Lela Coffey knows how important a good hair day is. P&G’s vp of North American hair care and multi-cultural beauty has a built-in understanding of what today’s customers are looking for, especially people of color and Gen Z.
In August, Coffey led the debut of Gen-Z brand Nou, standing for “Next of Us,” which was incubated exclusively for Walmart. Nou is recognition of the diversity of hair among Gen Zers, who are the most racially diverse generation to date. Nou was an atypical brand for P&G, as the company solicited 30 of its own and Walmart’s Gen-Z employees to help ideate around its creation. Previously, Coffey also led the development of My Black is Beautiful with Sally Beauty in 2019. In 2021, My Black is Beautiful expanded to Amazon and Target.com to become more accessible.
“The hair-care category is growing [fast] right now. That is partly due to women doing a lot more of their hair at home and embracing more styling [on their own],” said Coffey.
But despite launching Nou and expanding My Black is Beautiful, Coffey counts “keeping [the culture of P&G’s] hair organization together” as her biggest accomplishment in 2021. Her own philosophy is that great leaders do not set out with the intention to lead, but instead to make a difference. She said that P&G has a strong in-office corporate culture, and that having strong cross-functional teams and pride are essential to delivering strong results and launching brands. Coffey is hopeful that 2022 will bring P&G employees back together in its Cincinnati, Ohio headquarters.
“We have an aggressive growth trajectory, not only in our multicultural businesses, but also across hair in general,” said Coffey. “I am looking forward to putting the plans in place and into the market that will get us there. We also have some very surprising partnerships — some really big ones that I can’t yet talk about — that you will see come to light.”