Ouai, the prestige hair care brand founded by Jen Atkin, has been acquired by beauty heavyweight Procter & Gamble for an undisclosed sum.
The brand was established in 2016 by SOS Beauty – the team behind Patrick Ta Beauty and Fable & Mane – and got Millennials and Gen Zers excited about hair care.
First entering the market via a small selection of Sephora stores, Ouai is now at the centre of many beauty sellers’ hair care offer, and is tipped to earn US$50m in sales in 2021 and $30m more in 2022.
Ouai gradually expanded outside of hair care to launch a selection of body, fragrance and lifestyle products.
Atkin, who counts Dua Lipa, Hailey Beiber and members of the Kardashian-Jenner dynasty among her clients, is expected to stay on as founder and Chief Creative Officer, while her number two, former L’Oréal veteran Colin Walsh, will remain in the Chief Executive position.
The Ouai team’s jobs are thought to be safe.
“I’m excited about this new type of relationship between a younger socially connected brand and one of the largest companies in the world,” said Atkin.
“They’re excited about the brand, are passionate about what we do and how we do it, and can support us in many ways. They’re the best at building global brands so the opportunities are limitless.
“I appreciate the fact they will let us at Ouai continue to think differently and invent as we go. I have long term ideas about the ever-changing beauty industry and am excited to be rooted within P&G.”
For P&G, this is the multinational’s first takeover in the prestige hair care sector, which is currently enjoying a surge in popularity.
“We are so pleased to add Ouai to our P&G Beauty portfolio,” added Alex Keith, CEO of P&G Beauty.
“It is a beautiful brand rooted authenticity with a highly connected community, all of which make it unique. It fills a gap in our portfolio as a modern prestige offering that is beloved by Gen Z and Millennials.
“Jen and her team have grown a brand that is beautiful, efficacious, clean and sustainable – all important values for both of our companies, as well as the Beauty consumer.”
According to NPD Group, after experiencing double digital growth from April to September, in Q3 prestige hair care sales were up 36%.
Ouai will sit alongside P&G staple brands Herbal Essences, Pantene, Aussie and Head & Shoulders.
Meanwhile, the deal is P&G’s second premium category acquisition in a matter of weeks, after it invested in its skin care portfolio with a buyout of cult brand Farmacy Beauty.
Terms of the agreement have not been released and the transaction will require regulatory approval.