Although much media attention is focused on the burgeoning tech industry — the ascension of the Facebook, Apple, Google and their ilk have been chronicled by everyone, and it seems as though there’s a new Silicon Valley startup billionaire every damn day — there is another industry that is minting bazillionaires real quick.
Yolanda is talking about the beauty industry, of course. Over the past few years — and arguably caused by the advent of the Instagram selfies craze — the traditionally unsexy cosmetics game has become crowded with upstart players, many of whom have recently sold out to larger, well-established makeup giants. Take IT Cosmetics, which sold for a $1.2 billion last year (its founder subsequently bought a big Brentwood pad to celebrate). Other newish brands such as Too Faced, Urban Decay, and Becca all sold out for hundreds of millions (or more, in certain cases). Even celebrities like Rihanna and Kylie Jenner are reaping untold millions from the cosmetics craze.
There is also another massive acquisition that recently allowed the founders to quietly acquire a massive compound in the San Fernando Valley. But that’s a story we shall save for next week.
Anyway, although it was never officially listed on the open market, a sprawling estate in the fashionable Pacific Palisades Riviera recently sold for $27,375,000. This transaction is noteworthy both because of the price — we think this might be the second-biggest sale ever in the Palisades — and because of the lot’s location: it lies directly below Steven Spielberg’s enormous hilltop compound.
Property records reveal that the main residence has about 5,800-square-feet of living space, though it was marketed at the significantly more substantial figure of 8,500. Yolanda is guessing that the discrepancy might have something to do with the compound’s guest house.
The estate was never listed on the open market, but it had been quietly advertised for sale as a $30 million pocket listing by a top local agent. Records indicate that the compound last changed hands many decades ago.
Though shielded behind an anonymously named LLC, the new owner is a woman named Carisa Janes. Our Ms. Janes is the CEO of Hourglass Cosmetics, a Venice, CA-based “luxury, high-performance” makeup brand that she founded in 2004.
In 2017, after years of high-paced growth, the company was acquired by Unilever. Since terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, we cannot say for certain how much cash Ms. Janes raked in. But estimations put the dollar value at somewhere between $250 and $300 million.
Whatever the final sale price, it was obviously plenty. The very rich (net worth unknown) Ms. Janes just bought a $27 million house! How much in annual property taxes will she be paying, y’all? $300k? More?
Our lovely Ms. Janes has long been married to a Beverly Hills-based attorney named Jay Levitt. Unsurprisingly, Mr. Levitt retired from his law practice in 2017, the same year that his wife sold her company and became a mega-millionaire. While the couple have no children, they are parents to several “furbabies”. (Those are also known as dogs, for all you non-pet owners.)
Now we know Yolanda might take some heat for this, but we only have two photos to share with y’all. All we know is that the house itself is surprisingly modest for $27 million. Obviously the real value is in the 5.67 acres of land — that makes it one of the largest properties on the Riviera — and the epic privacy offered here. There’s also that ocean view, which is pretty sick.
Records show that Ms. Janes and Mr. Levitt have long owned a multi-million dollar home in the resort town of Palm Desert, CA. Their current main residence, however, is a Spanish-style house located on the water in the trendy Venice canals area. (We’re talking Venice, CA, not ol’ Italy. Obviously.)
The Venice house looked rather dated when the couple picked it up for $2,750,000 back in 2013. The 3-bed/2.5-bath 3,247-square-foot property is squeezed onto a microscopic .07-acre lot. That might make it one of the smallest residences (by acreage) Yolanda has ever discussed! No wonder Ms. Janes and Mr. Levitt want some space in their next place.
Anyway, in late 2016, Ms. Janes and Mr. Levitt had their Venice house photographed for Covateur magazine, and it appears to Yolanda as though the couple have substantially renovated the structure since their 2013 purchase. The new look is contemporary, elegant, and filled with lots of white paint, white oak hardwood, and Carrara marble.
Back to the Palisades. We really have no idea what Ms. Janes’ (and Mr. Levitt’s) plans are for the sprawling estate. Maybe they’ll renovate and move in to the fairly humble abode. Or maybe they’ll bulldoze it and build a “green-themed” mega-mansion with an eye to sustainability and conservation, no doubt at extraordinary expense.
Don’t laugh. It has happened before, and Ms. Janes most assuredly has the financial firepower to make it happen again. And maybe, just maybe, she’ll hit up Yolanda to come visit when it is all done! Pretty please, Ms. Janes?
Listing agent: Dan Urbach, The Agency