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Beauty brand Merit to enter the UK market

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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Business |Beauty

Image: Merit

US-based minimalist beauty brand Merit, loved by celebrities including Bella Hadid and Cameron Diaz, is launching in the UK with a direct-to-consumer website.

Merit was founded in 2021 by Katherine Power, an editor turned consumer-brand builder, chief executive, and investor focusing on creating products and businesses that connect to millennial and Gen Z consumers.

As well as being the driving force behind Merit, Power is also the chief executive and founder of the clean, community-fuelled skincare brand Versed, sold direct-to-consumer and in retail chains like Target, Walmart, Boots, and Shoppers Drug Mart. Power also co-founded the fashion and lifestyle website Who What Wear with Hillary Kerr in 2006 and launched clean wine company Avaline with Cameron Diaz in 2018.

Merit launched in the US and Canada in January 2021 with its "five-minute morning" colour cosmetics assortment, and now the minimalist beauty line is launching in the UK with a direct-to-consumer website, meritbeauty.com, on February 20.

Image: Merit

The American brand is growing in the US, tapping into the consumer interest in the simplification of beauty routines, as well as its holistic approach to responsible luxury, by creating products that are safe for the body, skin and planet, utilising skin-loving ingredients like plant-based squalane, vitamin B5 and antioxidants.

In addition, all its make-up and skincare products are vegan, Leaping Bunny-certified cruelty-free and meet both Clean at Sephora and EU compliance. The brand also ensures its products are safe for all skin types through its partnership with Biba de Sousa, a Hollywood-favourite facialist known for her ‘No List’ of 73 clean but potentially acne-triggering ingredients and is involved in the brand’s product development and testing process.

Katherine Power’s minimalist beauty brand Merit to launch in the UK

Merit has experienced exponential growth since its launch, exceeding its Y1 sales goal in its first two weeks of business solely through its DTC website, and has continued to outperform its revenue targets ever since. The brand is also driving growth through an aggressive retail expansion strategy, including launching in Sephora in the US and Canada.

After a successful launch in 2021, Power raised 20 million US dollars in a Series A funding round led by L Catterton’s Growth Fund, with participation from Marcy Ventures and Sonoma Brands. This investment was earmarked to accelerate Merit’s rapid expansion into an omni-channel, cross-category beauty brand, grow its colour cosmetics collection and expand into new categories.

Image: Merit

Demand is high for Merit’s minimalist classics from British beauty consumers, adds the brand, with the UK having the largest traffic source of any region outside of North America on Merit’s website, and the brand has received thousands of enquiries about when it has plans for a British debut.

The UK launch will initially be online only, added the brand, but British consumers will be able to purchase Merit’s entire range of curated products, designed to offer an “edited alternative to the overwrought routines touted by the beauty industry”.

Aila Morin, founding senior vice president at Merit, said in a statement: “Following a successful two years growing Merit in the US and Canada, we’re looking forward to expanding to the UK, where we see strong alignment between our core ethos and the beauty needs of consumers.

“British buyers are busier than ever, and are looking for products that meet their high expectations for quality and versatility. We already have a strong community of fans in the UK, and we’re so excited to be able to bring our approach to responsible luxury to the market.”

Merit to introduce its "five-minute morning" beauty routine to the UK

The brand’s hero product is ‘The Minimalist’ perfecting complexion stick, a combination foundation and concealer lightweight face stick, available in 20 shades designed to give buildable coverage while maintaining the translucent, multidimensional quality of real skin.

Other highlights include the ‘Flush Balm Cheek Colour,’ a cream tint cheek colour available in five shades, and the ‘Day Glow Highlighting Balm,’ which offers a translucent base to reflect light and illuminate the skin. There is also a lash-lengthening mascara, a brow pomade, tinted lip oils and lipsticks, as well as a sheer bronzer.

Merit also introduced its first step into skincare last year with a lightweight, ‘Great Skin’ bi-phase serum that instantly hydrates and plumps skin for a healthy glow, and it offers a cruelty-free blending brush that aims to offer a natural, almost-airbrushed finish.

Merit’s DTC website launches in the UK on February 22, with individual products priced from 26 to 40 pounds.

Katherine Power