October 31, 2000 5:20 PM PST

Beautyjungle.com slashes staff

The online beauty market keeps getting uglier.

Beauty products e-tailer Beautyjungle.com cut nearly 60 percent of its staff today in an effort to reduce costs, company representatives said. Shrinking Beautyjungle's work force from 70 to 30 employees, the cuts affected workers at the company's Chicago headquarters and in its Indianapolis and New York offices.

Company spokesman Glen Nelson denied reports from F***edCompany.com that Beautyjungle was ceasing operations.

"This affords us time to review all the options that are active," Nelson said, adding that the company was exploring funding options as well as the possibility of being acquired. "For any successful dot-com, there's a world of opportunity out there, but not a world of time.

Beautyjungle was one of several beauty stores that came online last year during the e-tail boom. Despite high hopes for the sector, the subsequent bust has all but obliterated the start-ups in the nascent market.

Beautyjungle's downfall follows the demise of rival beauty products e-tailer Eve.com, which shut its doors and laid off most of its 164 employees earlier this month. In January, Amazon.com-backed Drugstore.com bought Beauty.com. And in April, Estee Lauder acquired Gloss.com.

The job cuts at Beautyjungle affected all departments at the company, Nelson said. Among those laid off were Wendy Schmid and Anne Weintraub, both vice presidents of content and creative at Beautyjungle.

Nelson declined to say whether the company gave severance packages for laid-off employees.

Earlier this year, Beautyjungle expanded into business-to-business e-commerce, opening a marketplace for retailers and manufacturers of beauty products. The company also recently began to accept and ship orders overseas.

Despite the layoffs, Nelson said Beautyjungle plans to continue both its consumer and business-to-business operations. "The expectation is to keep all operations running," he said.

Beautyjungle has raised more than $23 million to date, with its most recent funding coming in a $20 million second round. The company is backed by Divine InterVentures, an Internet incubator focused on e-commerce.

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