Everything you need to know about the possible Deciem shutdown

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Everything you need to know about the possible Deciem shutdown


If you’re a skincare consumer who loves a good deal, there’s a good chance you know about Deciem, the Toronto-based company known for its popular affordable range The Ordinary. And if you follow the company on social media, there’s an equally good chance you’ve already been acquainted with the brand’s founder, Brandon Truaxe, whose behaviour has been widely perceived as erratic since he took over Deciem’s Instagram channel earlier this year.

Most recently, Truaxe posted an emotional and at times almost incoherent video to the brand’s Instagram feed over the weekend announcing that the brand was ceasing operations, saying that “almost everyone at Deciem has been involved in major criminal activity which includes financial crimes and much other.”

People react outside the beauty supply store Deciem as they learn it has apparently closed all locations unexpectedly in Toronto on Tuesday.
People react outside the beauty supply store Deciem as they learn it has apparently closed all locations unexpectedly in Toronto on Tuesday.  (Nathan Denette / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

He went on to threaten a laundry list of people with criminal prosecution, including beauty and pharmaceutical industry executives, celebrities like Ben Affleck, Brad Pitt, and George Clooney, Canadian banks and even U.S. President Donald Trump himself.

So, what on earth is going on, and is Deciem really shuttering? Here’s everything we know about the latest Deciem news and possible company shutdown.

Is this the first time Brandon Truaxe has been in the news?

Hardly. From inciting a feud with the skincare brand Drunk Elephant in January to responding to commenters who question his frame of mind with derogatory comments, he’s stirred up controversy on the brand’s Instagram countless times since taking it over with posts that are often confusing and at times troubling. In April, the brand’s founder posted a now-deleted video asking for help in the comments, posting messages like “Help me 911” and “This is real.” But despite posts such as this indicating that Truaxe is unwell, he has denied past suggestions of mental health issues with posts such as this one from later in April in which he addresses people such as the brand’s former CFO Steven Kalpan for questioning his mental health.

“Steven Kaplan, your wife Danielle wrote that nasty email saying that I have mental health issues … you’re all jobless now,” he says in the Instagram video. “I don’t have mental health issues. Yesterday and the day before I was at risk when I called for help, and the idiots that said I had mental health issues: You should have helped me.”

Deciem also made headlines when the company’s Glassdoor reviews describing a hostile workplace and including accusations of sexual harassment, body-shaming, sexism, racism and more started to circulate online.

How exactly does Estée Lauder factor into this?

Beauty behemoth Estée Lauder Companies, who Truaxe name checks several times in the caption accompanying his announcement video, has been a minority shareholder of Deciem since 2017, owning 28 per cent of the company. Deciem shared the news on its own website with a letter from Truaxe specifically noting that it would be “nearly impossible” for Estée Lauder Companies to fire him. “While I do sincerely believe that ELC has embraced everything about us, the facts are nonetheless very clear: They have a minority shareholding position; they do not control our decisions or dictate our direction; and I continue to remain CEO (and there is documentation in place to make it nearly impossible to fire me),” the letter reads in part.

Has Deciem released an official statement?

Not at press time, but we’re watching the brand’s website, social channels and the newswires like hawks for updates.

Are the Deciem stores actually closed?

At present, it would appear that all of Deciem’s Canadian retail locations were closed Tuesday. According to CBC, calls to stores went unanswered. The brand’s website shows almost all of its nearly 30 stores in Canada, the U.S., the U.K., Mexico and the Netherlands as simply “closed.” Several would-be customers have also shared images on social media of what look to be closed Toronto locations. At this time, it’s unclear if this is a permanent closure.

Can you still shop online?

Yes, as of press time Deciem’s e-commerce site is still live and appears to be taking orders.

Are Deciem’s social channels still active?

The brand’s Instagram and Facebook pages were still live as of 5:45 p.m. EST on Oct. 9 (they do not have an official Twitter account) but Truaxe’s Oct. 8 announcement video was the last thing shared on Instagram.

So, could this be a marketing stunt?

Only time will tell if the move was a calculated one meant to boost sales (and Twitter certainly suggests that people are “stocking up” in light of the news) but as several savvy social media commenters pointed out, it would also be an illegal one.





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