TPR Holdings Undergoing Growth Spurt

Brian RobinsonTPR Holdings LLC’s Brian Robinson

Following what he calls “a flurry of activity over the past two years,” cosmetics entrepreneur Brian Robinson’s stable of beauty brands is undergoing exponential growth—both in number and variety. His firm, TPR Holdings LLC, founded in 2011, now counts eight lines across the skin, hair, fragrance and color categories.

Robinson initially made waves in the beauty industry with men’s grooming brand Zirh, which he has sold and subsequently reacquired twice from both Shiseido and P&G. (The line will make its debut at Bloomingdale’s this month.) Most recently, TPR dipped its foot into the color cosmetics pool with the acquisition of Cargo in July, and is poised to release fragrances from fashion icon Nicole Richie and red carpet staple Reem Acra in the coming months. Other properties include anti-aging line Freeze 24-7, prestige hair care range Oscar Blandi and brazen fragrance-maker FCUK.

ZirhItems from the Zirh product family.

“The common thread behind all the brands we’ve acquired is that they’ve had operational challenges but a proven historical sell-through,” Robinson said. Typical challenges can include unfavorable terms with vendors, packaging hiccups, distribution issues and a lack of social media outreach—all to which TPR brings its own specialized in-house resources.

“Our entire executive team consists of people from Shiseido, Bobbi Brown, L’Oréal and P&G—’been-there-done-that’ kind of people,” Robinson said. “Along with our fast and flexible entrepreneurial spirit, there is an extremely disciplined structure and business model we apply to any brands taken into the fold.”

With 16 year-old Cargo, for instance, Robinson saw a brand with enormous potential that stopped innovating when it became strapped for cash. “The focus became survival and the packaging became slightly bland—but the product still sold through,” he said. The first new launches under TPR’s watch, slated for early 2013, will emphasize the same innovations—such as natural formulation and biodegradable packaging—that first put the brand on the map.

While the color category represents a highly desirable space for TPR, Robinson is also touting the company’s varied fragrance launches. Nicole, Richie’s debut scent, impacted a sweeping 2,000 department stores last month, whereas Acra serves as more of a gem acquisition “that will increase our prestige and enable us to work with retailers at the top of the pyramid like Saks,” Robinson said.

“There really is an art to licensing,” he explained, “because you have to get a name at a specific point in its evolution.” Richie has become a style phenom recently with her House of Harlow 1960 and Winter Kate fashion and accessories lines, while Acra has all the makings of a successful fragrance license, Robinson said: she’s aspirational, affiliated with celebrities, and possesses both a unique backstory and international appeal.

Reem Acra Eau de Parfum will bow in October with a juice created by Firmenich’s Pierre Negrin and packaging by Lloyd and Co. “We also have another fragrance license to be announced soon,” Robinson teased. “It’s not necessarily a person, but an iconic name that means a lot to consumers all over the world.”

While TPR’s immediate aims include stabilizing its flurry of acquisitions, Robinson sees even bigger things ahead. “We’ve spent the last two years working to integrate all of our latest brands and plan to spend the next two years building the businesses and fixing what was wrong. Thereafter,” he said, “I look forward to seeing the benefits of our hard work.”

TPR Nicole
Ad visuals for the Reem Acra and Nicole Richie fragrances.

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