R+Co brushes

R+Co is rounding out its assortment of Millennial-friendly hair products with the addition of two new categories.

The Luxury Brand Partners-owned hair brand, which is targeted at a fashion-oriented consumer and was cofounded by editorial hairstylists Garren, Howard McLaren and Thom Priano, is rolling out tools and fragrance sprays.

Three round boar bristle brushes and a fragrance spray are this week entering the brand’s U.S salon and retail distribution. This includes a network of 1,500 upscale salons, Space NK shops within Nordstrom doors, Bluemercury, Forever 21’s Riley Rose and independent apothecaries such as C.O. Bigelow in New York, as well as online specialty retailers like Net-a-porter, Birchbox and Revolve. The brushes are priced from $80 to $90, and an 8.5-ounce bottle of fragrance spray is priced at $20. 

The addition of two new categories, said president of R+Co Reuben Carranza, serves to round out the brand’s offering in a period of steady fast-paced growth. Carranza declined to talk financials, but industry sources estimate the brand will reach $50 million in annual retail sales by year’s end, and project it is on track to grow that number by 50 percent in 2018.

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“We’re continuing to evolve the story of the brand,” said Carranza of the new categories. “It’s more about enhancing the overall experience.

The brushes were designed based on insight from the Collective — that’s what R+Co calls its trio of hairstylist founders.

“We were on set doing product videos, and there was an ongoing dialogue with the Collective about tools — tools they liked and didn’t like, bad experiences they’d had with hair dryers and brushes,” Carranza said. “We took that and started to collate around, ‘What would the perfect round brush look like?’”

While Carranza noted that brushes and tools had always been in the innovation pipeline since the R+Co was founded in 2014, the fragrance sprays came about more organically.

“We started to see early on as we launched that things like the packaging were getting a lot of play and it really created a point of differentiation — and we also started to get a lot of feedback on our fragrance,” Carranza said. R+Co is signified by its graphic packaging — each item has a bold, wallpaper-style design to correspond with its name, such as the Death Valley dry shampoo and Park Avenue blowout cream. “When we launched, Robertet did five fragrances for us — and they’re really designer fragrances — that were used throughout the lineup.”

Relative Paradise, an earthy scent based in notes of lemon, tangerine and eucalyptus, was one of the original scents. The fragrance spray was a result of accidental crowdsourcing. A small batch of Relative Paradise as a holiday gift for salon partners two years ago, and the feedback was so overwhelmingly positive that the brand decided to sell it at retail. “We heard so many stories of salon owners using the fragrance spray on haircutting capes and kimonos and towels at the back stations — it started to become an experience component of the brand through what I’d call crowdsourcing feedback,” Carranza said.

R+Co keeps a sharp eye on trend via its trio of hairstylist cofounders.

“When Garren does Kendall’s hair for the September cover of Vogue and has a conversation about her beauty routine and how she’s thinking about product, that directly informs how we think about our innovation and products and performance,” Carranza said. “The DNA is based on these iconic hairdressers, and we wanted to focus on the beauty-involved consumer with a bend toward fashion trend and a more Millennial age group, but we knew there was a void in brands were appealing to that demographic.

“There’s a discernment around how many products they’re willing to use — the days of five or six different products for a morning routine is not how the Millennial is thinking,” he continued. “They want a hero and they want complementary, and they’re willing to experiment [with different brands], so that raises the bar for brands to have a definable point of differentiation and raises expectation that the product is going do what it says. If you don’t perform, everyone knows about it very quickly via chats and blogs.”

And despite much rumbling in the industry as of late over the death of salon retail, Carranza is insistent that the salon channel is key to R+Co’s growth strategy. “We’re going to be very focused on helping salon partners close on share of wallet,” Carranza said. “One in five consumers leaves the hair salon without purchasing a product. How do they get one more client to leave with a retail product?”

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