Ask any skincare addict these days on Instagram and they cannot help gushing about The Ordinary. With Cult Beauty and Beauty Bay shipping it to Asia now, the label has somehow managed the unthinkable – make high-performance clinical solutions affordable. And it was also a great leveller, the brand managed to find fans from both sides of the coin- both, luxe and budget and bridged that ugly gap of high-quality vs pricing debate.
Beauty, when it came to Deciem, (known as the The Abnormal Beauty Company, the parent company of brands like The Ordinary, The Fountain, NIOD and Hylamide) is not just skin-deep. And as we heard about Brandon’s untimely death at 40 this week, we were filled with sadness and marvelled at a man who built such a legacy with hard work, passion and patience. So we decided to take a look at the brand he created, with a special focus on The Ordinary as a label – what we love about it, what makes it click and above all, what makes this a bigger bet than it is in 2019.
Brandon was born in Tehran, a Persian but lived all his life in Canada where he was a Computer Science major before we founded Deciem in 2013 under the tagline The Abnormal Beauty Company. The goal and premise were simple, he wanted the brand to be industry-changing, honest to the bone and transparent. No one has ever done it before and it takes an eccentric, slightly crazy genius to do that. And where he really scored was his dedication to give customers high-quality, beautiful ingredients at a price point that’s too good to be true.
We remember the time, he talked about hiring anyone nice in the company, not just good-lookers as other companies did. He was even very vocal about Marula oil and how his competitors were selling for a price that’s unreasonable. He talked about transparency and scams the beauty industry came with. He was a handful and that’s precisely his strength, customers lapped up the bold claims, the “calling of the bullshit” as one reputed newspaper reported. In an industry that was overwrought with confusing ingredients, sly claims and misleading ads, it makes sense that a brand like Deciem came as a refreshing change. The claims were always backed up by long Instagram explanations and Brandon was known to maintain one-on-one communication with his customers – that added to it’s charm. Deciem now includes affordable skincare, makeup, supplements and haircare and a devil-may-care philosophy that can make a millennial jump with joy. Add to that their “no-bullshit” approach to not using fancy names. Take into consideration names like: Resveratrol 3% + Ferulic Acid 3% and Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% – that’s as simple as it gets.
The brand also made sure the sophisticated look stayed on alongside it’s minimalistic approach and concentrated on ingredients that really made a difference – from retinol, glycolic acid and squalene to vitamin C and niaminicide. Everything was under USD10 and the only expensive item is a peptide serum, Buffet, that costs 14.80 USD. That was the game changer. In June 2017, the company announced that it had received backing from The Estée Lauder Companies Inc., and that changed everything. And right after that, controversies came about – he often posted on the company’s Insta-account without consulting, had tiffs with everyone and generally stood out as eccentric. But things came to the head in October when Truaxe shared a video to Instagram announcing that he was temporarily shutting down the company. Estée Lauder then took legal action and removed Truaxe from the company, appointing Nicola Kilner as CEO. After a few controversial moments, we heard about his loss as the spokesperson from The Estée Lauder Companies gave this obituary “Brandon Truaxe was a true genius, and we are incredibly saddened by the news of his passing. As the visionary behind Deciem, he positively impacted millions of people around the world with his creativity, brilliance and innovation. This is a profound loss for us all, and our hearts are with Nicola Kilner and the entire Deciem family.”
Though his reign was controversial, his ideals were intact and his passion, incredibly infectious. And with his mantra now in place, it’s important for Estee Lauder companies to guide it to it’s ultimate destination – that of making sure the loyalists continue to patronize it against the new “tell-all” or “mee-too” labels vying for Deciem’s spot. And in the end, it’s the customer who needs to be happy and Truaxe would like that to be his long lasting legacy. As for us, we were enamoured by the genius, astounded that we could ship down these stunning products to the country.
All pictures courtesy: Shutterstock & Beauty Bay