MyShowcase, the leading distributor of independent beauty products in the UK, has raised £1.6m in a Series A funding round to fuel expansion. MyShowcase was created in 2012 by Nancy Cruickshank (founder of handbag.com) and Kate Shapland (former beauty correspondent at the Daily Telegraph) to answer the needs of the many innovative, high quality beauty brands that struggle to get national distribution. MyShowcase raised the fresh capital from UK angels in a round managed by D5 Capital.
Often referred to as ‘Space NK meets Avon’, MyShowcase helps women discover the best independent beauty brands in the comfort of a social event at their house or a friend’s home. Customers can then re-order products via the Company’s website. The distributors (‘Stylists’) are self-employed women that either wish to earn some extra money to supplement their day job or are business builders that want a career developing their own distribution network. To date, MyShowcase has recruited 1,000 Stylists and the rate of growth is accelerating, as successful Stylists attract others into the network.
New Stylists pay £199 for a starter pack that contains £400 worth of products to use as demonstrators.at ‘Showcases’ – basically social shopping sessions. Commissions paid to Stylists range from 15% for new starters to 33% as the volume of a Stylist’s sales (and their network’s sales) grow. Stylists use the website platform – developed by Olivier de Beau de Lomenie, who created the Ocado shopping site – to plan their Showcases, make their sales (these are sent direct from the warehouse, Stylists don’t have to buy the stock) and get training for themselves and their teams.Stylists that recruit teams of distributors can earn commission on their sales as well…resulting in rising income for the true business builders. Top Stylists can be earning £10,000 per annum quite quickly if they dedicate time to MyShowcase and build a network of Stylists.
MyShowcase is targeting the £17bn annual spend on beauty products in the UK ($160bn globally), an industry dominated by high street sales – less than 3.5% of annual sales take place online. On average, women in the UK spend £100,000 on beauty products over their lifetime. The industry is also a busy sector in terms of innovation: 40% of patents applied for annually in Europe were for beauty products in 2013. MyShowcase has rapidly become the dominant channel to market for many of its 38 curated brands.
Sales at MyShowcase have risen six fold in the past 12 months from £0.5m in 2014 to £3m in 2015, driven by the popularity of the products and the social shopping format which allows ‘no pressure’ shopping and honest advice from friends and Stylists. The Company’s warehouse is based in South London, delivering products direct to customers nationwide.
Commenting on the funding round, CEO Nancy Cruickshank said: “The funding is a strong endorsement for our business model.and growth trajectory. Beauty is an enormous market in the UK, yet there are hundreds of independent brands that simply cannot get into department stores or high street chains. We are answering a definite need for the brands, the customers and the stylists. Our aim is to provide an exciting and remunerative part time career for women all over the world, so that they can earn money doing something they love.”
For further information:
Rupert Ashe, CEO D5 Capital
M: +44 7775 781803