Bernstein-Rein Buys Back Its Own ‘Salon Superstore,’ Beauty Brands

By Patrick Coffee 

Here’s an interesting tale from the Midwest.

Creative agency Bernstein-Rein of Kansas City, which we’ve covered a bit in the past, has re-acquired Beauty Brands, a company co-founded by its own originator and former CEO Bob Bernstein.


That means the 23 stores selling beauty products in Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Colorado and Texas—in addition to a distribution center in Lenexa, Kansas—are now once again owned by the agency that created the chain back in 1985.

Details of the deal were not publicly disclosed.

The shift comes after a rough period for Beauty Brands, which closed approximately half of its stores just before Christmas and reduced total staff at its corporate headquarters by about one third. At the time, Caryn Lerner told the local Kansas City Star, “Make no mistake, these are difficult decisions which we did not take lightly.”

Bernstein’s son David had taken over the company in 2009 and left in 2014, when it was sold to private equity.

From the press release: “We recognize the marketplace has evolved a ton in the last five years. That said, the combination of our business and category experience paired with incredibly strong marketing capabilities, we’re excited to see how successful we can be with Beauty Brands now that we’re back—we think the sky is the limit,” Bernstein said.

The release goes on to directly blame the company’s former owners, San Francisco-based TSG Consumer Partners, for bringing in leaders “who repositioned the brand, its store model and product mix, which negatively affected results.” Ouch.

Judging by job listings on the company’s LinkedIn page, it looks like they’re wisely making a pivot to ecommerce.