Celebrity hairstylist and colorist seeks to end deal and gain creative control and ownership of eponymous brand.
Maesa was granted exclusive rights to sell hair care products under the Kristin Ess brand and the two worked together to develop her hair care line.
In a series of Instagram posts, Ess explained:
“I am suing my partners for several reasons, but the primary one being that I was misled during this partnership,” she wrote. “They sold themselves to me as a beauty brand incubator, touting their ability to launch, grow [and] eventually sell my brand to ensure its continued success. Instead of holding true to their commitments, they’ve continued gripping onto my brand, using it as a piggy bank to fund their many other ideas. Their actions are not fair to me, or to the long-term growth of Kristin Ess Hair.”
“The one thing I know for sure is – if I don’t fight with everything I’ve got in this moment, the Kristin Ess hair brand will continue to suffer and deviate from the path I’ve always dreamed for it,” she added. “I can’t just sit back and watch that.”
In a statement, Maesa Chief Executive Officer Piyush Jain said: “Since its inception, Maesa has been dedicated to the growth and expansion of the Kristin Ess brand. Maesa appreciates the early insights and contributions Ms. Kristin made to the brand. We’ve provided various affordable salon quality luxury hair care products to consumers worldwide. Unfortunately, the parties have several disagreements about aspects of our commercial agreement. We adamantly disagree with Kristin’s allegations about Maesa and the parties’ relationship. However, even during this time of disagreement, Maesa remains committed to focusing on and continuing the success of the Kristin Ess brand and providing consumers with exceptional haircare products worthy of the trust of the Kristin Ess community and consumers. We cannot comment any further on this matter at the current time.”
Maesa has been undergoing rapid growth and has nearly doubled revenues in the last three years.
Ess’ breach-of-contract lawsuit was submitted to the California Central District Court on 22 November 2022.