Harry’s now has a hair removal line for women.
The direct-to-consumer brand Flamingo launches today on its own e-commerce site. Flamingo is the first brand to come out of Harry’s Labs, the company’s in-house brand incubator.
For five-year-old Harry’s, the creation of a brand is its first step in transforming from solely a men’s shaving concept to next-generation consumer packaged goods company. In February, Alliance Consumer Growth took a minority stake in Harry’s. Terms of the investment were not disclosed, but Harry’s at the time said it would give the company more money to “build brands across multiple categories.”
Flamingo is Harry’s first foray into products designed specifically for women, and it also goes beyond shaving, venturing into a space that is typically relegated to darker corners of the drugstore — at-home waxing. The product assortment consists of hair removal and body-care products for women, including razors, handles, blades, wax kits, shaving gel and body lotion. Like the Harry’s brand, Flamingo’s products are priced less than those found on mass-market shelves — a razor costs $9; a set of four replacement blades also costs $9; shave gel costs $5; body lotion, $9, and wax kits for face and body, $10 each.
The idea behind Flamingo was to have a “holistic suite of products to better meet women’s body-care needs,” said Allie Melnick, general manager of Flamingo. Prior to launching Flamingo, Melnick worked on brand strategy and international development for the Harry’s brand. Melnick runs it with another female Harry’s employee, senior vice president of research and development and design Brittania Boey, who oversees product across the Harry’s and Flamingo brands.
Though the launch of Flamingo comes about eight months after the investment from Alliance Consumer Growth was revealed, the brand has been in development for two years, said Melnick, and is a result of talking to 1,000 female consumers about their hair-removal habits and needs.
“Even before launching Harry’s, in the very early days there was a serious conversation about whether Harry’s should be a unisex brand,” said Melnick, who along with Boey leads a team of 14 Flamingo-dedicated employees. “It seems silly now because we very quickly learned there’s real differences in body hair and how women think of it.”
Traditional Harry’s razors “were not built with our [female] needs in mind,” said Melnick, who noted that while Harry’s was part of a set of direct-to-consumer brands disrupting the men’s shaving market, conversations around women’s hair removal were still “this taboo, hidden thing.”
Flamingo’s razors are designed with ergonomic handles to help women navigate body parts while shaving in the shower, with curved edges. “If you look at a Harry’s razor, there’s a 90-degree angle, and there’s no part of a woman’s body that has a 90-degree angle,” said Melnick. Wax kits are designed with a soft-gel wax that doesn’t require heating to use, and they come with a clear instruction manual, while the web site is home to a waxing guide and the brand’s customer service reps are all trained on how to use the kits. The waxing guides were designed to read “as if a friend were talking to you and guiding you through the process,” said Melnick.
Unlike the Harry’s brand, which launched as a subscription model, Flamingo will not offer a subscription service, said Melnick, which is to encourage customers to buy “what they want, when they want.”
Flamingo is launching at a time when traditional personal-care brands in the shave category are struggling. Procter & Gamble’s razor business is down 1.4 percent and Edgewell, which makes Schick, is also down almost 1 percent, according to IRI data tracking the last 52 weeks ending Oct. 12. In the shave cream category, P&G is down 8 percent and Edgewell is down 7 percent. Harry’s, which entered Target doors in 2016, is growing — its business is up 32 percent in razors, and more than 70 percent in cartridge refills.
It’s not the first direct-to-consumer women’s hair-removal brand to hit the market in the past year — women’s shave brand Billie launched late last year. Billie, a subscription service, sells razor blades and refill packages for $9 each.
“There’s no real conversation around women’s shaving,” said Melnick, who said Flamingo will rely on digital and word-of-mouth marketing. “Flamingo speaks to today’s woman and can have a real honest conversation around the category and take it out of the shadows — I think there’s a real opportunity for women to support a brand that feels like it speaks to you, and is well-informed and thoughtful.”