Case Study

Olaplex

In Focus

The company

  • Region: USA
  • Sector: Consumer
  • Stage: Large/Mega buyout
  • Type: Primary
  • Fund Vintage: 2020

Private Equity Manager (GP)

Case study

About the company

Launched in 2014, Olaplex is a fast-growing independent haircare brand with patent-protected products backed by science. It offers a suite of products that use its technologically proven “bond–building” (repairing, strengthening and protecting hair bonds) formula. The company is the number one bond-building brand in the professional channel and a top ranked global brand in specialty retail.

Investment rationale

  • Strong financial performance, with a 90% increase in net sales from 2019 to 2020.
  • In 2020, Olaplex was the number one haircare brand at Sephora (a popular retailer for beauty products) based on sales, and five of its products were the bestselling ones in their respective categories at Beauty Systems Group (one of the leading distributors globally for professional/salon use haircare products).
  • Large and growing global haircare market, particularly for products treating damaged hair.
  • Significant product line extension opportunities and expansion of addressable market through patented technology and e-commerce.

Our relationship

  • Pantheon has a well-established relationship with Advent International Group (“Advent”), dating back to 1998, and PIP is a primary investor in six Advent funds. Pantheon also holds an advisory board seat for various Advent funds.

Active management and value creation

During the investment period, Advent has worked with Olaplex to:

  • Strengthen its internal R&D team and successfully launch six new products (No. 0 Intensive Bond-Building Pre-Treatment in July 2020, No. 8 Bond Intense Moisture Mask in April 2021, No. 4-1 Moisture Mask in July 2021, No. 4P Blonde Enhancer Toning Shampoo in September 2021, No. 9 Bond Protector Nourishing Hair Serum in March 2022, and No. 4C Bond Maintenance Clarifying Shampoo in June 2022).
  • Expand into international markets and evaluate new market opportunities.
  • Navigate the business through the pandemic. Advent was able to use the digital expertise within its team to switch to an online sales-led strategy during the COVID-19 lockdowns when salons were closed. This enabled Olaplex to continue operating through the pandemic, and direct to consumer sales, which include Olaplex.com and sales through third-party eCommerce platforms, now account for 24% of its net sales as at March 2022.

Since the IPO of Olaplex in September 2021, Advent remains an active shareholder with three seats on Olaplex’s board of directors and continues to use its sector expertise and resources to support the company.

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