Belfast-based We Are Paradoxx, a sustainable plastics-free Irish haircare brand, has raised £3 million (€3.5 million) in investment with backers including Tom Singh, the founder of high street fashion chain New Look.
The company, which was founded and is led by "accidental activist" Yolanda Cooper, has just secured £700,000 as part of the larger seed round. Other backers include Northern Ireland-based investors, Techstart Ventures, CoFund NI and a number of business angels.
The start-up has developed a haircare range that is plastics-free, uses natural and organic vegan ingredients and is cruelty-free. It is also behind a three-in-one cordless hair tool called Supernova that consists of a straightener, wand and tong.
The company's products are sold online through its own website, on Amazon and through stockists that include Next, Fenwick, Harvey Nichols, ASOS, Meaghers and QVC.
The new funding is to be used to further expand into the US market, for new product development and for further research and development of hair tools as part of the company’s wider growth plans to extend their electricals offering.
It is making serious inroads into a global luxury haircare market that is anticipated to be worth $31.5 billion by 2027, with a projected compound annual growth rate of 5.9 per cent, according to Grand View Research.
“We are ambitious and we know there is a huge opportunity for We Are Paradoxx on a global scale,” said Ms Cooper.
The company has achieved 25 per cent year-on-year growth during the pandemic, with online sales jumping 137 per cent. Its products are currently distributed in 22 markets globally.
Ms Cooper set up We Are Paradoxx in early 2018, after a number of years working at Vita Liberata, the Co Antrim-based self-tanning brand founded by Alyson Hogg that was sold in a £27 million to Crown Laboratories three years ago.
‘The beauty industry produces more than 120 billion units of packaging globally and only 9 per cent of all plastic waste ever produced has been recycled. Consumers are no longer willing to accept this ignorance of the environment and so are seeking sustainable alternatives,” she said.
“At the same time, they are becoming increasingly discerning when it comes to what ingredients they apply to their skin. So a high-performance, clean and sustainable option is really attractive.”
Mr Singh, who founded New Look in 1969, growing the fashion chain from one store in Taunton, England, to a household name with almost 400 stores, is a board member of We Are Paradoxx. He has an estimated net worth of £310 million, according to the 2020 Sunday Times Rich List.
‘Continued innovation on new products, backed by excellent branding and marketing, has driven huge traction for the brand across multiple regions. The team’s focus, determination and energy is a huge driving force behind the We Are Paradoxx ethos and I’m excited to see where the next step of their journey takes them,” he said.