Following the acquisition, Francisco Costa, who launched the clean skin care brand in December 2018, will take on the role of chief creative officer at Amyris, a company best known for its biotech and chemical work as a supplier of sustainable ingredients — in particular, squalane — to beauty behemoths like Estée Lauder and L’Oréal.
With its reputation as more of a behind-the-scenes player, Amyris is perhaps an unlikely suitor for Costa Brazil, but Costa told BoF that the company’s science-heavy foundation was a primary reason why he was intrigued by them in the first place. The former Calvin Klein creative director looked to his native Brazil in creating the brand, sourcing ingredients from the Amazon. Under Amyris’s ownership, Costa Brazil will be able to use their expertise and further scale those processes and its product development, he said.
“It opens the door to a lot more innovation on our end,” he said. “With this corporation, we can challenge ourselves to create more interesting, better products that are, perhaps not even on the market yet.”
Amyris chief executive John Melo said he was drawn to Costa Brazil because of its work around ingredient sourcing.
“I love what [Costa’s] done to develop a real, clean, authentic formulation from this amazing ingredient from the Amazon that a lot of us really have not experienced yet,” he said.
For Amyris, the acquisition is a boost to the consumer-facing side of its portfolio, a growing segment of its business that tripled in size from 2019 to 2020, amounting to nearly half of its total revenue. It currently owns three consumer brands, including one in the beauty space — clean skin care label Biossance. It has also announcement the development of two others, a clean haircare line with “Queer Eye” star Jonathan Van Ness and Clean Beauty Collaborative, Inc., a new company founded with Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. (It also owns Pippete, a skin care brand for babies, and sugar substitute Purecane.)
Part of Costa’s new role as Amyris’s chief creative officer will be to better equip the consumer-facing side of the business. Costa’s purview will include marketing and consumer experience on all of Amyris’s brands, though his focus will remain on Costa Brazil.
“We want clean not to be just the formulation and the impact, but the full feel of the experience a consumer has with one of our brands,” said Melo.
With new backing comes growth opportunities for Costa Brazil, too. Once the deal closes, which is expected to occur no later than the end of March, the priority will be expanding the brand into new markets, including China, reaching growth levels Costa said “would have taken me 20 years to do on my own.”