The drama roiling around beauty brand Deciem came to a head last Friday when an Ontario judge ousted the founder and former CEO, Brandon Truaxe, after nearly a year of unpredictable behavior both on and offline. While the past ten months of tumult have been one long PR crisis, the company is expected to implement a number of changes and make a full recovery.
On Friday, Estée Lauder Cos., a minority investor in Deciem, successfully argued in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice that Truaxe’s behavior has caused “irreparable harm to Deciem’s business, and chaos and confusion for Deciem’s employees, customers, consumers, suppliers, landlords and other stakeholders.” Per Lauder’s request, Truaxe was removed from the company and co-CEO Nicola Kilner was appointed in his place.
Truaxe claimed to have shut down the company on October 9; however, the company’s website was up and running just hours after the hearing, and Deciem has already reopened all shuttered stores, offices, and warehouses.
“Together, we are committed to serving our customers, partners and everyone involved in this journey to the best of our humble abilities, and we are ready for the next part of our story to begin,” Deciem captioned an Instagram post on Monday afternoon.
Cecilia Gates, a branding expert and the founder and CEO of Gates Creative, told WWD that she doubts Truaxe’s removal will have a major influence on Deciem customers’ relationship with the company, which relies on a minimalist aesthetic and affordable prices.
“If you take yourself out of the industry drama, the consumers are young people that just want their product and they want it cheap,” said Gates, who runs Gates Creative. “As long as the product stays at the level it is, the efficacy, the price point, the innovation, you’re still going to get people that will buy into the brand.”
But some aspects of the brand are likely to change in the wake of Truaxe’s ousting. In the opinion of Coye Nokes, a partner at OC&C Strategy Consultants, Deciem will have to stop being oriented around one brand-defining personality.
“The more the brand grows, the less connected it will get to the founder,” Nokes told WWD. “One of the [important] things is keeping the DNA of the brands, and maybe that moves to more of a philosophy and less of a single person.”
But Deciem doesn’t plan on erasing Truaxe’s legacy. In the aforementioned Instagram post, the caption explicitly stated, “Brandon will always be the founder of DECIEM.”
The caption continues: “We will take the passion and values he has instilled within us as we continue to grow the brands we have created with transparency, integrity, authenticity, function and design. Thank you from the very bottom of our hearts to each and every person who has continued to support our journey. We look forward to sharing what’s to come with you.”
This post has been updated.