UGLY Drinks Raises for Expansion; Nike to Stop Selling on Amazon

Ugly raises funds

DTC’s Daily Digest brings you the latest news on the world’s fastest growing direct-to-consumer brands. In today’s edition: UGLY Drinks raises for expansion; Nike to stop selling on Amazon; and Ipsy launches in-house beauty brand.

UGLY Drinks raises for expansion

UGLY Drinks has announced the completion of a multi-million-dollar financing round with investors including Pentland Ventures and Steadman Partners (owned by Martin Dickie, the founder of BrewDog).

With the new investment, the British born brand will focus on expanding its presence in Europe, US sales and marketing, product innovation and its DTC business, strengthening its reach globally. The investment follows rapid growth in the UK, with 3000 new stockists secured in 2019. UGLY will hit the 5 million can milestone in the UK before the end of the year.

A year ago UGLY launched in the US, and is growing at pace having established a strong early retail foothold, a thriving e-commerce business and a growing base of Millennial and Gen Z consumers. Globally UGLY has seen 300% YOY growth.

Hugh Thomas, CEO and Founder of UGLY said: “This is a really significant fundraise for us, and will be instrumental in taking the business to the next level. The investment will not only help us to establish ourselves further in more competitive markets like the US, but strategically build our presence in Europe.

Nike to stop selling on Amazon

Nike will stop selling merchandise directly to Amazon, as part of its push to sell more directly to consumers. 

Nike rely on DTC

The abrupt halt will end a pilot test that Nike and Amazon launched together in 2017. At the time, Nike agreed to sell a limited product assortment to Amazon, in exchange for stricter policing of counterfeits and restrictions on unsanctioned sales of its products. That included Nike’s athletic footwear, apparel and accessories.

Prior to 2017, Nike had resisted such a deal with Amazon, focusing its attention on its own online marketplace and stores. The fear for many brands has always been that, by partnering with Amazon, a company loses control over how its brand is represented on the site.

Nike brings in roughly 30% of annual sales from its direct-to-consumer business. In the fiscal year ended May 31, 2019, Nike’s direct-to-consumer sales tallied USD$11.8bn, fueled by a 35% jump in online sales and same-store sales growth of 6%.

Ipsy launches in-house beauty brand

Beauty subscription service Ipsy is diversifying its business with the launch of its own in-house beauty brand, ‘Complex Culture.’

The brand offers a brush collection designed to do the work of multiple brushes, and intended to solve a common problem found among Ipsy users: according to the company, 85% of its members consider brushes a necessary tool in their daily beauty routine, but nearly 2 million of them find it confusing to know which brushes to use for any specific makeup application.

In total, the collection consists of eight multi-purpose brushes: a contour brush, an angled foundation brush, a concealer brush, a bronzer brush,  a highlighter and powder brush, and three different eye shadow brushes meant to target different areas of the eye. All brushes are vegan, cruelty-free and made from sustainably sourced materials, featuring exclusive ‘SYN-TECHTM’ bristles and biodegradable handles.

The move to create its own in-house brand marks the latest expansion of Ipsy’s business model as the company’s revenue continues to grow, reaching USD$500m in September 2019.

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