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Though hair-care brand K18 has only been on the market since 2020, its older sibling, Aquis, is over 30 years old. The brand relaunched today with a pared-back aesthetic that focuses on one hero product: the Aquis Flip, a $50 hair drying towel.
The towel itself is more powerful and revolutionary than people might realize. Aquis has a loyal fan base; it is sold at Sephora, Ulta, Beauty, Violet Grey and Nordstrom, among many other retailers. But, the brand knows there is still room to grow. Loyal users, founder Britta Cox said, love the towel because “it dries their hair fast, which is why I started it. It’s convenient to use, very lightweight and saves you time.” What people might not realize is the significant way Aquis’s towels can benefit the health of the hair, too. According to Cox, using an Aquis towel alone, no products added, etc., leaves hair five times stronger than other drying methods.
When the team started working on Aquis’s re-brand, it faced, in some ways, a bigger challenge than it did with K18, a new-to-market innovation. Aquis had many, many SKUs at the start of the project. As the brand relaunches, it has just three: the Flip, which uses the brand’s proprietary Aquitex fabric, enhanced with Copper Sure antimicrobial fabric technology, plus a hair wrap and a towel ($25 each).
Though the brand used to have many more products, it’s whittled it down to those three for now, as hair towels were always the brand’s bread and butter. “We’ve decided to focus on what matters; our superior product which is the hair wrap and towel. We’ve narrowed the offering to focus more on ‘hair tech,’ to be seen less as a spa or bath product. This is actually a tool that increases hair strength and health,” said Michelle Miller, senior vice president of marketing for both Aquis and K18. “We believe that building the brand equity around the ownable innovation is what is going to win in the long term.”
To attempt to avoid consumer confusion, Aquis barely uses the word microfiber in brand communications nowadays, instead focusing on “Aquitex,” the precise name of the fabric it uses, which it describes as such: “uniquely woven channels quickly wick water away from hair without heat or friction.”
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The team enlisted the branding agency Made Thought, which has worked with The Nue Co and Pinterest, to help redefine Aquis’s point of view. “We want to own hair strength and that [the Flip-Hair Drying Tool] is the tool that will make your hair stronger,” Miller explained.
“Going into the launch, TikTok is our main vehicle. We have a huge community of stylists that we’re utilizing to talk about the product,” she said, noting that the Flip has been widely gifted to people on hair TikTok. The brand sent out 400 towels to a wide range of influencers including cosmetic chemist/TikToker Javon Ford (256,000 followers) and beauty TikToker Hailey Bui (2.2 million followers), as well as stylists.
As the team has done with K18, it plans to invest in stylist relationships and emphasize the fact that Aquis is a product that hair professionals use and love. Though it is not launching with a big, splashy campaign, such tactics might be coming soon. Miller holds that TikTok remains “the main platform for our audience and continues to grow.”