December 26, 2000, 9:55 AM

A brand all her own

Beauty may only be skin deep, but it can be profitable. At least that’s what Proctor & Gamble hopes when it launches its new beauty Web site, The venture, expected to go live before the holidays, has kept a surprisingly low profile in an industry that thrives on hype.

Cincinnati-based Proctor & Gamble has teamed up with Institutional Venture Partners, San Francisco, to launch the business, which will offer custom beauty products. P&G will invest $35 million and keep a 65% equity stake. IVP will invest $15 million and take 15%.

Unlike department store brands, products will start with base formulas, say for oily or dry skin, that can be tailored to individual tastes. Technicians use patented customization technology to add colors and fragrances that each woman chooses. “It’s an anti-brand,” says Nathan Estruth, co-leader of launch team. “It’s a product line all her own.”

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