Equity firm buys majority share of Iredale Cosmetics to help broaden firm's reach

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GREAT BARRINGTON — A private West Coast equity firm has purchased a majority stake in Iredale Cosmetics to guide the natural cosmetics company in an expansion of its e-commerce and retail operations.

"It's all about growth and to put us on the path to some real growth in some areas where we don't have a lot of experience," said Jane Iredale, the company's founder and CEO.

San Francisco Equity Partners, she told The Eagle, is experienced in retail and digital marketing that will help the company navigate a path that might also expand the international presence of the Jane Iredale brand, now sold in 50 countries worldwide.

"There are so many analytics that go into digital marking now," she added. "These people are really good at that."

Iredale said the 25-year-old company will not move from its Church Street headquarters. Details of the deal, which closed Monday, were not made public.

Iredale cosmetics are mineral-based, with ingredients that are free of synthetic preservatives and "chemicals of concern."

She said that with new makeup brands constantly sprouting up, the company had to pull in this expertise to compete in the market.

"We made a big difference in the way makeup is viewed, and we want to make sure we maintain our position," Iredale said. "There's a lot of new makeup out there — there's a new brand every minute. We want to make sure we're staying ahead of the curve."

San Francisco Equity specializes in "consumer businesses that have reached an inflection point in their development, where they can benefit not only from growth capital, but also from SFEP's operational, financial, and industry experience," according to a statement.

Scott Potter, the firm's managing partner, said the Jane Iredale products are "uniquely strong" and have "unsurpassed consumer loyalty."

Iredale also set out to reassure anyone thinking this deal means the company might leave town.

"I know the first question will be, `Are we staying in Great Barrington?' And the resounding answer to that is `yes.' There are no intentions to move the company. The Berkshires and Great Barrington are seen as major assets to the brand's authenticity — an important feature of all brands now."

Iredale said there wouldn't be any changes to staff, either. There might, however, be more time for her and her husband, company Chief Operating Officer Robert Montgomery, to take a bit more time off.

"Everybody is very secure and we have a great team here," she said.

Heather Bellow can be reached at hbellow@berkshireeagle.com or on Twitter @BE_hbellow and 413-329-6871.


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