By  on August 8, 2014

NEW YORK — Kids’ hair care is beginning to make the cut.

With the exception of a few mass lines, products to clean and style children’s hair have been an overlooked segment of the $12 billion-plus hair category.

Cozy Friedman, founder of Cozy Cuts for Kids salons in Manhattan, hopes to change that with the launch of her custom created line for tots to teens, called SoCozy. The three collections — Cinch, Behave and Boo — will ship to salons and select retailers later this month with a goal of hitting as many as 700 doors by the end of the year.

Friedman, whose salons have shorn the tresses of more than a million kids over the past 20 years, founded Cozy Cuts when she saw a need for a fear-free place for kids to get quality service. “When I opened the salons, I couldn’t find products without ‘nasty,’ chemical ingredients, so I created my own,” said Friedman.

Requests poured in from more than 200 salons and specialty beauty merchants who wanted the products. Based on that success, Friedman teamed with Scott Gurfein, an entrepreneur best known in beauty for his acquisition and expansion of Botox alternative Freeze 24-7, to build a team to expand distribution.

The totally overhauled and repackaged SoCozy line has already been picked up by Pierre Michel, Giggle and Soap.com. In addition, the company is in advanced launch discussions with leading national beauty and fashion retailers. SoCozy’s three ranges are also available on the company’s Web site.

“We are creating a new category,” said Gurfein, who added the line doesn’t cannibalize from existing salon products targeted to adults while also building incremental volume for retailers. “The category appears to be ignored, which is counterintuitive, because the target group [moms] is one of the most engaged consumers who frequently share favorite products with others,” Gurfein said. “It is the low-hanging fruit — unbelievably low.”

The demand for safe hair care for kids is so strong industry sources estimate SoCozy could achieve sales of $20 million.

The lineup addresses common problems associated with kids’ hair, but does not contain parabens, sulfates, synthetic colors and dyes. “We have so many parents say they have allergies that we keep that in mind,” said Friedman.

The basic cleaning and conditioning products are called Cinch. To make them easy for moms to use with small children, Cinch encompasses a three-in-one shampoo, conditioner and body wash, a two-in one shampoo and body wash and a superhydrating conditioner. Behave is the name for stylers such as a mousse, a soft-hold cream and a styling gel. Boo is a line of lice repellents that got the biggest reaction from those attending Cosmoprof North America last month. Friedman has many anecdotes from consumers whose kids avoided lice at camps or school while others were infected. Future launches include Splash, a formula to counteract hair damage from swimming, as well as an item for curly hair called Boing. In the works are lice remedies and products to solve severe knotting.

SoCozy price points range from $11.95 for shampoos and stylers to $14.50 for Boo lice prevention spray.

Ian Ginsberg, president of C.O. Bigelow, was one of the first to add Friedman’s original products to his store and is equally excited about the repackaged collection. “It’s not a crowded space,” Ginsberg explained. “It fills a white space in our store and Cozy has done it well.”

The new line features educational materials and shelf talkers in fixtures that showcase the three collections. Social media will play a key role in marketing, especially since so many moms turn to the Internet for information, said Friedman.

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