Dec 10, 2021
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Holland & Barrett buys Blow, will add health & wellness to its offer

Dec 10, 2021

UK health chain Holland & Barrett (H&B) has made a big move into beauty with a surprise purchase of at-home beauty services business Blow Ltd.

Blow Ltd

And that purchase is likely to result in change at Blow as it moves beyond hair and beauty to add health and wellness to its offer.

The purchase price wasn’t disclosed for the company that will now become a subsidiary of H&B’s international operation. All staff will move across to its new parent company.

H&B’s chief business and science officer Tamara Rajah said that the firm has plans for an “exciting transformation strategy with the vision of helping 100 million customers globally achieve their health and wellness goals. This vision sees H&B moving beyond offering wellness products and advice, and expanding our reach to offer personalised services, diagnostics and wellness solutions across our digital and retail channels.”

But it looks like beauty will stay part of the mix. She added: “We’re excited to work with Blow Ltd to bring their customers new natural beauty and wellness options on demand, in their own homes, and offer our customers new services and experiences in our larger stores.”

That reference to "natural beauty' is understandable given H&B's overall profile but it's unclear for now whether that would mean some existing services being dropped.

Blow made a good start last decade when the 2013 start-up — that was the brainchild of ex-Elle UK and Grazia Editor-in-Chief Fiona McIntosh and venture capitalist Dharmash Mistry — looked set to capitalise on rising demand for beauty services.

Offering those salon-style services in clients’ homes in South East England and other cities, it had bold expansion plans.

Unilever’s venture capital operation invested £3.5 million in it during 2017 and now-failed retail giant Debenhams later took at £7.5 million minority stake, while also opening Blow bars in its major flagships.

The company, under current CEO Thomas Nutt, has had a lower profile since then and would have seen its business model heavily compromised by a succession of lockdowns and other Covid restrictions since spring 2020.

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