Was Tatcha acquired by Unilever? What’s the current status of this cruelty-free brand.
There are reports that this well-loved cruelty-free skincare brand has been acquired by Unilever. Tatcha is well loved in the beauty community and has several cult favorite products. They have long been known as a cruelty-free brand with some vegan options too.
Tatcha is currently available at Sephora, Barney’s, Violet Grey, and other high-end retailers. It’s rumored that Tatcha has generated around $100 million in sales in 2018 alone. Some of their vegan-friendly best-sellers are The Water Cream, Pure One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil, Gold Camellia Beauty Oil, and Camellia Gold Spun Lip Balm.
What could this mean for the Tatcha cruelty-free status? In this post, I’ll share what is rumored now and will update as more details become available.
WWD is reporting that Tatcha has been acquired by Unilever for a sum that approaches $500 million. This would be a massive acquisition and one of the largest that Unilever has made.
Was Tatcha acquired by Unilever?
Unilever today announced it has signed an agreement to acquire leading prestige skincare brand, Tatcha. Founded in 2009 by Victoria Tsai in San Francisco with an innovation centre in Japan known as the Tatcha Institute, Tatcha is a modern skincare brand rooted in classical Kyoto rituals. The brand has become a cult favourite introducing Japanese skincare to other parts of the world.
Tatcha works with scientists in Japan and the US to create each formula from a foundation of green tea, rice and algae known as Hadasei-3™, a trinity of anti-aging superfoods born from the Japanese diet and the timeless wonder of Japan for transformative beauty, inside and out. Famous for its exceptional product experience with a focus on natural ingredients, exquisite design and packaging quality, customer favorites include the luxurious Luminous Dewy Skin Mist, The Silk Canvas primer, The Water Cream moisturizer, and The Deep Cleanse Exfoliating Cleanser.Vasiliki Petrou, Unilever EVP and CEO Prestige, said: ‘We are delighted to have Tatcha joining our portfolio of Prestige brands. Inspired by Japanese pure beauty rituals, Tatcha is one of the best performing beauty brands in North America, famous for its exceptional product experience and unique combination of natural ingredients and high product efficacy. Thanks to Vicky’s passion and expertise, iconic products like The Water Cream and The Silk Canvas have become the cornerstone of long-term consumer loyalty. We are really looking forward to working with this amazing team and to continuing to grow the brand globally.’
Victoria Tsai, Founder of Tatcha said: ‘When creating Tatcha, our dream was to make a brand that would live for at least 100 years; that dream can come true in our new home with Unilever. We are overjoyed to have found a parent to grow globally with, and to have a purpose-driven partner to ensure we can have a positive impact in our communities as we grow.’
The brand is distributed through prestige retailers predominantly in the US and has an outstanding social media and digital presence. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The transaction is expected to close in Q3 2019.
I think it’s best to hold back assumptions on how this could impact Tatcha’s cruelty-free status until statements have been made. We don’t know if Tatcha acquired by Unilever will change much, if anything, for the brand at this time.
While not all of them are cruelty-free, some brands Unilever has acquired have maintained their cruelty-free stance. Some cruelty-free brands owned by Unilever are Seventh Generation, Schmidt’s Naturals, Dermalogica, Murad, REN Clean Skincare, and Hourglass Cosmetics.
Unilever currently owns over 400 brands in a variety of sectors, including personal care and beauty. Some non-beauty brands owned by Unilever are Tazo Teas, Pukka Herbs, Sir Kensington’s, and Ben & Jerry’s. Unilever’s venture capital and private equity arm have also invested in several small beauty brands such as True Botanicals, Dr. Roebuck’s, and Beauty Bakerie. It’s also currently rumored that Unilever is putting in bids to purchase both Drunk Elephant and Charlotte Tilbury.
Acquisitions like this always make cruelty-free consumers nervous because it’s hard to know what it could mean for a brand’s cruelty-free stance.
Some brands get acquired because they have grown as much as they can on their own and need various business connections to meet consumer demands. Others get acquired to help them reach new markets and to be more easily available to their current customer base. This does not always mean expanding into regions like China. For some brands, it means making products more available in Europe and other regions where they just have a small presence.
I personally think it’s best to not assume that it means a brand may no longer be cruelty-free until statements are made from the brand themselves. Many brands who have been acquired by larger companies do remain cruelty-free. It’s not always a negative thing. It can make cruelty-free brands more accessible to people that might have a harder time finding them. More and more, brands are listening to what their current customers want and taking that into account with their contracts as well.
Some consumers avoid brands who have a parent company that is not cruelty-free. For those consumers, this means that Tatcha may no longer be a brand that they support. I think this decision is up to each individual and it’s important to let all brands know that cruelty-free is important to you as a consumer and how it factors into your decision to purchase. This is why these brands remain featured on Logical Harmony, my YouTube channel, and my Instagram, but always have a notation next to them for those who are interested.
What do you think about this acquisition? Will it impact your feelings about Tatcha?
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