Interview: BRANDED Co-Founder and CEO Pierre Poignant – The Amazon Play

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Our CEO Pierre Poignant spoke to BW Confidential about BRANDED’s business model, our focus on the beauty category, and the changing e-commerce landscape. He pointed out the emergence of new platforms of brands as competitors to bigger more traditional retailers.

BRANDED Co-Founder & CEO, Pierre Poignant

Over the last few years, there has been a big shift in retail with the drastic rise in importance of digital channels. As a result, e-commerce has seen the emergence of more and more smaller, challenger brands taking market share from bigger brands. Pierre explained:

“At BRANDED we acquire these smaller brands with the aim of accelerating their growth and amplifying their presence on digital channels.”

We’ve built a platform that helps small(er) businesses with a lot of potential to unlock future growth. We specifically focus on acquiring brands in the beauty & personal care, wellness and home categories, where we see a lot of competition and many promising brands which we think we can help grow. As of now, our business has over $200 million in yearly revenue with beauty accounting for 40% of that and being the most profitable portion of our business.

Apart from our category focus and the quality of the products the business sells, we make our acquisition decisions based on the potential for our platform to really catapult the business. While our primary mode of operation is acquiring new businesses, we also have internal capabilities to launch new products and brands. In order to grow our customer base and our brands, we leverage social media across all platforms, like YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. 

“It’s important to have a complete social media presence since the channels all work together,” Pierre believes.

At BRANDED we operate as a multi-channel platform across Amazon, Shopify, and offline retail to best serve our customers and create real brands. While our key channel is Amazon, we have a lot of synergies from being present on direct-to-consumer at the same time, as customers might end up buying our products on Amazon, even if they initially discovered our brand on social or the brand’s own website. Pierre described the consumer journey as non-linear:

“The consumer journey is not very linear, consumers like to connect with their friends on social, discover things on social media, do research on YouTube and on blogs, and then, ultimately, they want to convert on Amazon.”

This is just one of many ways a customer journey can play out. For BRANDED it’s crucial to have a strong presence across all digital channels – and be where the consumer is.

Amazon being a very product-centric and function-driven platform, one of the challenges we’ve seen in selling beauty products is how to effectively represent the brand’s essence on the platform. However, this is evolving with Amazon continuously adding new store features and product descriptions, where brand owners have a chance to tell their story. 

“Amazon is becoming a more entertaining, fun, and a social platform where brands can have more importance. Younger generations are evolving more towards what you see in Asia, towards ‘shop-tainment’.”

Similar to their Asian competitors, Amazon is working hard on capturing consumer’s time spent on their platform.

At BRANDED we believe that our category focused approach to acquisitions and global platform differentiate us from the majority of our competitors. While the e-commerce consumer goods space is very dynamic and competitive, Pierre believes that there’s space for everyone and that companies that manage portfolios of challenger brands operating on digital channels first will have a big role to play in the coming years. Similarly, large traditional CPG companies have deep pockets and can adjust to the evolving e-commerce landscape and new ways consumers shop nowadays.

BRANDED has acquired 11 beauty brands to date including men’s grooming brands Viking Revolution and Fresh Heritage, and personal care brand Puracy. Read the entire interview here.