Fans of Deciem, the cult-hit beauty brand which won over fans with its affordable and customisable products, were left reeling when founder Brandon Truaxe announced the company’s closure two days ago.
Now, sources within Deciem have spoken out about the alleged turmoil within the brand which spawned The Ordinary, well before Truaxe took to Instagram to claim staff were privy to “major criminal activity”.
Speaking to The New York Times, Deciem’s former chief financial officer Stephen Kaplan said he resigned in February because of Truaxe’s demeanour.
Kaplan said the founder’s behaviour changed after a trip to Mongolia in December last year. Truaxe took full control of the brand’s social media presence the next month, heralding a marked change in Deciem’s online presence.
“Until he changes his ways, he is destroying what could have been a very successful company,” Kaplan told the Times.
The paper also obtained leaked emails, which reportedly show Truaxe threatening to share employees’ private messages on the Deciem brand’s social media channels.
Another reportedly shows Truaxe openly threatening to fire employees for not adequately meeting his demands.
“If one more instruction that any of you received from me is not followed with precise attention to time efficiency and to the best of your abilities, I will terminate your employment immediately,” one email said.
The allegedly tense environment at one of the beauty world’s hottest companies has been well-documented.
In April this year, Elle interviewed Deciem’s former co-CEO Nicola Kilner. Writer Carrie Battan described the experience as “a bit like talking to someone rescued from a cult against her will.”
“I think he’s always been crazy,” Kilner said at the time, adding “founders are often eccentric characters. It takes a certain skill set to work with them.”
She rejoined the company in July, and as late as last week was posting photos on her personal Instagram of Deciem counters inside department stores.
The apparent chaos within the company is becoming clearer, and the company’s future – and the fate of its obsessive fanbase – is just as unforeseeable.
It’s not looking great, though, and it’s probably a decent idea to stock up on all of those acids and serums before yet another boggling Instagram post hits your screens.