Playa launched in June 2017 as a direct-to-consumer clean hair-care brand with just five products. Its aim was to simplify the massive assortments often created by hair companies. However, this year, the brand is focused on product expansion.
The expansion will begin on April 2 with the launch of its New Day Mist, a styling spray, that will first be available exclusively on PlayaBeauty.com and Sephora.com, before rolling out to Sephora stores later in the month. Soon after, Playa will debut an Air Dry Essentials Kit complete with silk scrunchies and clear coil hair ties, as well as a salt scrub cleanser, nearly doubling its product offering over the course of the year.
“We aren’t differentiating from our strategy of offering an edited curation of products that are core to the routine, but as the business grows, we are thinking about more issues we can solve for,” said Shelby Wild, founder of Playa.
The new mist is a mix of a hairspray and fragrance, but without the alcohol or sulfates typically found in those products. Wild began testing the brand’s product-expansion plans with the launch of its Soft Volume Powder in November 2018, followed by a limited-run candle in December 2018.
Playa brought in $1 million in revenue in its first year of business and was projected to do between $4 million and $5 million in revenue in year two, after launching with Sephora in May 2018 as part of the retailer’s Clean at Sephora campaign. (Sephora now makes up about 50 percent of its business.) With the new products, Playa is expected to grow by 350 percent in 2019, said Wild. Overall, the prestige hair market in the U.S. grew by nearly 14% between 2012 and 2017, to just over $4 billion, according to market research firm Euromonitor International.
This will also be played forward to the first quarter of 2020, explained Wild. “We are leaning into stylers and thinking about how treatments could be paired with our shampoos and conditioners,” she said. This is particular interesting as the styling category is dominated by products not considered clean. For instance, at Sephora.com, over 540 hair styling and treatment products are sold, but only around 50 are considered clean. (There are only 153 total clean hair products carried at the retailer across shampoos, conditioners and stylers.) Playa is currently in 134 Sephora U.S. doors but will be launching to the full fleet by the fourth quarter and in Sephora Canada’s 60 doors in June.
“We work very closely with Sephora so that we are in lock step in terms of growth and how we can build out the brand and the clean hair category together,” said Kate Klobe, Playa’s vp of marketing.
Social, with Instagram being a particular focus, has become a more important channel for Playa as of late 2018. The brand has just over 32,000 followers on Instagram. Klobe said, to promote the new mist, the company will begin testing its first-ever foray into the paid influencer marketing space with celebrity hairstylist Jennifer Yepez (who has 173,000 followers and works with Bella Hadid) and Tauni Dawson (who has 99,000 followers). She would not disclose that influencer investment but said it was a “test and learn” exercise. Playa had previously only gifted products to influencers.
“We are still a young brand, and we are very much in brand-awareness mode,” said Klobe. “We think these influencers help build that and show that we are focused on clean education and how to use our products. Using real hair experts continues to give us that authority as clean hair becomes bigger.”
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