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Ouai Connects to Hair-Care Customers With Online Consultations

Launching Nov. 17, the brand's digital consultation service delivers personalized product suggestions to customers.

It costs $650 to get a haircut and consultation from celebrity hairstylist Jen Atkin at the Andy LeCompte Salon in West Hollywood, Calif., but it will soon be possible to obtain the consult part for free from her hair-care brand.

Launching Nov. 17, Ouai’s web site will offer a digital consultation service that delivers personalized product suggestions to customers who provide information about the condition of their hair and their desired results. If they choose to, customers can put their customized hair-care regimes on auto-replenishment through the service.

“I don’t think there’s one person who hasn’t asked me, ‘Can you take a look at my hair?’ People send me pictures over Snapchat saying, ‘My curls are flat, what should I do?’ Even when I’m at dinner parties, people pull me aside and say, ‘I know you don’t want to work, but I have a quick question,’” said Atkin. “To me, that spoke to the need for this consultation. We are the hair-care brand of the people, and we are constantly having conversations with our customers. This is one more way to connect.”

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The consultation is centered around seven questions covering topics including volume, texture, roots, ends and hair thinning. Atkin explained the questions were designed to help Ouai address the issues she and her fellow professional hairstylists often receive when they’re handling clients’ hair. She said they also assist the brand in supplying unique product prescriptions to customers like volume shampoo for their roots and repair shampoo for their ends rather than either volume shampoo or repair shampoo for roots and ends.

“We have fallen into a one-size-fits-all with hair care, but no two women are the same. We are letting them give us the specifics of their hair, and we give them specific products just for them,” said Atkin. “There are so many different scenarios, and I really feel every woman needs something specific to her.”

Even in the early days of her brand, which launched in March at Sephora, Atkin argued for a product subscription option. She was drawn to the convenience that option could provide. While it’s unclear how big Ouai’s subscription business can be, auto shipments are key revenue drivers for companies such as The Honest Co. and Guthy-Renker.

“I’m a person on the go. All of my clients and friends are the same, and I don’t see it getting slower for any of us. For something that is a necessity in life — most of the products in our bathrooms are necessities — why not make that easily accessible? We have the technology to do it, so it was important to me to make sure that subscriptions were offered,” said Atkin. “It’s a no-brainer. If I don’t have to think about one more thing, that’s a huge, huge plus for me.”

Ouai copresidents Andrew Knox and Deanna Kangas believe the consultation service exposes customers to the brand’s full spectrum of products. Today, it has 20 products on the market, and bestsellers are the Wave Spray, Texturizing Hairspray, Hair Oil and Treatment Masque. “This will allow them to see what shampoo and conditioner is right for them. We feel it will help us pick up on a [shampoo and conditioner] category that’s been behind our styling category,” said Knox.

In addition, the consultation service can be a tool to introduce customers to new products as well as ascertain from them what concerns they have that Ouai should be tackling. “We are going to to get to know a lot more about our consumer,” said Knox. “If we start to see a lot of curls or a lot of smooth hair, we can look into making the right assortment for that. We are going to get a lot of learnings to see how we can widen the range in the future.”