Hilary Duff and Chelsea Handler invest in Nudestix

Nudestix has two new celebrity investors — Hilary Duff and Chelsea Handler.

Investment from Duff and Handler — and potential project collaborations, teased chief executive officer Jenny Frankel — will help propel the brand into its next phase.

“They’re both, in our opinions, these amazing babe bosses,” Frankel said. “Both of them are very into the ‘less is more’ approach to beauty. They’re very interested in supporting female brands…stay tuned, there could even be a potential collaboration in the fall.”

Duff, who also invested in skin-care brand Kopari in 2017, said in a statement that she became “obsessed” with Nudestix when she started using the brand. “The textures are amazing and the products are so easy to use. It makes my makeup routine a breeze. You can amp it up for a night out, but I mainly love that the tones and textures are really just to enhance your natural beautiful self,” Duff said.

For Handler, investing in a women-run business was a draw, she said in a statement. “I love that Nudestix is a female-founded brand and emphasizes natural beauty. It’s super simple for me to achieve an easy ‘nude, but better’ look,” Handler said.

Duff and Handler join Alliance Consumer Growth, a private equity firm that invested in the stick-oriented makeup brand in 2015. “Because of all the growth and what our next three years look like, we did a three-year plan, and raised some more money just to make sure we can get through our growth plans,” Frankel said.

“We’re looking to literally more than triple our business over the next three years,” Frankel said. According to industry sources, that would put Nudestix between 85 million and 100 million Canadian dollars, or $64.7 million and $76.1 million, in retail sales.

Nudestix was started in 2014 by Frankel and her two daughters and cofounders, Taylor and Ally. The idea was a “less is more” approach to beauty inspired by Taylor and Ally’s aversion to full faces of makeup-y-looking makeup. Nudestix’s products come mostly in stick form, and can be smudged on with fingers instead of meticulously applied with brushes.

At the end of 2018, Nudestix was in about 740 retail locations globally, with Sephora as its global retail partner. The brand rolled out in the Middle East and launched in India with about 20 stockkeeping units. Thus far, the Indian market is as productive as the average Canadian door, Taylor Frankel noted.

For 2019, the brand will refocus its efforts on Europe, where it will launch in Germany, and use a distributor to enter countries in northeastern Europe, Spain and Israel. Nudestix, which entered China in 2017, also plans to deepen its exposure in Asia through new Sephora locations in Hong Kong and South Korea, which are expected to open in 2019.

The business hired Karoline Kanani as executive vice president and Nouman Javaid, e-commerce director, to ramp up e-commerce operations. That initiative will be helped by exclusive products, including the brand’s first skin-care products, expected to launch online in the fall, and four beauty boxes that will roll out throughout the year.

Nudestix will also work to deepen penetration in existing markets, including the U.S., where it sells at Sephora and Ulta Beauty, as well as nordstrom.com, the Frankels said.

Product-wise, growth is expected to come from expansion in the complexion assortment. The brand has new shades of its Nudies Matte Blush & Bronze, including one designed with celebrity makeup artist Mary Phillips. Phillips did a collection with the brand in 2018, and will continue her relationship with Nudestix through 2019.

Nudestix also released its first non-stick product, the Magnetic Nude Glimmer Highlighter, which comes in a tube with doe-foot applicator. The company plans to continue to deviate from its standard stick format for some products going forward, though products are likely to remain “stick-ish,” the Frankels said.

In addition to Phillips, the brand is partnering with makeup artist Jose Corella, Taylor Frankel noted. But its influencer strategy broadly has evolved since the founding days, and it has started to build an affiliates program with affiliate discount codes and a commission structure.

“Eighteen months ago, you could get a lot of meaningful influencers to just be excited for p.r.,” Jenny Frankel said. “Now, there’s usually a larger paid relationship.”

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