TORONTO — A Toronto-based beauty brand that has become a cult hit and garnered attention from the likes of Kim Kardashian West is abruptly closing all of its stores.
Brandon Truaxe, the founder of Deciem, said in an Instagram video he posted over the weekend that he is shutting down operations until further notice.
Truaxe did not give a clear reason for the closure of the stores, which are often emblazoned with "the Abnormal Beauty Company" slogan, but alludes to criminal charges in the video.
"Please take me seriously," he said. "Almost everyone at Deciem has been involved in a major criminal activity, which includes financial crimes and much other. You have no idea what a soldier I have been for 13 years."
Earlier on HuffPost Canada:
Truaxe listed his location for the post as the White House and named and tagged dozens of high-profile brands and people, including George Clooney, Brad Pitt, RBC, U.S. President Donald Trump and recent Deciem investor Estee Lauder Companies Inc. in the missive.
In a statement made to The Canadian Press, Estee Lauder distanced itself from the matter by calling it a "minority" investor in the brand, and noting "we do not control the company's operations, social media or personnel decisions."
Truaxe's mysterious post comes years after he founded Deciem in 2013 and shot to fame with droves of loyal fans, including Kim Kardashian West, who once raved about the brand's The Ordinary's Granactive Retinoid Two per cent Emulsion Serum.
Deciem sold its products, which include the popular The Ordinary line, online, in various department stores and at about 30 stores it opened in Canada, the U.S., the U.K., Mexico, South Korea and the Netherlands.
On Tuesday, Deciem's website noted almost all of them were closed and the phone went unanswered when The Canadian Press tried to reach managers at several locations.
Deciem spokespeople did not respond to requests for comment and neither did several landlords for properties occupied by the brand.
Changed title from 'CEO' to 'worker'
Truaxe's Instagram post announcing the store closure was not the first time he caught attention for his social media missives. In January, he posted about an attempted hack on Deciem's Instagram page, saying "This could be a past employee, someone who doesn't like us, a competitor, we don't really know but we're going to find out."
Days later he was telling his followers that he was dropping his chief executive officer title in favour of "worker."
"Responsible people don't need CEOs and our team has been really responsible," he said. "I've never liked any of my bosses in my life, so I don't want to be a boss; I want to be a friend. I want people to be my friend and not my employee."
In February, he posted a handful of videos of garbage piles with captions promising to eliminate plastic shopping bags, droppers and foundation bottles. It's unclear if he ever made good on the promise.
A remark from Truaxe to a social media follower in February angered some of the brand's fans enough for them to begin posting images of burning Deciem products.
Truaxe then ousted his co-CEO Nicola Kilner and the brand's chief financial officer Stephen Kaplan stepped down.