J.R. Watkins

January 18, 2018

Swander Pace Partners with J.R. Watkins to Build Household & Personal Care Business

Minneapolis/San Francisco (January 18, 2018) – Swander Pace Capital, a leading private equity firm specializing in consumer products companies, has acquired the J.R. Watkins Personal Care & Household brand and assets from Watkins, Inc. With 150 years of authentic apothecary heritage, J.R. Watkins offers a broad range of natural personal and home care products sold to leading retailers nationwide.

As part of its investment, Swander Pace will provide the resources and financial backing to carve out the J.R. Watkins Personal Care & Household product offering from Watkins, Inc. into a separate company. The new entity will retain the name J.R. Watkins and will manufacture, market, and sell the same high-quality personal care and household products for which it has been known for 150 years. Watkins, Inc. will continue to manufacture and sell its range of high-quality spices and extracts, offered under the Watkins brand.

“We are looking forward to building on the legacy of J.R. Watkins to increase its share of the household and personal care category,” said Heather Smith Thorne, managing director at Swander Pace Capital. “J.R. Watkins has always stood for a superior range of products, high caliber of customer service, and extremely loyal customer base. These are tremendous assets for any consumer-facing business and are major reasons we are excited about partnering with this team and brand.”

Mark Jacobs, CEO of Watkins, Inc., will continue his involvement with J.R. Watkins as vice chairman of the newly formed J.R. Watkins company.

“We are thrilled to be working with such an experienced and knowledgeable partner in Swander Pace,” said Jacobs. “Time and again, they have nurtured authentic brands with high-quality products in the natural products space, helping them become leaders in their categories.

He added, “Swander Pace is known for helping companies grow revenues, improve profitability and unlock value, and we look forward to working with their team to ensure J.R. Watkins is well-positioned for long-term success.”

Established in 1868, J.R. Watkins began as an apothecary and supplier of personal care goods. Today, it is a globally recognized brand synonymous with high quality, efficacious products and attractive design across a variety of household and personal care product categories. The company maintains a strong distribution network consisting of well-known distributors and retailers, as well as a growing online and Amazon presence.

“Amid changing customer tastes, J.R. Watkins is in a unique position to increase its market share in the natural home, bath and body care business, said Mark Poff, managing director at Swander Pace Capital. We are confident that the investment will put the company in the best possible position to expand upon its already-successful legacy.”

BMO Capital Markets advised Watkins, Inc. on the transaction. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

About Swander Pace Capital 
Swander Pace Capital (SPC) is a private equity firm that invests in companies that are integral to consumers’ lives. SPC’s consumer industry expertise informs the firm’s strategic approach and adds value through access to its proven SPC Playbook, senior team, and extensive network. The firm partners with management teams to help build companies to their full potential. SPC invests in businesses across three domains of consumer lifestyles: Food & Beverage, Body & Wellness, and Home & Family. With offices in San Francisco, New Jersey, and Toronto, SPC has invested in more than 45 companies and raised cumulative equity commitments of approximately $1.8 billion since 1996. For more information, visit

About J.R. Watkins
The J.R. Watkins Co. creates gourmet spices and extracts, personal care and home care products with only the finest natural ingredients. J.R. Watkins products are available at a variety of North American retailers and online at For more information, visit or follow J.R. Watkins on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Media Contact:
Sean Mogle
LANE, a Finn Partners Company
Phone: 212.593.5801