Black-Woman-Owned Beauty Brand Acquired by West Lane Capital Partners

Last updated on Apr 25, 2024

Posted on Apr 25, 2024

In a significant move within the beauty industry, Mented Cosmetics, a pioneering Black woman-owned beauty brand, has been acquired by West Lane Capital Partners. The acquisition marks a new chapter for Mented Cosmetics, known for its inclusive range of makeup products catering to women of all complexions.

Co-founded in 2017 by KJ Miller and Amanda E/J Morrison, Mented Cosmetics quickly gained acclaim for its mission to offer high-quality beauty solutions for women of color. The brand's inaugural product line, nude lipsticks designed specifically for women of color, became an instant hit and remains one of its best-selling items to date.

Since its inception, Mented Cosmetics has expanded its product offerings to include mascara, blush, eyeshadow, foundation, and more, all formulated to complement diverse skin tones. With prices ranging from $16.50 to $30, the brand has carved out a niche in the market, championing inclusivity and representation in beauty.

Initially relying on direct-to-consumer (DTC) distribution, Mented Cosmetics successfully transitioned to retail, with its products now available in major stores such as Ulta Beauty, Target, CVS, and Walgreens. However, the brand has faced challenges in retail distribution, leading to a strategic decision to refocus on DTC channels.

"Growing in retail requires a lot of capital because it's not just getting placed and that initial inventory, but it's all of the costs that come with staying on the shelf," explained KJ Miller. "There can be markdowns in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, and there can be shrinkage and damage in the tens of thousands of dollars every month."

Despite these challenges, Mented Cosmetics has continued to thrive, raising $9 million in venture capital funding to fuel its growth. However, in January 2024, the company temporarily halted sales on its website due to inventory issues, prompting a reassessment of its distribution strategy.

Now, with the acquisition by West Lane Capital Partners, Mented Cosmetics is poised for a new phase of growth and development. The brand will join West Lane's portfolio company Blooming Brands, alongside other beauty brands such as Blossom, By Blossom, and Blue Cross Nail Care. Yes, this means the brand is no longer Black-Owned.

"We saw a lot of opportunities to broaden Mented with the infrastructure we have at Blooming Brands to take it to the next level," said Michael Wentz, VP at West Lane Capital Partners.

As part of the acquisition, KJ Miller will remain active during the transition period, ensuring a seamless relaunch of Mented Cosmetics' e-commerce operations in summer 2024. Following her duties with the company, Miller plans to focus on content creation and teaching, leveraging her expertise and experience to empower others in the industry.

"They [West Lane Capital Partners] have extensive knowledge of the beauty industry," Miller remarked. "Beyond that, I respect and admire the team. We have seen a number of brands in the consumer space either not make it or be left with deals that they didn't feel great about, and I'm lucky to say I feel really great about our partner."

For Mented Cosmetics, the acquisition represents an opportunity to continue its mission of inclusivity and empowerment in beauty, with the support and resources of a strategic partner committed to its success. As the brand looks ahead to the future, it remains dedicated to pushing the industry forward and ensuring that all women feel seen and celebrated in the world of beauty.

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