Estée Lalonde’s Body Care Brand Mirror Water Fundraises To Fuel Expansion

Mirror Water is fundraising as it gears up for its next phase of growth.

The prestige British body care brand founded by beauty influencer Estée Lalonde is in discussions with angel investors with the goal of raising 500,000 to 700,000 pounds or roughly $622,000 to $871,000 at the current exchange rate to fuel its expansion into the United States. “It’s good time to raise because we’ve set up the base of who we are as a brand and really developed and worked on who we are in the market,” says Lalonde. “And now this round is really going towards growing what we’ve already started.”

Demand for Mirror Water is growing in the United States, where Lalonde has been able to leverage her social media followers on Instagram (674,000) and YouTube (1.07 million) to lift brand awareness. American customers account for between 60% and 70% of Mirror Water’s direct-to-consumer sales, and it secured a U.S. warehouse last September to handle shipping products to them.

This month, Mirror Water arrived at Moda Operandi and New York City wellness shop The Well. It’s also available at facial bar chain Formula Fig in the U.S. and Canada. In the future, the brand is hoping to strike more U.S. retail partnerships. Dream retail partners include Credo, The Detox Market and Bluemercury. 

In addition to boosting its U.S. business, funds from Mirror Water’s raise will be allocated toward marketing and product development. It expects to launch one to two products this year. Mirror Water’s bath and body assortment has largely remained the same since its November 2021 debut and contains bestseller $49 Smooth Body Oil, $58 Soak Bath Salts and $42 Rub Solid Balm. Introduced in February, the brand’s most recent release is a 50-ml. size of Smooth Body Oil priced at $29. 

Mirror Water is plotting U.S. expansion as body care’s momentum continues. According to market research firm Circana, the category registered the fastest growth in prestige skincare last year. Sales of body sprays were up 187% over 2022, body cleansers were up 30%, and body creams and lotions were up 14%. Prestige brands such as Sol de Janeiro, Necessaire, Ouai and OSEA, and mass-market stalwarts such as CeraVe, Aveeno and La Roche Posay dominate the category in the U.S.

Estée Lalonde, founder and CEO of Mirror Water

Lalonde raised a friends and family round totaling 500,000 pounds or roughly $622,000 to get Mirror Water off the ground. She contributed what she describes as “a significant amount” from her personal savings to cover its initial costs. Lalonde has leaned on her network of founder friends to educate herself on the ups and downs of fundraising.

“It’s honestly been a lot of throwing myself in the lion’s den,” she says. “It’s been having conversations and not knowing the answers and then doing the research. It’s very full on, but I have to say I absolutely love it.”

Last year, Lalonde pitched Mirror Water to a series of venture capital firms, but encountered pushback from investors looking for brands that were further along. “The consensus is you need to be at the 1 million revenue mark to even be considered, and we’re not there yet,” she shares. “It’s frustrating because it’s like you need money to grow, but you can’t get the money until you’ve grown. So, it’s like the chicken and the egg.”

Mirror Water’s sales have climbed annually. Its retail sales increased 500% between 2022 and 2023. Wholesale accounts for about 50% of the brand’s revenue, and DTC distribution accounts for the balance. This year, Mirror Water aims to amplify sales at anchor retail partners Space NK and Liberty in the United Kingdom as it narrows its wholesale approach. 

“You need money to grow, but you can’t get the money until you’ve grown.”

“Working with what you have and optimizing it rather than trying to go into every single place is the better way to go,” says Lalonde. “That’s my tactic with retail. What’s important to me is I just want to grow naturally, and I want to be able to sustain the growth.” 

Available online and in 15 doors at Space NK, Mirror Water has picked up steam at the specialty beauty retailer since landing at it in early 2023. The brand’s Smooth Body Oil is the specialty retailer’s top-selling body oil and the product’s new 50-ml. size is carried throughout Space NK’s 76-unit chain. Mirror Water is also available in smaller brick-and-mortar shops and online destinations in the U.K. like Earl of East, Big Beauty, Joan and Goodhood. 

To widen its customer base, Mirror Water is planning dip into paid media with Meta and Google advertising as well as an influencer gifting program. TikTok ads may factor into the strategy, too. To date, the brand has relied on organic traffic from Lalonde’s audience, launch events with influencers and pop-up installations to drive recognition. 

For its Space NK launch, Mirror Water participated in an immersive weekend pop-up that Lalonde documented on her YouTube channel during which customers received hand massages while listening to noise-canceling headphones. Customers at the event received free Mirror Water journals. The brand generated around 4,500 pounds or about $5,600 during the weekend event.

Launched in November 2021, British body care brand Mirror Water is fundraising as it eyes expansion in the United States.

“What we’ve managed to accomplish without paid media is really impressive,” says say Lalonde. “Right now, we’re speaking to our core customers and fans of the brand, but, in order for us to reach new people, we will need to ‘pay to play,’” 

Along with beauty content creation, a 10 year-plus endeavor for Lalonde, she works full-time on Mirror Water with a small team of one full-time and one part-time employee. Previously, Lalonde admits to overextending the brand’s team. It allocated funds toward an office space that it subsequently left. Mirror Water now operates remotely.

“You can do a lot with a little,” says Lalonde. “One thing I maybe made a mistake on in the beginning was hiring too many people first of all from a cost perspective, but, second of all, it just sort of dilutes the mission a little bit. What I’ve learned is just to keep it lean and mean.”