The luxury marketplace announced on a February call with investors that it was committed to developing the beauty category in the coming year, although details of what that would look like remain unknown. Now, a report in WWD speculates that Farfetch may enter a partnership — or potentially acquire — Violet Grey, the Los Angeles-based upscale beauty retailer co-founded by Cassandra Grey.
Farfetch and Violet Grey have had discussions several times over the years, but Farfetch is nowhere near finalising its beauty strategy, sources close to both companies told BoF.
While Farfetch’s previous partnership with UK-based Space NK launched in 2016 — a Violet Grey competitor with far greater reach — did not last, Violet Grey’s gold-standard product offering — it sells the crème de la crème of beauty lines, including Augustinus Bader and Westman Atelier — and prestigious reputation with consumers could be an asset. If it develops beauty on its own, it will have to spend time building relationships with beauty brands as it has with fashion.
But does an acquisition make sense? Violet Grey has already raised significant capital — public records show at least $29 million, including a small round of debt financing in April 2020 — but has yet to develop its physical retail network, still an important channel in the beauty category.
Besides Amazon, there has not yet been a beauty marketplace to legitimately challenge Sephora or Ulta, and Farfetch is strategically positioned to develop such a property at the high end of the market.
A representative for Farfetch declined to comment on the rumours and Violet Grey did not immediately respond to a request for comment.