Today, manufacturing giant Church & Dwight announced its acquisition of Hero Cosmetics for $630 million. The sale comes after several years of continued growth for the acne-focused skincare brand, but for founder Ju Rhyu, it all started with a single moment.
Rhyu was living in Seoul when she first discovered the acne-fighting powers of hydrocolloid patches. Following a years-long battle with breakouts, she was desperate for something that would help her acne without leaving skin dry or irritated, and after trying hydrocolloid, she knew she’d found just that. “It was easy to use and better than the traditional white cream or pink cream we all used for breakouts,” Rhyu recalls. “I knew more people needed to know about this product.”
With a mission to offer people a real solution in their time of need, she founded Hero Cosmetics in 2017 with just one product, the Mighty Patch. The round hydrocolloid dots helped educate the world on hydrocolloid’s abilities as an acne fix and made the adhesive accessible to all. The Mighty Patch was quickly embraced by consumers, becoming an overnight bestseller for retailers like Target and Ulta Beauty, but it also inspired an industry-wide obsession with pimple patches.
Since its launch five years ago, Hero Cosmetics has expanded monumentally, adding a number of other patches and anti-acne skincare products to its lineup. The brand sells a box of the Mighty Patch every three seconds, and it’s been the number-one product in the skincare and acne care categories on Amazon for several quarters. “I’ve loved seeing how our brand and products positively impact peoples’ lives and that impact only grow with time,” Rhyu says. “We get many reviews and feedback about how Hero products have been nothing short of life-changing.”
Over the last couple of years, the brand’s success has prompted internal discussion of an acquisition, a path that its founder knew would help ensure Hero’s legacy, so its team is thrilled to have found a new home with Church & Dwight, the behemoth manufacturer behind Arm & Hammer, OxiClean, and Nair. “We expect that we’ll accelerate some of our growth plans, like continued US expansion and growing our international footprint, while tapping into some of Church & Dwight’s infrastructure and back office capabilities,” explains Rhyu, who will stay on as Hero’s cofounder and CEO. “This acquisition with Church & Dwight marks a huge milestone in our company’s history and I am so excited to unlock more growth with them.”
But beyond the promising future that the acquisition has in store for Hero, Rhyu hopes it will serve as inspiration for other founders. “It’s a huge win personally, for the team, and for the consumer ecosystem,” she says. “But it’s also a win for entrepreneurs because it shows that you can take a small idea and turn it into a successful business that is both high growth and highly profitable.”