What are the options for a successful new cosmetics company like Pixi, whose founders have the impetus to expand but lack the financial firepower to do so? Rebecca Hoar reports.
Pixi is more than just a pretty face. The make-up company founded in 1999 by three Swedish sisters has held its own in a crowded market, during a difficult economic climate. A Pixi makeover is several lipstick shades away from the heavily mascara'd and rouged horrors of the traditional department store assistants, and beauty editors rave about the quality of the goods. 'Hip', 'fresh', 'cult favourite', 'the Estee Lauders of the future' ... these are a few of the tributes that Petra, Sofia and Sara Strand can tuck away in their vanity cases.
Yet the fresh-faced trio now face difficult decisions. Pixi has reached a crossroads in its development. To date, the company has one shop, in London's Soho, and counters in five Pure Beauty stores. Pixi's multi-hued lipglosses and eye colours, with average prices between pounds 15 and pounds 25, are also sold in Brown's in America. As a new brand, they're funkier than the long-established Chanel or YSL, and they've slotted easily into the young, up-market niche first carved by Stila and Urban Decay. Yet without serious funding, Pixi can't move forward. 'We could do two things,' says Petra, the eldest. 'We could grow organically over the next year, take it slowly and do things on a shoestring. Or we could finalise the business plan and look for investment, probably with a business angel with retail experience, or maybe a venture capitalist.'