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Saturday, Apr 20, 2024

Makeup Moguls

Morphe Holdings, a makeup company that got its start in Pacoima and focuses on bold colors and attention-grabbing looks, last month announced a partnership with General Atlantic. The New York-based global growth equity firm will acquire a majority stake in Morphe, alongside existing investor Summit Partners and co-founders Chris and Linda Tawil, according to a statement from Morphe. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. “We are proud of what we have achieved through the success of Morphe Holdings and our marquee brand Morphe,” said Myles McCormick, chief executive of Morphe Holdings. “General Atlantic’s investment will position us for our next phase of growth as we continue to grow Morphe and expand to develop a new global platform with a portfolio of next-generation beauty brands.” General Atlantic will act as a strategic partner to Morphe, fueling the company’s continued global expansion. Also last month, the company won the Valley Economic Alliance’s Star of the Valley award in business. The economic development organization picked Morphe, which is now headquartered in San Francisco, for its positive message to the creators and those who value individuality, the Economic Alliance said in a statement. Fred Velarde, Morphe’s senior director of operations, and Adriane Peyton, senior supervisor of people, accepted the award on behalf of the company at the Aug. 23 event in Glendale. “The Alliance is proud to honor extraordinary individuals and organizations in the Valley each year at our Gala,” said Chairman Randy Witt. “These award-winning Stars of our Valley bring positive recognition to this region, care for and empower people, contribute to our community and its economy, and most of all, lead by example.” Past Star of the Valley business award recipients include Maria’s Italian Kitchen, Second Sight, Comcast/NBCUniversal, Wells Fargo & Co., Providence Health & Services, Curb Records, The Daily News, Walt Disney Co. and the Westfield Group. Trade show travels The Tawils, a brother and sister duo, started the company in 2008 as a trade show business and – fast forward more than 10 years – the company has ‘morphed’ into a 250-employee business with 23 stores and counting. The company is known for its celebrity endorsers and collaborators like Jeffree Star, Manny MUA and Jaclyn Hill, with a powerful voice on social media to match its bold palettes. “The one thing that sets Morphe apart are our Morphe Babes,” Linda Tawil, referring to the company’s celebrity collaborators, said in an interview with British beauty company LookFantastic. “They truly are our family, and we wouldn’t have made it this far without all their love and support. Social media has been crucial in spreading the word about our products and our brand. We started on Instagram in 2012 and now have more than 8 million Instagram followers.” Most of Morphe’s endorsers are male, showing how the brand combats cultural standards and cultivates gender neutral makeup products. Bestsellers in-store and online include collaborator-inspired products like Jaclyn Hill’s eyeshadow palette and Jeffree Star artistry palette, alongside Morphe’s beauty brush collections. The company’s early products were brushes for Hollywood makeup artists. The turning point for Morphe came with the launch of its Instagram page in 2012. Word spread through the social media site and the company’s first store was established in 2013, which is still at 3424 W. Magnolia Blvd. in Burbank. Soon after opening, the Burbank store became a hot spot for professional makeup artists and garnered a cult following for makeup enthusiasts. “We heard from people all over the country about how they made the drive to Burbank to be able to see all their fave products in one place, or how they planned a stop to the Morphe store during a family vacation to Disneyland. That was a real eye-opening moment for us,” said Tawil during the LookFantastic interview. The rapidly expanding business is a far cry from its early days, with the Tawils traveling more than 20 times per year across the U.S. The duo would drive their tradeshow setup and merchandise from state to state to save on shipping costs, and would set up, break down and work each show themselves, according to the LookFantastic story. The company’s newest brick-and-mortar stores can be found in the U.K., including Westfield Stratford City, Bullring Birmingham and Liverpool. Morphe also wholesales its products to major beauty chains including Ulta, Sephora and most recently Boots, a retailer and pharmacy in the U.K.

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