Traditional ideas about gender tell us men aren’t interested in luxury health and beauty products.
On one hand, I know that’s not true.
On the other hand, my male partner has had the same Axe body wash and shampoo in his shower since December 2016.
Old generalizations die hard, but the often-hilarious branding discrepancies between hygiene products targeted at men and women seem to be fading. So why does my thoughtful grown-up boyfriend smell like he’s about to ask me to prom over the loudspeaker in the cafetorium?
According to upstart men’s personal care brand Hawthorne, it might be because his options are terrible.
“Two years ago, we realized that not only were premium personal care options for men limited in offering, but they were also often marketed in ways and sold in places that made them essentially inaccessible for most men,” Hawthorne co-founder and CEO Brian Jeong said in a statement. “We were left to consider only either antiquated ‘dad brands’ on drugstore shelves or expensive luxury brands in Sephoras and department stores.”
Hawthorne is looking to harness the subscription wellness trend and the hunger for personalization to reach men where they are. And today it secured $8 million in Series A funding to that end. The round was led by Imaginary Ventures, which also backed Instagram-favorite cosmetics and skincare brand Glossier.
Customers can go on Hawthorne’s website and take a 21-question quiz to create a personalized skin and hair care package. Naturally, I posed as my boyfriend and took the entire thing.
The quiz contained some obvious questions, like, “What is your hair type?” and, “How often do you shower?”
It also contained some not-so-obvious questions, like, “Where do you work?” and, “Personality?” and, “How do you feel about sweat?” (I love it!!! Give me more!!!)
Once the quiz was submitted, Hawthorne’s algorithm generated a customized cart containing two colognes (one for work, one for other places), shampoo, conditioner, body wash and deodorant. It offered the choice of a one-time buy or a recurring purchase at a lower price point.
With the men’s personal care market expected to reach $166 billion by 2022, Hawthorne seems to be in the right place at the right time. Its products are cruelty-free, sulfate-free and paraben-free and feature simple, gender-neutral branding.