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Jane Cosmetics Gets Cash Infusion

NEW YORK - (WWD) - Jane Cosmetics wants to up its standing in the mass market with the help of a cash infusion from two private equity groups. The Company has linked arms with Stone Canyon Venture Partners, with holdings that include the luxury gifts retailer Gump's and The Walnut Group, an investor in the consumer brands such as Build-A-Bear, and in entertainment ventures, including the Broadway productions of Hairspra and Jersey Boys, to build Jane into an aspirational brand with ties to the entertainment world.

The beauty firm's President and Chief Executive Officer, Lisa Yarnell, said the multimillion-dollar fund is intended to fuel Jane's growth into a top 10 mass market cosmetics brand. Jane as we know it will have a lot more capital for advertising, retail tie-ins, and promotions and product development, said Yarnell. We had disappointed retailers in the past, where we couldn't grow as fast as they wanted us to grow, she added.

Yarnell, along with a silent investor, purchased the fledging cosmetics brand from the Estee Lauder Cos. In 2004, and spent the next year repositioning it from a teen brand to a value line tailored to women 19 to 39 years old.

The brand, which generated less than $20 million in sales in 2004, had lost favor with retailers once the teen cosmetics trend bubble burst. As a result, its store count had dwindled to 7,500 doors. Today, the brand is housed in 2-foot to 3-foot displays in roughly 10,000 doors, and Yarnell expects the company to reach $50 million in sales within the next two years. We think that Jane can touch a lot of people who have moved from department stores to drugstores, said James M. Gould, Managing General Partner of The Walnut Group, which also invests in the spa Skinklinic. The brand has untapped potential. We just have to establish its story and differentiate it from other brands on the shelf.

The company will rely on board members, who include Gould; John A. Davis, Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Davis Entertainment Co.; Frederic H. Mayerson, Chairman and Managing General Partner of The Walnut Group, and Michael J. Seibert, founding member of Stone Canyon Venture Partners. Yarnell intends to take advantage of their connections to Hollywood and Broadway. She noted that the two investment firms are interested in introducing Jane products to film and theater makeup artists and finding an up-and-coming actress to be the face of the brand.

Yarnell said, We are going to be making sure customers know who we are.

Avalon Group Ltd. was financial advisor and Wachtel & Masyr LLP served as legal advisor to Jane & Company LLC.