We just completed our first CEW (Cosmetic Executive Women) Event “Getting to the Root of the Hair Care Boom” and we must say, we were blown away. In fact, we have been busy following up on all the amazing connections from just this one event! As a small, women-owned business moving toward our big aspirations to bring greater sustainability, stress-reducing and healthier practices to hair styling routines, this was extremely positive and inspiring.
The ambiance exceeded most virtual gatherings because of the diversity of experience: corporate CEOs and entrepreneurial CEOs, young vibrant visionaries and knowledgeable long-time experts. The respect shown for all of these different stage-of-development brands was highly refreshing. It was as if we were all one in affirming an elevated view of the growing world of customizable and holistic hair and self-care routines.
Biggest understandings affirmed:
- Be real with your customers. Build a trusted relationship, genuinely care.
- Show your expertise; have scientifically-valid, expert advice to give.
- Make it personal – give as personalized a service as possible – electronic one-on-one + one-on-one video calls.
Kline, a leader in qualitative and quantitative data, started out by telling us we are in the right place at the right time:
- Hair self-care has been top-of-mind and market share during Covid and 2020 was the first year ever when hair care grew while skin care and makeup declined.
- Eco is bigger than ever as a niche and growing, quickly bridging the chasm to mass-market, with large companies taking note with acquisitions and multipliers up substantially.
- Science is never settled: new breakthroughs and understandings about our hair and scalp ecosystems and structures are pointing to “less is more.”
- Concepts like waterless, responsibly-sourced and zero-waste move to the very forefront.
- Direct-to-consumer and e-commerce will continue to be a larger part of hair care, paired together with a higher demand for personalized hair health education content.
- Customizable hair care product selection has elevated to new heights and expanding offerings.
- As salons come back to life, product sales will be important, matching or eclipsing cut, color, and style services in revenue.
Then we heard from those moving markets—our new “hair sheroes” driving responsible, sustainable and eco-centric changes forward.
Meet Rahua: “We are rainforest grown beauty with an ancient, now not so secret, special ingredient.”
Entrepreneur and co-founder, Anna Ayers of Rahua, wife to Fabian Lliguin—a renowned hairstylist and colorist in New York City who was visiting the Amazon rainforest as an environmentalist and humanitarian and discovered their ancient rainforest secret ingredient to long, lustrous hair— together brought “Rainforest Grown Beauty” to life as an eco-focused couple back to the rest of the world. The amazingly researched plant-based hair oils are sourced sustainably, while providing tribal women at their ingredient source in Central America with empowered lives and livelihoods. She is “Plants R Us,” and a wash-your-hair-less advocate, which we love, as well as being concerned about what goes down the drain as what goes onto your scalp, body and hair.
They are also Symbiotic® certified, which means they are helping to build economies and strengthening Indigenous Communities and its Peoples.
Meet Everist: “We’re here to make eco easier. Imperfect environmentalists welcome.”
Jayme Jenkins is founder of Everist waterless shampoos. Helping toward zero waste, the Everist tubes come with a special roller to ensure every last ounce of product is used.
Their products are without sulfates or environmental toxins, and encourage better scalp massaging during use. We absolutely love that they educate the public about why clean beauty is important, what happens to our trash, and what makes some packaging materials better than others when looking at recyclability and impact. Finally, their “Cap Back” program that allows consumers to send them back in to be upcycled, because although their plastic caps are “technically recyclable PET plastic,” they understand that in reality plastic often still ends up in the trash.
Meet Love Beauty and Planet: “We believe that looking good and doing good should go hand-in-hand.”
Sonika Malhottra, of company giant Unilever, heads the intrapreneurial Love Beauty Planet brand, and proved that the eco-sustainability market niche is a serious growth and continued trend area, even for the big personal body care players.
Sonika convinced her bosses that sustainability is definitely not just for hippies, and three years into the product line development, it is one of Unilever’s fastest growing beauty segments, and is also PETA certified as vegan and cruelty-free.
In the business-end of conversations, we affirmed that:
- Influencers are amazing – double down on your interactions and inspire them with your enthusiasm.
- Salon revenue is 55% from products – talk to your local salons and get on their shelves.
- “Reusable packaging, lifetime-products, zero-waste” – define how you do these things – tell the story of your trip to sustainable thinking, don’t just use these “buzz words.”
- Expert opinion is valuable. People are researching now more than ever, especially into natural, safer and healthier alternatives.
- People are willing to be upsold if they trust you and know why they are paying more than drugstore items.
- Emphasize “small business” creds and share your journey.
- On website: Put a diagnostic path to lead your customer down an easy-to-follow path for their specific needs that lead to your specific and personalized solutions.
- Make it EASY to communicate and purchase – use live chat features, social media, payment installments, Have EASY buttons and ways to be in touch with your team.
- Speak to the people who want to speak to you – don’t go for the fringe. Even though you want to leap to all across that abyss, aim still at the early adopters, the others follow them, not you.
We are still reveling in the fact that CharlieCurls, a small but mighty and growing brand, got into the right flow at the right time and our holistic development is following market trends.
Meet CharlieCurls: “We’re passionate about saving hair and our planet from unnecessary heat damage, while empowering women of all ages to style anywhere.”
What we have heard over and over from our customers is that they love that they can go “from easy bun to beautiful and done!” No-heat hair styling has never been this easy and eco-minded (our process was called the “cleanest and greenest” way to style hair at the ShiftCon Eco-Wellness Conference last year, as it’s better for hair and our planet). Our aim is to empower women to take back their freedom to style anytime, anywhere: on-the-go, overnight, even while practicing yoga or going on a hike out in nature and look good while styling. With less than one minute of prep, women feel better about how they take care of their hair after they (hopefully) clean their hair with amazingly healthy products available—like those from the brands mentioned above!
As we learn more and experience how to extend this new knowledge from each and every one of our customers, our own personal hair care and repair journeys, and from the rising new wave of earth-loving leaders—we promise to share and reflect back what we learn about how to have the best and most-nourished and loved hair possible!