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Merit-Based Economics

Katherine Power
Merit isn’t just a ripe goldilocks deal, it’s a proven concept—one of those “no-makeup makeup” brands. Photo: Rochelle Brodin/Getty Images for Who What Wear
Rachel Strugatz
April 10, 2024

Katherine Power, who founded the makeup brand Merit some three years ago, is that rare bird who truly knows how to marry content and commerce—sort of like Hailey Beiber and her insane phone case gimmick, or an early-stage Emily Weiss. In her previous life, after all, she co-founded the media entities Who What Wear, Byrdie, and MyDomaine, where she had the obvious epiphany that editorial was a far inferior business to consumer packaged goods. And now Power, who enjoyed nice little exits from Who What Wear and Byrdie, has hired Goldman Sachs to explore a sale of Merit. (She is also the founder of Versed, a skin care line that launched in 2019.)

Merit is younger than other rumored M&A targets, like Summer Fridays, Glossier, etcetera, but I’ve been told that retail sales (meaning in-store and online sales) were over $100 million in 2023, implying actual revenue of at least $50 million—a sweet spot right now for strategics eyeing their next acquisition. The brand also just brought on a real C.E.O., Philippe Pinatel, who left his post as global brand president at Lauder-owned MAC Cosmetics in January.