DECIEM's dose of drama

Bianca Ionici gives her view on the drama surrounding DECIEM's closure

Bianca Ionici
29th October 2018
Instagram: @DECIEM

For me, news of DECIEM’s closure was inopportune, to say the least. After having trawled through Facebook and Instagram skincare groups and accounts, I’d been aware of The Ordinary and its seemingly revolutionary business concept for over a year now. It took me some time to make the plunge, but recently I finally decided to place my first order. Two products had actually been recommended by a DECIEM rep once I’d sent in pictures of my skin’s problem areas. This is yet another thing that DECIEM does differently from many other skincare companies: they take the time to reply to individual customer queries about their specific concerns.

While I was anxiously awaiting confirmation that my package was on its way, I was absent-mindedly googling the brand when I stumbled upon a video posted on DECIEM’s Instagram account. In it, the company’s founder, Brandon Truaxe announced that DECIEM will “shut down all operations until further notice”, and this was to be the “final post” for the famed beauty brand. Not only that, but in the caption Truaxe threatened a number of high-profile figures as well as other well-known beauty brands. He also accused his employees of “criminal activities”, including “financial crimes”, without giving any concrete examples of their alleged wrongdoings. The video has since been taken down, although, as everyone knows by now, nothing is ever truly gone from the Internet.

[pullquote]On October 15th, DECIEM announced the reopening of “all stores, offices, factories and warehouses”[/pullquote]

The October 8th post isn’t the first time peculiarity has been surrounding DECIEM’s controversial founder. On January 24th, Truaxe declared that he was cancelling all of DECIEM’s “marketing plans”, and would be using the company’s Instagram as his own, responding personally to comments. Twelve days prior, he was throwing shade at Drunk Elephant, a costlier skincare brand that has similar products to The Ordinary. On January 28th, Truaxe apologised publicly to Drunk Elephant’s founder, Tiffany Masterson, and even promised to donate a hefty sum to Save the Elephants, their charity partner. February 4th, Truaxe introduces Riad, DECIEM’s factory manager, and bizarrely felt the need to clarify that Riad is not his boyfriend and he isn’t gay. The erratic Instagram behaviour, in which Truaxe was using this account as more of an internal company email, continued for a few more days, and DECIEM lost around 5,000 followers during this time.

A cloud of controversy has been following both the company and its founder ever since, including past employees’ Glassdoor allegations of a toxic work environment, and erratic firings of senior management. Between April and October, the drama was apparently subdued, until the fateful October 8th video.

In all honesty, once I had watched that video and read its convoluted, confusing caption, I was left wondering whether my first ever The Ordinary order would make its way to my doorstep. Many of the brand’s fans were in the same position as I was, discussing the oddity of what had been happening recently in the world of DECIEM and Brandon Truaxe. Some even implied he is clearly struggling with mental health issues, the result of which have unfortunately seeped into his professional life. Surprisingly, I received notice that my package was out for delivery just a day after I had placed the order, and I was able to actually test out the products a mere two days after watching Truaxe’s very public breakdown.

On October 15th, DECIEM announced the reopening of “all stores, offices, factories and warehouses”. Brandon Truaxe has been ousted as CEO, but “will always be the founder of DECIEM”. The future of this affordable and accessible, yet unconventional skincare brand remains to be seen

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