After experiencing a 7 percent increase in sales between 2011 and 2012, ethnic hair care brand SoftSheen-Carson is looking to continue broadening its brand proposition and its consumer base.
“Going from a niche, relaxed [hair] focused consumer base and increasing our multiethnic outreach are big focuses of ours,” said Nicole Fourgoux, vice president and general manger of L’Oréal-owned SoftSheen-Carson. “Our consumer is highly engaged in the category, but she is still underserved. We saw an opportunity to offer innovation customized to her needs.”
Since Fourgoux joined the brand in 2011, she has been focused on capitalizing on the ever-growing multiethnic consumer base, which is expanding at a rate of more than double the general market, according to Symphony IRI.
To reach this demographic, Fourgoux said she has been zeroing in on product innovation, both with consumers seeking chemical straighteners and natural offerings, and a more inclusive marketing strategy.
“The relaxer segment is underinnovated,” said Fourgoux, adding that the brand is also looking to tap into professional markets. “We are recruiting consumers out of the salon. We are recruiting into the category from outside of the market and within, upgrading her experience into a more involved ritual.”
One “ritual” which Fourgoux has looked to update was relaxers. Earlier this year, the brand launched Amla Legend, a line inspired by Indian ingredients. Among its offerings is a No-Mix, No-Lye Cream Relaxer, billed as a more sensorial, more gentle, relaxing experience. “We think this becomes even more relevant because about 50 percent of [female African-American] consumers are relaxed,” said Fourgoux. In September, the brand will launch a complementary Rejuvenating Oil, $9.99, a hair treatment said to smooth and enhance shine. Even those ethnic customers who do not use relaxers are opting to wear their hair straight, she said. To address them, in July 2012 the brand launched its Dark and Lovely 6 Week Anti-Reversion Cream Serum, which seals hair strands with an amino complex to extend time between relaxing. In September, a new Anti-Reversion Shampoo, Conditioner and Styling Cream, $5.99 to $8.99, will be launched to strengthen the brand’s offerings for the nonchemical straightening shopper.
On the natural front, this September will also bring a new sulfate-free shampoo, $9.99, to the Au Naturale Anti-Shrinkage line, first introduced in January.
“Au Naturale is a big departure to reach out to the natural hair consumer,” said Fourgoux. “The ‘naturalista’ has really welcomed it with open arms — we have become the number-two styling line in drugstores in just a few months. We think the consumers were waiting for a point of view expressed [on shelf] in the natural category.”
Although the brand would not talk numbers, insiders believe last year’s six new stockkeeping units within the Dark and Lovely and Au Naturale brands generated $30 million at retail. The new products — Amla Legend Rejuvenating Oil, Au Naturale Beyond Gentle & Sulfate-Free Wash, Dark and Lovely 6 Week Anti-Reversion Shampoo, Conditioner and Styling Cream Extra Strength — could add an additional $5 million in the first year at retail.
Fourgoux said growth is being fueled in great part by a white space in the ethnic hair category. Citing IRI data, Fourgoux said that in less than six months post-launch, Amla Legend became the number-four ethnic hair care line in drugstores. “Amla was launched into a very high-loyalty segment, and it was very well received,” said Fourgoux. “Now in the second half we are extending our line, which is helpful for ritual building and regimen use.”
Although historically targeting an African-American consumer, Fourgoux said the brand is now focusing on additional segments, including Latinas. “Amla for now from our perspective has broader [potential],” she said. “A lot of our advertising strategy had been [targeted to] African-Americans, and we’re broadening on an ongoing basis. We have a very specific multicultural opportunity.”
To continue its momentum, Fourgoux said the brand is focused on the digital space and has plans to increase its digital presence, namely social media and integrated marketing .
“As consumers get more and more knowledgeable, they understand our products and are interacting with each other,” she said. “As consumers [continue communicating] we see much more cross-usage than in [the] general market. We want to early on encourage this behavior.”
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
Not only does #TheProfit return to CNBC tonight, but @marcuslemonis has launched @shopmarcus, a new shopping and lifestyle retail experience in Aspen and Chicago, with more locations to come. The retail stores offer in-store stylists and a variety of contemporary womenswear selections.
“It’s life, I’m going to face it,” @mingxi11 sighed. “I fell, but you know, I think the most important thing is that I get back up. I had the love, the help from my sister — the girl next to me Gizele [Oliveira] — she’s so nice. When I went backstage everybody was trying to comfort me like ‘Oh Ming, it’s OK.’ I’m really, really touched. I think it’s them who gave me the courage to go back on stage for the finale,” Xi told WWD of her fall at the @victoriassecret fashion show. (📷: David Fisher) #wwdfashion #vsfashionshow #victoriassecret
@louisvuitton tapped @therealpeterlindbergh for its latest city-centric photo book, which is part of a series called Fashion Eye. The primarily black and white book captures the spirit of Berlin in 57 images shot between 1989 and 2019. “Berlin is an inspiration for me, more than a city. I mean @millajovovich is simply Berlin!” said Lindbergh. #wwdfashion
“You know, I think audiences expect a certain performance so I have to deliver to them what they’re expecting to a certain degree. But I’m also a different actor and a different person, I have my own spin on the character,” says @noahegalvin of his takeover of the leading role in “Dear Evan Hansen” following the departure of @bensplatt, who originated the role. Read WWD’s interview with the 23-year-old actor on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
For pre-fall 2018, @etro created richly-colored wonderland, using tapestries, textiles and wallpapers from the Eastern world at large. The line featured floral and graphic prints and jacquard motifs, like this two-piece look featured here. #wwdfashion (📷: Giovanna Pavesi)
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)