Deciem Stores Close, Af­ter Founder Makes An­nounce­ment On In­sta­gram

WWD Digital Daily - - News - BY AL­LI­SON COLLINS

The com­pany’s Prince Street lo­ca­tion was open Tues­day, but its Fifth Av­enue lo­ca­tion was not.

Deciem em­ploy­ees have been told to close some of the brand’s stores, WWD has con­firmed.

The busi­ness’ founder, Bran­don Tru­axe, in­structed sev­eral lo­ca­tions in dif­fer­ent ge­ogra­phies to shut­ter, WWD has learned. For part of the day, the busi­ness also changed its home­page to a black screen with a pie sign — click­ing the pie sign leads po­ten­tial shop­pers through to the Deciem site. By mid-af­ter­noon, the web site was back up and run­ning nor­mally.

The clo­sures come one day af­ter Tru­axe posted a video of him­self on the Deciem so­cial me­dia page where he said, “This is the fi­nal post of Deciem, which we will shut down all op­er­a­tions un­til fur­ther no­tice, which is about two months … Please take me se­ri­ously … al­most ev­ery­one at Deciem has been in­volved in a ma­jor crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity, which in­cludes fi­nan­cial crimes.”

A spokes­woman for mi­nor­ity in­vestor the Estée Lauder Cos. said Tues­day that,

“The Estée Lauder Com­pa­nies is a mi­nor­ity in­vestor in Deciem and as such we do not con­trol Deciem’s op­er­a­tions, so­cial me­dia or per­son­nel de­ci­sions. We are deeply con­cerned by the ma­te­rial that has re­cently been posted on so­cial me­dia and will de­fend our right as a mi­nor­ity in­vestor.”

In New York, the Fifth Av­enue store was closed Tues­day with a sign on the door that read “Please Don’t Get Mad. We are cur­rently closed for an un­fore­seen con­cern.” The Deciem web site shows 23 of 29 lo­ca­tions are closed. Open lo­ca­tions on Tues­day in­cluded stores at New York’s Prince Street, Mex­ico

City and Lon­don’s Old Spi­tal­fields Mar­ket.

The brand’s Up­per West Side lo­ca­tion is closed Oct. 9 and 10, the web site says.

On Mon­day, the day of the In­sta­gram post, Deciem stores ap­peared to be up and run­ning, with one em­ployee telling WWD that the store was not clos­ing (that store, on Tues­day, was closed). Asked to com­ment on the post, Tru­axe re­quested WWD send him a screen­shot of the post, but has not re­sponded to fur­ther re­quests for com­ment. Ni­cola Kil­ner, who re­joined the com­pany in July, de­clined to com­ment.

The store clo­sures are the lat­est event in a year of odd hap­pen­ings for the busi­ness, which was built on the no­tion of rad­i­cal trans­parency. Ear­lier this year, Tru­axe started post­ing er­ratic an­nounce­ments on In­sta­gram — things about plas­tic pack­ag­ing, peace and screen­shots of emails with ex­ec­u­tives from the Estée Lauder Cos. (Lauder owns a 28 per­cent stake in Deciem). In Fe­bru­ary, Kil­ner — who as co-ceo had a high-pro­file role at the busi­ness, deal­ing with re­tail­ers and pre­sent­ing at a WWD Dig­i­tal Fo­rum — was let go from her po­si­tion. She later re­joined the com­pany.

Deciem is best known for The Or­di­nary, a brand that sells prod­ucts with names like Gly­colic Acid 7% Ton­ing So­lu­tion, $8.70, and AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peel­ing So­lu­tion, $7.20. Deciem is ver­ti­cally in­te­grated, and has said it can keep prices so low by choos­ing in­gre­di­ents that have al­ready been well­tested. It’s also fast-grow­ing — in 2017, the busi­ness is said to have done about $140 mil­lion in sales, and in July of this year, was es­ti­mated to be at more than $300 mil­lion.

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