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Pulleez Uses Innovation to Stand Out Among Hair-Care Accessory Giants

The vibrant hair-care sales bonanza is cascading into the accessory sector and that's brought a windfall to an up-and-coming hair jewelry brand.

Pulleez Uses Innovation to Compete in
Pulleez crystal hair tie. Brian Anderson

While producing fashion shows in 2012, Diana Wright needed a way to hold models’ hair back in a ponytail without creating any damage. That gave birth to Pulleez, a patented sliding ponytail holder with charms to securely tie back tresses. Many retailers credit Pulleez with glamorizing the traditional ponytail.

Beyond the clever mechanism, Wright saw an opportunity to build a better hair elastic than existing mass market options. She added custom charms that elevate hair ties into hair jewelry and encourage multiple purchases. “They are less damaging to your hair and they double as a bracelet,” Wright said.

Her strategy clicked and Henri Bendel was the first to pick up the brand. That was followed by QVC where Pulleez has become the number-one selling hair accessory for the company for the past four years. “Before our launch, QVC considered hair accessories a stagnant category. However, that changed when we sold out in our first appearance in under five minutes,” Wright said. “Now, we are seeing prestige and masstige hair accessories are growing faster than the mass market [hair accessories].”

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With momentum growing, Wright said Pulleez will debut on ulta.com in the next few months. That’s in addition to distribution at Harmon, Amazon and the company’s web site. Wright also sees big growth potential for international expansion in the year to come. “Pulleez will be a global brand that offers a desirable alternative to mass products,” Wright explained. The current boom in indie beauty has a halo effect on her hair, she said. “If you are spending money on your makeup, it’s only natural to spend on jewelry for your hair rather than something generic.”

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Pulleez Uses Innovation to Compete in
Sporteez with sports-themed charms.

To further separate from the pack, Wright is expanding her hair jewelry range with new metal charms accented with Czech Preciosa crystals along with launching Sporteez, a range of hair ties with sports-themed charms. Prices range from $9 to $18 and there are more than 60 styles in the portfolio. Next up will be a holiday-inspired collection and a new product that is a sliding system to affix eyewear to a necklace.

The $85 billion global hair-care category is one of the fastest segments of beauty, expanding more than 4 percent per year. Furthermore, Zion Research predicts worldwide sales will hit $110 billion by 2024. In the U.S, NPD said hair sales are expanding faster than cosmetics with sales for the 12-month period ended in May up 19 percent to $645.4 million. Younger consumers in particular are driving growth of more premium products, including in hair accessories, Wright said. Social media has been a major motivator behind exposure for the brand with many influencers and notables wearing them.