June 19, 2021

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Prose Wants to Customise Everything in Your Bathroom | BoF Professional, The Business of Beauty, News & Analysis

Prose wants to bring its custom approach to hair care to other categories.

The brand launched in 2017 with custom hair care products, based on surveys customers filled out before making a purchase, with questions about hair type, fitness routines and hair-washing habits. In the years since, it’s expanded beyond its core product lineup (a shampoo, conditioner and pre-shampoo hair mask) into other hair care products, including hair oil, curl cream and dry shampoo.

The concept proved a hit, with sales reaching $45 million last year. Now, the company plans to enter other product categories, like supplements, and has hired a pair of consumer goods industry veterans to oversee the expansion. The goal is to hit $100 million in revenue this year.

Prose isn’t alone in its ambitions to be bigger than hair. Category expansion has increasingly gone from aspiration to actuality for a slew of direct-to-consumer beauty and personal care brands, with companies like Harry’s and Hims and Hers expanding into new arenas — or even launching new brands.

“This is a really important moment in our journey to move from a pure hair care brand to becoming a CPG leader around personalisation,” Arnaud Plas, Prose’s co-founder and chief executive, said.

To get there, it’s building up its C-suite, announcing today the hiring of a new chief marketing officer, Megan Streeter and chief financial officer, Mike Nathenson. Those two hires are set to play a part in the brand’s next chapter, which is defined by goals beyond shampoo and conditioner.

To fuel Prose’s next chapter of growth, it’s looking to expand beyond the products consumers would typically find in the hair care aisle, and eventually, beyond hair entirely. It made its biggest step yet towards that goal earlier this month, rolling out supplements, its most notable innovation since the launch of its hero product as it’s the first move outside of a more traditional hair care lineup.

“We’ve seen that what we saw in hair care is something that we can replicate in many categories,” said Plas.

That begins with the supplement product ‘Root Source.’ It’s still hair-related — its purpose is to treat hair loss — but is a step outside the classic lineup. Plas said Root Source will be the brand’s biggest launch of 2021.

Prose’s ambitions are part of the reasoning in bringing on Streeter and Nathenson, Plas said, both of whom have experience in the CPG arena. Streeter was formerly the CMO at DevaCurl, while Nathenson was the CFO at Cholula Food Company. Nathansen’s hire in particular hints at Prose’s future aspirations: at Cholula, Nathenson oversaw the eventual sale to McCormick, and has experience in taking companies public, perhaps pointing to hopes for either a future sale or IPO.

Still, to reach that $100 million mark, Plas said Prose must continue to expand not only its offerings, but also the number of people buying its products. It’s investing in new marketing strategies, like out-of-home ads on the New York City subway and television advertising, to do so.

Room for growth, he added, feels almost endless in the personalisation space, a trend that’s rapidly gained momentum in the beauty industry in recent years. Another custom hair care brand, Function of Beauty, launched in Target stores at the end of 2020, while brands have popped up in other areas, too, like custom skin care brand Curology.

“If you look at our environments, like when you listen to music, Spotify is personalised, when you look at Netflix, it’s personalised,” said Plas. “The beauty industry is late in the game.”

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