direct-to-consumer brands

Madison Reed's Launch Skirts Men's Hair Hang-Ups

Madison Reed is introducing Mr. Hair Color for Men with the hopes of eliminating a double stigma. Turns out guys aren’t just ultra-bashful about coloring their hair; they also have a little shame about the quality of DIY hair dye.

And while there are some similarities to Madison Reed products for women,  “we knew we needed to introduce this as a sub-brand,” says Heidi Dorosin, Madison Reed's CMO. “We’re sure men wouldn’t respond to a web page showing a bunch of women.”

She tells Marketing Daily the San Francisco-based company had already planned to introduce a men’s line in 2020, even before the pandemic. But once people realized they couldn’t get to the salon, Madison Reed sales soared. The company says it’s seen the number of new customers increase twelve-fold since the crisis.



In February, it was selling Radiant Color Kit, a hero product, every 24 seconds. By May, that had risen to a sale every five seconds.

“We were getting such a tremendous explosion of awareness and brand trial,” Dorosin says. “People say luck is when opportunity meets preparation. We had the opportunity, and we took it.”

She says Madison Reed is aiming Mr. at men who already color their hair, as well as neophytes.

And even pre-pandemic, there had been a shifting in the way American men think about their appearance. CVS, for example, just announced it was introducing a men’s cosmetics line from Stryx in many of its stores.

Still, Dorosin says most men want to keep hair coloring a secret. “Based on all our research and plenty of consumer interviews, we are very far away from hair color not having stigma, particularly the stigma of coloring your hair at home. Men do not want their buddies to know.”

A major difference is that Mr. is designed to partially cover the gray, creating a blending effect, “like adding a little more pepper to the salt. Women, on the other hand, are adamant that they want hair color to cover the gray entirely.”

It takes 10 minutes to apply, lasts three weeks and also works on beards. And it differs from other Madison Reed products in that it’s easier to apply, the company says.

What’s consistent, however, is the commitment to safer ingredients, including no ammonia, parabens, phthalates, or titanium dioxide. It also contains lots of the good stuff that appeals to women, too, like eucalyptus leaf oil and black pepper seed extract. “We found that men have tremendous love for their hair. They don’t want to lose it,” Dorosin says.

Marketing plans include Facebook, Instagram, SEO, direct mail and an influencer effort. Dorosin says plans are in the works for a TV campaign later this year.

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