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How Bianca Ingrosso, part of a family dubbed the ‘Kardashians of Sweden,’ built a $50 million beauty brand that’s expanding to the US and UK

  • Bianca Ingrosso is a Swedish influencer from a family known as the “Kardashians of Sweden.”
  • In 2018, Ingrosso cofounded beauty brand Caia Cosmetics, and is now bringing it to the UK and US.
  • Ingrosso said Caia is “so much bigger” than her and can succeed in the crowded beauty space.

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In Sweden, influencer Bianca Ingrosso is a fixture. Known as one of the “Kardashians of Sweden,” she has over a million followers on Instagram, and is a singer, presenter, and reality-TV star.

But the 28-year-old says her real calling is entrepreneurship. In 2018, she cofounded a direct-to-consumer beauty brand, Caia Cosmetics, alongside her manager and business partner Vanessa Lindblad and Swedish beauty-industry veterans Mikael Snabb and Jesper Matsch. The company sells a range of mid-priced makeup, skincare, and haircare products. 

“My entire childhood was sitting in different makeup chairs with the best makeup artists in the country, literally growing up on tour,” she said in an interview with Business Insider. With Caia, she’s trying to combine her love for makeup with what she learned growing up in traditional entertainment.

“I am an artist, in my type of way,” she said. 

Now, Caia is dipping its toes into international expansion, including the US and the UK, after a successful run in several other European countries, like Germany and Denmark. Despite a crowded market, Ingrosso thinks the company can snatch a piece of the beauty pie, which is estimated to be worth $625 billion worldwide.

The European private-equity firm Verdane acquired a majority stake in Caia in 2020, in a transaction that valued it at 505 million Swedish krona (about $48 million today), per PitchBook data (the company declined to comment on the valuation). Caia CEO Johanna Eriksson Hamrén said the company had passed $50 million in revenue in 2023 and that it had seen 30% growth year-over-year. 

Ingrosso said she’s aware that the company’s early success was largely due to her fame in Sweden. Her family, the Wahlgren-Ingrossos, are well embedded in the Swedish music and entertainment scene. Her mother Pernilla Wahlgren is a singer, and her father Emilio Ingrosso is a dancer, composer, and restaurateur. Her grandparents were both actors, and her brothers and cousins are DJs and musicians.

But Ingrosso said she is confident that Caia can succeed beyond her fame in Scandinavia, citing high-quality products; attention to customer needs; and a multi-pronged approach to marketing, both online and in traditional entertainment.

Bianca Ingrosso, cofounder of CAIA Cosmetics.

Ingrosso appears in the campaign promoting Caia’s advent calendar.

CAIA Cosmetics

Caia works to provide value to customers beyond its products 

The beauty industry is a competitive sector, and achieving longevity can be challenging.

Some influencer-founded brands have struggled, including Item Beauty, launched by TikTok star Addison Rae, which shut down earlier this year after a decline in interest from consumers. Even billion-dollar beauty darling Glossier, founded by blogger Emily Weiss, has reportedly struggled with a lack of innovation, difficulty expanding its customer base, and allegations of a poor work culture.

“Celebrities and influencers with their respective embedded communities can be wonderful brand amplifiers and early adopters; however, simply being a talent-led brand today is not enough,” an investor who focuses on beauty startups previously told BI

Ingrosso acknowledged the competition but emphasized that Caia is not taking its success for granted, and is exploring a number of avenues to market the product — like tapping into entertainment. 

“We don’t really settle with having a really good product,” she told BI. “We want you to be entertained. Every time you see Caia in your [social media] feed, you want to stop and watch it. In the beginning it was like a show that never stopped.” 

Caia has had some high-profile collaborations in entertainment, including with the Swedish Netflix series Barracuda Queens earlier this year. The company sponsored a launch event for the show and tapped actresses from it to participate in Caia glam shoots.

The brand also collaborated with MTV to produce a cover of the hit song “Superstar” by singer Jamelia. The music video, which utilizes Ingrosso’s singing talents, has racked up over half a million views on YouTube. Caia even released a collection of beauty items in conjunction with MTV.  

When it comes to the products, Ingrosso said they fill a gap in the market that keeps customers coming back. When she founded Caia, she wanted to capitalize on what she called the “Scandinavian glow” — dewy, healthy, moisturized skin.

“We didn’t really have a makeup company that did that,” she said. “It was mostly products that were supposed to give a lot of pigment on your face, or give a lot of dry powder, and I wanted to create something that really melted into your skin.”

This type of look — sometimes referred to as “glass skin” — has gained popularity on social media in the past few years, and other companies, like Selena Gomez’s Rare Beauty and Hailey Bieber’s Rhode, have launched products around it.

Ingrosso said Caia also tries to provide value beyond the products themselves.

For example, Caia’s social-media content includes makeup tutorials and a guide to educate customers, so “they feel really safe” when buying products, Ingrosso said.

“I think that so many companies today just showcase the product and expect people to know what it is, but we reach out to a lot of different people who watch us,” she said.

When Caia’s 2021 advent calendar was criticized by customers for being too expensive and providing mostly mini products, Ingrosso publicly apologized, and the company changed its approach by offering full-sized products after that.

Ingrosso and Eriksson Hamrén said this open channel of communication between the brand and its customers has been a key to Caia’s success.

‘Caia is so much bigger than just me’ 

Ingrosso’s next challenge is growing the brand internationally. Caia has its work cut out to stand out against other popular celebrity beauty brands like Kylie Cosmetics, Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty, and Rare Beauty. 

Ingrosso said she’s confident that Caia has the potential to continue growing and succeed in the UK and the US, partly because the brand has had success beyond her — Caia has over 400,000 followers on Instagram and almost 150,000 followers on TikTok

“Caia is so much bigger than just me, and I’m not even in the campaigns, or not all of them,” Ingrosso said.

Eriksson Hamrén pointed to the company’s success in Germany, where Ingrosso is relatively unknown.

“We obviously have proven that we managed to build a brand without the community knowing about [Ingrosso],” she said. “Caia is super well-fitted in the UK and US because we are not a shy company.”

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