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Farfetch Adds Luxury Beauty Via Violet Grey Acquisition

Farfetch Ltd. is laying the groundwork for its beauty category launch later this year through the acquisition of Violet Grey for an undisclosed sum.

Cassandra Grey launched the luxury beauty firm in 2014, which has become a destination for well-heeled consumers. In addition to its magazine-style editorial content, the beauty company has also been the launchpad for many of today’s global brands.

“Violet Grey was founded with a simple, straightforward mission—to enable customers to feel confident in their purchase decisions through products and recommendations they can trust. Our not-so-secret sauce? Partnering with those who are the best at what they do. By working with the best beauty experts to curate the best products from the best beauty brands, we serve our community of customers who subscribe to the notion that, ‘Only the best will do,’ Grey wrote in a blog post Friday in connection with the firm’s purchase by Farfetch.

The founder wrote about earning the trust of its customers, collaborators and confidants, and catching the attention of “global tastemaker” Farfetch, a firm that shares Violet Grey’s “obsession with earning customer trust” and has established itself as the “choice luxury fashion platform by connecting curators, creatives, and customers in a way that has revolutionized your consumer experience.”

Grey also said the acquisition will help bridge the gap between luxury fashion and beauty commerce, allowing the beauty retailer to share its “coveted community and distinct point of view with a global audience.”

“We’ve had our eye on Farfetch since its inception and I have long admired José’s love of fashion and his inspired mission to connect curators, creatives and customers in a way that revolutionizes the consumer experience and meets us wherever we are,” Grey said in a statement. José Neves is founder, chairman and CEO of Farfetch.

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“The acquisition of Violet Grey is an important step ahead of the launch of Beauty on Farfetch later this year and will form part of our overall beauty strategy ‘palette.’ It will enable us to offer our informed and engaged customers a curated selection of the industry’s most sought-after products on the Farfetch Marketplace, joining a world of beauty brands, from the iconic leading global brands, to smaller brands with a cult following,” Stephanie Phair, Farfetch’s chief customer officer, said.

Phair added that the company’s aim for its beauty category is to “provide the world’s most expansive, curated edit of the best products to serve customers across ages, races, cultures and genders in an ‘Only on Farfetch’ way. We’ll be able to show our customers an immersive crossover between fashion and beauty, leveraging our innovation capabilities to offer exciting features for our customers. Farfetch will bring together niche and global brands to transform the beauty retail experience, creating an environment that offers beauty without boundaries.”

The Farfetch beauty platform will give its millennial and Gen Z luxury consumers an experience for discovering and shopping brands that also allow access to insights and expertise from experts. In addition, the online marketplace will give brand partners an “opportunity to reach Farfetch’s millions of engaged luxury customers through co-branding and marketing opportunities to target the global luxury beauty market,” the company said. The market is estimated at $9 billion, according to Farfetch, which noted that beauty is the second largest category within the global personal luxury market after leather goods and ahead of apparel, citing to a Bain Altgamma Luxury Study that was published in November 2021.

Farfetch said the beauty firm also will leverage Farfetch Platform Solutions’ expertise in technology, global logistics and operations as it continues to drive its stand-alone business on VioletGrey.com and its Los Angeles store.

The transaction is still subject to customer closing conditions, including the consent of Violet Grey’s existing shareholder base. Upon the close, Cassandra Grey will become global advisor for beauty on the Farfetch Marketplace and co-founder of NGG Beauty, where she will work to incubate and accelerate new brands. NGG is part of New Guards Group. She will also be chairman of Violet Grey, providing overall strategic and creative direction. Niten Kapadia, former vice president of operations at Farfetch, becomes managing director for Violet Grey.

The deal for Violet Grey isn’t Farfetch’s first acquisition. Previous acquisitions include Browns and Stadium Goods, and the New Guards Group, a platform for the development of global fashion brands. The company in December acquired Luxclusif as it made a bigger bet on the luxury resale market. And Farfetch is still in discussions with Richemont on a deal to acquire a minority stake in Yoox-Net-A-Porter.