The beauty brand was founded by Intercos veterans Jennifer Kapahi and Jack Bensason in 2015 with the slogan “Face in a Case,” and relaunched in 2021 with new products, updated formulas and zero-waste packaging.
But court documents filed as part of the bankruptcy case revealed infighting over control of TrèStique.
In court papers, Tomia, a company affiliated with Kapahi, alleged that Bensason teamed with an outside investor, Asuf Landau, and formed a new company that also called itself Trestique.
The court filings pointed to public records showing that a Delaware corporation, Lucky Color Inc., was formed in January, and in March an “amendment name” was filed in the name of Trestique Inc.
“Upon information and belief, Landau and Bensason caused these filings and changed the name of their entity to Trestique Inc. to serve as the successor to Tomia after defendants looted debtor’s TrèStique cosmetics line and other assets,” an adversary proceeding filed on Tuesday by Tomia with the court alleged.
The document alleges Bensason, Landau and Lucky Color secured a loan to Tomia “for pennies on the dollar,” and now the group is seeking to “facilitate defendants’ looting of debtor.”
Tomia Beauty was subsequently alerted by a Florida law firm on Aug. 4 that there would be a sale of all of the debtor’s property.
“After multiple internet searches, Tomia found one advertisement of the auction sale, that…made no reference to the trade name TrèStique, so that any bidder would have no notice of what assets were actually being sold, let alone that the sale was purportedly of the entire TrèStique business with over $1 million of inventory, intellectual property, good will, established vendor relationships,” the legal documents said.
Among a handful of requests, Tomia is seeking turnover of Bensason’s membership interest and compensation received, and an accounting of defendants’ wrongful misappropriation and dealings.
Kapahi and lawyers for Tomia did not respond to request for comment. Contact information for Bensason and Landau could not be found.
TrèStique products are sold on its website and Amazon. As of Wednesday, its website was still up and running.
Net loss for the first half of the year was listed in court documents as $279,556.