Vancouver-based Blanka, which offers a platform for private labelling beauty and wellness products, has secured $2.7 million CAD ($2 million USD) in all-equity and all-primary seed funding to help “anyone with an idea” launch their own beauty brand.
Private labelling refers to the business practice of a product being manufactured by one company but sold under the brand name of another company. With Blanka, users can execute this strategy all in one platform to create their own beauty product lines.
Blanka’s seed round was led by Dundee Venture Capital, with participation from Storytime Capital and Disruption Ventures. Other investors include Fatima Yusuf, former director of commercial, app ecosystem at Shopify; as well as Manica Blain, founder of Top Knot Ventures.
“This fundraise gives us the confidence to focus on growth at a time when many start-ups are cutting back.”
Founded in 2021 by Kaylee Astle, Doug Long, and Adam Chuntz, Blanka touts its platform as a “one-stop-shop” for independent brands of any size to source and customize beauty products. It offers a selection of products including vegan products, women’s and men’s skincare, as well as accessories.
Astle noted that Blanka has developed a rigorous vetting process where the startup looks for cruelty-free products that are manufactured exclusively in North America. In addition, Blanka’s platform features tools for branding, fulfillment, and shipping.
Using its technology, the startup claims a new beauty brand can be launched in under an hour, for less than $200. Aside from purchasing the products from Blanka when the orders are received, the only other cost when using its two-week free trial is a one-time brand plate fee for $149, which is a plate that’s used to print a brand’s logo onto products.
“The industry has seen a fundamental shift in the last decade … Independent brands have now captured more than [25 percent] of the global beauty industry,” said Astle. “This has created a wave of entrepreneurs, content creators and beauty professionals all hungry to enter the market with their own brand, but there hasn’t been anything to support them—until now.”
In one case study, Blanka said it helped makeup artist Genn Shaughnessy to launch her own makeup line after she found Blanka in the Shopify App Store. In addition to selling her makeup line on her online store, Shaughnessy was also able to order inventory for her consignment store.
“What really helped me was the level of customer service,” Shaughnessy said in the case study.
Prior to building Blanka with her co-founders, Astle started her own e-commerce company years ago. At that time, Astle explained that she was faced with a number of challenges, such as vetting suppliers, securing working capital to invest in inventory, finding a warehouse space to store inventory, as well as handling order fulfillment and shipping.
“Needless to say, that company was a complete failure, but that was the lightbulb moment for starting Blanka,” Astle said.
This funding round comes after 12 months of what Blanka called steady growth. Blanka claims it has received over 20,000 sign-ups, which it attributes to organic marketing and integrations with partners, including Shopify.
Blanka was bootstrapped prior to this seed round, with the exception of a $50,000 USD cheque it received from participating in Forum VC’s accelerator last fall.
Astle told BetaKit that this capital will be used to support Blanka’s marketing and growth, building in operational efficiencies, and scaling its tech team.
“Ultimately, this fundraise gives us the confidence to focus on growth at a time when many start-ups are cutting back due to the current economic climate,” Astle said.
Blanka is among the growing number of companies that offer private labelling for cosmetics, driven by brands that thrive on catering to niche markets such as fanbases. Other companies that offer similar services to Blanka’s include Toronto-based viaGlamour, as well as American company Pietra Studio.
Featured image courtesy Blanka.