The pandemic may have been what fueled Madison Reed’s rapid growth, but it’s not slowing down its innovation -- even as more people return to hair salons.
The D2C hair-color company now offers on-demand video consultations with licensed colorists, who provide everything from product suggestions to hands-on help.
“People are actually taking us into their bathrooms with them,” says Amy Errett, CEO and founder. “We’ve always been digital-first, and we’ve been offering these free 15-minute consultations in beta, but on a scheduled basis.”
Now, she says, the company has ironed out the scheduling logistics, and demand during the early days has been strong.
The company launched as a D2C brand in 2013 and began opening brick-and-mortar Color Bars in 2017. It became a household name early in the pandemic, as locked-down consumers faced their grey hairs and emerging roots with dismay.
Home hair-color sales increased 12fold, and the company’s revenues rose some 130%, surpassing $100 million. And while more salons are reopening, Errett says the demand for at-home color isn’t slowing.
Consumers choose their hair color based on an online quiz. “Most of the time, they like the options,” she says. “But sometimes they want to talk it through with somebody.”
They can either order the product or book an appointment at a nearby Color Bar, which also offers walk-in services.
Errett says COVID-19 offered proof that women “are going to color their hair no matter what the heck happens.” And now that many have tried at-home products, they’re reconsidering their former relationship with salons.
Madison Reed’s expanding roster of 38 in-person salons is part of that change. “Our Color Bars are going to surprise the heck out of people,” she tells D2C FYI. “Women are not all going to sit for three hours, pay $300 and not know the ingredients of what’s in their hair anymore.”
Color Bars offer walk-in appointments, the freedom of not being tied to one stylist, and Madison Reed’s signature products, which boast an “Ingredients with Integrity” promise. Consumers can also buy a box of their color for later at-home use.
Errett’s confident the growth will keep on coming. For one thing, “we converted a lot of people who used to go to salons.” For another, the company benefited from a considerable jump in brand recognition.
“And with our Color Bars, when people do choose to go back to salons, they can come to us. We are creating a new category.”