True makes investment in men’s make-up brand War Paint

True, a European retail and consumer sector specialist investor, has led an investment of over GBP1 million into a London-based men’s make-up brand, War Paint, co-investing with Redrice Ventures, led by Partner Robert Senior, the former CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi, and other angel investors. 

Since launching in 2018, War Paint has received a phenomenal amount of attention from the press and is the first men’s make up brand to have a fully stocked men’s makeup counter within the men’s section of major retailers such as John Lewis, Mr Porter and Harvey Nichols. The capital will be used by War Paint to strengthen its team and further drive brand awareness. Existing investors also participated in the funding round.

 
The business was founded by Danny Gray in 2018 and born out of his own experience of being bullied for his acne as a teenager – which led him to start using his sister’s concealer and foundation to give himself confidence.  Since launch, the business has attracted a highly diverse customer base and shown that men of all ages face similar issues in all walks of life. The business has now sold more than 50,000 units worldwide and will soon be taking to the skies in a partnership with Virgin Atlantic.
 
What has attracted us to the opportunity is the disruptive nature of the brand and the global relatability of Danny’s story. War Paint has the first mover advantage and its growth trajectory to date has been impressive.  Currently, the men’s make-up market is worth GBP1.14 billion and is predicted to grow 5 times over the coming years – placing War Paint in a great position to advantage of that growth.
 
Of course, the brand must take prospective consumers on an educational journey given the nascency of the market, particularly in the UK, however War Paint is on a mission to tackle these challenges and make male make-up more accessible to all.  A great example of how the team are already approaching this, is through their video series that tracks the highs and lows of a business breaking new ground.
 
True is Europe’s only vertically integrated retail and consumer innovation and investment firm, and our unique business model includes an innovation hub that engages dynamic founders in the sector as well as a partnership programme that includes leading players such as John Lewis, Abercrombie & Fitch, TJX and Primark.
 
True will utilise its network to help identify next-generation technologies that can help War Paint with its rapid commercial growth, both domestically and internationally.
 
Danny Gray, Founder & Matt Lumb, CEO, War Paint, say: “We’re both absolutely delighted to have partnered with such an established and reputable investment firm as True. Along with the investment itself we believe their wealth of experience and their broad network will catapult War Paint to the next level as we strive to be the global leader in the men’s makeup space. The fact we were able to finalise the investment during a global pandemic illustrates just how much belief everyone has in our amazing brand.”
 
Claire Cherry, Investment Principal, comments: “At True, our Seed Fund looks to invest in disruptive businesses that are at the forefront of the consumer behavioural shift, we are delighted to be partnering with War Paint for their next stage of rapid growth.   The business is ideally positioned to drive growth in the men’s make-up market due to its customer centric and relatable brand positioning, digital-first business model and high quality product range.”
 
Redrice Ventures Partner and former CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi, Robert Senior, adds: “Danny has a plan, a dream and relentless energy to help men’s’ mental health by giving them accessible confidence via men’s make up. War Paint is not only a category defining brand it is also a truly modern brand. Redrice is a partnership of experienced operators committed to helping founders navigate today’s complexities and opportunities and we’re delighted to be investing in War Paint and being there for Danny.”