LONDON – Alexia Inge will leave Cult Beauty eight months after the company was sold to THG, WWD learned.
The co-founder and co-CEO of Cult, the online beauty and wellness retailer, said the sale to THG, formerly known as The Hut Group, was “a milestone in the company’s history. I am excited to watch the next chapter for the company as it grows more and more into its excellent position as part of the THG Beauty portfolio. “
Inge described the £ 275 million deal as “recognition of Cult Beauty’s incomparable portfolio of emerging and independent brands and loyal community of beauty enthusiasts”.
He added that Cult Beauty’s brand and mission “continues as a powerful standalone business, powered by THG Ingenuity, to drive further international expansion and technical innovation.”
As reported, THG acquired Cult Beauty in August in cash and debt-free from private shareholders, including Inge and majority investor Mark Quinn-Newall, who also co-founded Net-a-porter.
The deal centered around Cult Beauty’s close partnerships with independent beauty brands that were not available on THG’s e-commerce platform at the time. Cult Beauty offers more than 300 brands, including the likes of Drunk Elephant, Charlotte Tilbury, and Huda Beauty, most of which had no other presence on THG beauty sites at the time.
Cult Beauty has been a pioneer in the online beauty space, offering niche brands and categories; showcase brands with an editorial flair and steer clear of discounts. The site spoke directly to the obsession with beauty; regularly reported on seasonal and consumer trends, while remaining sensitive and responsive to the needs of its audience.
Inge did not explain why she left, but her departure coincides with a difficult period for THG, which suffered an annus horribilis in 2021, due to a number of factors. They included co-founder Matthew Molding’s oversight of the company, the exact value and function of the various activities under the umbrella of THG and corporate governance.
THG has promised to change and clarify the way the company is managed and governed.
The company’s share price has dropped nearly 86% over the past year, with shares worth £ 0.94. According to industry sources, THG has not paid Cult Beauty’s suppliers, although a THG spokesperson said that is not true.
Inge, who co-founded the company 14 years ago, said she is proud to have turned Cult Beauty into the “most trusted and loved beauty shop in the world. I feel that we have not only passed [our] dreams, but he also built a significant community along the way, all on a total investment of £ 1.75m.
He thanked the “superstars who worked alongside me to transform Cult Beauty into the special business it is today. I’d like to thank our brands, which literally represent the best in the business. Thanks to our incredible community of customers from around the world for continuing to be our biggest supporters and inspiration. “
Earlier this year, Rachel Horsefield, CEO of THG Beauty, said the division was moving forward. She said retail platforms Lookfantastic and Cult Beauty were growing, as were THG-owned brands including Christophe Robin, Perricone MD, ESPA, and Glossybox.
“We continue to accelerate our efforts in replicating this brand building model, driving new product and brand discovery with our customers and providing an online retail destination where customers can make their purchases with ease and convenience. around the world, “WWD said in February.
“Online penetration will continue to increase, so we see great opportunities as a key digital player at the heart of the beauty industry, helping beauty brands move from brick and mortar to online,” Horsefield added.