So it has been a very long time to come here.

“I imagine the stock market as a form of independence. I’m certainly not criticizing anyone for being great people, but Jo Malone, Bobbi Brown, Mac Cosmetics, great brands, they had to be sold out.

“I have that privilege now. We owe it to the team and the industry not to sell out. Not that they did anything wrong. But I think we can take a different point of view by remaining independent. ‘

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