Direct-to-consumer lifestyle brand Hims and its sister-brand Hers are extending further into over-the-counter products.
Starting March 27, Hims now offers over-the-counter hair-care options including a reformulated shampoo and a brand-new conditioner product, both of which are meant to prevent hair loss. They will be available for purchase individually and in a new hair kit on ForHims.com. Starting April 17, Hers will also offer more over-the-counter hair-care options combating hair loss, including a new conditioner and a minoxidil topical product. They will be available for purchase on ForHers.com. The goal for Hims and Hers is to reach customers outside of those interested in prescription medical treatments via their telemedicine businesses.
With over 80 million Americans facing hair loss (of which, 30 million are women), the company sees this as an opportunity to reach a wider swath of hair-care consumers. Currently, Hims and Hers provide access to prescription skin-care, sexual-dysfunction and social anxiety-medication products. The company declined to disclose category-specific or overall sales, or sales expectations for the new products, but it has been reported that it is pursuing a $100 million fundraising round, which would put the valuation of the company over $1 billion.
“The challenge in the [prevention] market has been creating a product that inspires someone to take action,” said Hilary Coles, brand lead at Hims and Hers. “It’s one thing to offer a multi-hundred-dollar package that you expect someone to buy monthly, but for most people, it’s about what you can add to your existing routine that’s also affordable.”
The new OTC hair kits retail for $33 on Hims and Hers, and Hers offers a larger kit for $44. Individual products range from $16 to $22. Comparatively, a monthlong prescription for Finasteride sells for $28.50 on Hims.
This movement toward prevention and OTC comes at a time when there is more activity in the hair space. Between 2013 and 2018, the hair-loss market grew by less than 1 percent to reach an annual revenue of $4 billion in 2018. But in that same time frame, the number of businesses dedicated to the category has grown by over 4 percent, according to market research group IBISWorld. Hims is in competition with Keeps, another direct-to-consumer telemedicine company that was founded in 2017 and focuses on hair loss. Nutrafol, which launched in 2014 and offers herbal supplements for hair-loss prevention and regrowth, is also seen as a competitor.
“Historically, hair products have largely focused on standard hair-care treatments, but now we’re seeing more education around hair health and hair loss,” said Andrew Dudum, founder and CEO of Hims and Hers. He said the brand will release more over-the-counter products in 2019, but declined to provide further details.
“In promoting a dialogue about topics that are often uncomfortable and offering convenient access to care via the Hims and Hers platforms, we’re giving people more autonomy over their health care and choices,” he said.
Hers recently faced social media backlash as a result of advertisements for its medical prescription product propranolol, a beta-blocker that has been used to treat anxiety — it was accused of downplaying the seriousness of both the drug and anxiety disorders affiliated with it. The company issued an apology through Instagram on March 12, saying it recognized its advertisement was “misguided and reductive.”
“Language is and continues to be an important vehicle [in education], and it’s one we take seriously,” said Coles. “It’s important with all our communications [that we] ensure all people feel included and welcome at the table. We are trying to provide trusted access to medical providers and medical grade products.”
Since the new hair products are over-the-counter, the brand is focusing its marketing for them on the ingredients of each product, as opposed to medical consultations and online communications.
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