Pat Mcgrath: Meet The Entrepreneur Whose New Cosmetic’s Line Is Worth More Than Kylie’s

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Recently, Kylie Jenner, the youngest member of the Kardashian clan, graced the cover of Forbes’ august issue which celebrated America’s women billionaires. Her cosmetics line, Kylie Cosmetics, is currently estimated to be worth $800 million and is on the cusp a $1 billion valuation which would make Kylie (who owns 100% of Kylie Cosmetics) the youngest person to achieve billionaire status ever.

But at the same moment another cosmetics entrepreneur has founded a cosmetics company which has just recently crossed the $1 Billion valuation threshold , albeit with a lot less fanfare. That entrepreneur is Pat Mcgrath , founder of Pat Mcgrath Labs, and a world-famous backstage makeup artist who has worked with many of the greatest fashion brands including Prada, Luis Vuitton, Gucci, and Versace among others and who, thanks to a second round of funding, has seen her company’s valuation soar to over $1 Billion.

A young girl born from Jamaican Parents

Pat Mcgrath, was born in the United Kingdom to Jamaican parents. Mcgrath’s mother was passionate about makeup and fashion and from an early age she tried to instill that passion into her daughter. With no formal training , Ms. Mcgrath owes a lot of what she knows from her mother.  In an interview given to the guardian Ms. Mcgrath explains how her mother would make her guess what make up she had on, and her childhood was full of games that centered around make up and where her mother would make her analyse the make up choices of Hollywood film stars or try to figure out which old Hollywood film stars had inspired fashion designers in a particular fashion season.  Her mother also taught her to experiment. To use different pigments in order to get the right colours. That training served her well.

Rise to the top

Mcgrath identifies a fortuitous meeting with Steven Meisel, the legendary photographer, as the defining moment in her career. Her friend the supermodel Amber Valleta, set up the meeting.

With Steven Miesel she was responsible for every single make up look of every Vogue Italia cover.

On top of working as a backstage makeup artist and creating the beauty looks for more than 60 couture and ready to wear shows around the world every year, she was also hired by Giorgio Armani to develop and launch a line of cosmetics. Then followed stints as Global Beauty Creative Designer for Procter & Gamble and a collaboration with Frida Giovanni to launch Gucci’s debut cosmetic collection.

She was recently hired as Vogue beauty editor at large by Edward Enningful.

Considered by Anna Wintour to be the ‘ most influential makeup artist in the world,’ Mcgrath was honoured by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for her services to fashion and beauty and is now a member of the Order of the British empire.

Pat Mcgrath Labs

Launched in 2015 , Mcgrath sought through Pat Mcgrath Labs to create a cosmetic brand which was truly suited to women of all shades and skin tones.

Her first product was the Gold 001 pigment which sold for $40. All 1,000 units sold out in six minutes.

Pat Mcgrath Labs continued selling limited edition products for the next two years until 2017 when was unveiled the first permanent core collection. Today Pat Mcgrath Labs products are available on the website, at select Sephora stores, on and now on Net-a-Porter the fashion e-commerce website.

Pat Mcgrath Labs has been a roaring success , and retail sales are expected to total $60 million in 2018.

Pat Mcgrath Labs has been voted the most engaged beauty brand in recent a facebook survey and has garnered over 30 billion media impressions since its launch.

Funding rounds

So far Pat McGrath Labs has received two rounds of funding. The first, by One luxury group , for an undisclosed amount , and  a second round led by Eurazeo for $60 million for a 5-8% stake in the company. The latest round of funding values Pat Mcgrath’s Labs at more than $1 billion dollars.

In a press release Jill Granoff, CEO of Eurazeo Brands said,

“We are honored to be working with Pat, whose vision, talent and trailblazing history in the beauty industry have set Pat McGrath Labs up to be one of the most authentic and innovative makeup brands to ever come to market,” said , via a press statement. We’re excited to combine our experience of building global beauty and fashion brands with Pat and her team’s unmatched creativity and passion.”

Comparisons to Kylie

With the latest round of funding , Pat Mcgrath’s company will officially be a unicorn ( a company with a $1 billion dollar valuation) and she reaches the milestone before Kylie’s Kylie Cosmetics. To put things into perspectives Kylie’s company is expected to cross that threshold in 2020 at the earliest.

Although it must be noted that currently Kylie owns 100% of her company and that given the company’s revenues, were she to open up her capital to outside investors then her company’s valuation would skyrocket.

New Funds

With the new funds , Pat Mcgrath Labs hopes to expand , increasing its presence by being available in and additional 90 more Sephora stores, in addition to expanding into new product categories.

Already , new products have been released including ten new shades of her best-selling MatteTrance lipstick, successor to the Matt Trance line which in 2017 won Allure’s best of beauty award.

Speaking to the website, Fashionista, McGrath explains,

“The next phase is to continue our incredible trajectory.We have been so blessed to have such an engaged and passionate customer base and the aim is to continue to provide them with more groundbreaking, straight-from-the-runway products and a makeup experience that they cannot get anywhere else. I get so much joy and satisfaction when I see how much our loyal customers love the products, it fuels us to come up with even more innovative creative ideas.”

Cosmetic industry and the internet age

Pat Mcgrath’s success with Pat Mcgrath Labs is also a sign of a fundamental shift in the cosmetic industry and the impact of social media and rise of direct-to-consumers business models. By using a saavy mix of limited edition products and permanent collections , Mcgrath and Kylie have been able to create excitement around their offerings.

With the rise of social media and the internet, it has opened the door for direct to consumer sales which both moguls have been using. Kylie has been able to leverage her enormous social presence (112.5 million followers on Instagram) and build an incredibly successful cosmetic line which raked in $420 million dollars in retail sales in its first 18 months of operation . She distributes her products using a direct to consumers business model.

Mcgrath however has not limited herself to direct distribution like Kylie and has formed key wholesale partnerships and used pop up shops to bolster her primarily online business.

Mcgrath also continues the tradition of fast fashion in so far as she is able to enjoy incredibly fast turnaround time and an ability to bring concept to market in record time , a strategic advantage over major fashion brands. She credits this as something which was instrumental in the success of her Gold 001 limited edition collection. The ability to spot trends, capitalise on them quickly, and bring products to market quickly ,is crucial given the fast-moving nature of the internet age and  Pat Mcgrath Labs has been incredibly saavy at harnessing the internet.

She has for instance drawn on the enthusiasm of fans and creatives who support her brand, sourcing artwork and designs from her fans and followers on Instagram.

Champion of fearlessness

In an interview with InStyleMcGrath said , “My intention when I created Labs was that the people that used our products would be empowered to explore a fearless, daring attitude towards makeup—that’s why we always write ‘Use Without Caution’ on everything we make,” she said. “I’ve always believed that the most extraordinary results occur only when one feels unbound by any notion of constraint or limitation.”


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