Not long ago, the options for beauty consumers looking for clean hair care were limited to a handful of brands at either the luxury or the crunchy granola ends of the spectrum. Former business school classmates Lindsay Holden, Britta Chatterjee and Shannon Kearney saw an opening in the market for a mass premium brand appealing to millennials’ ingredient- and style-consciousness. Odele launched in 2020, quickly entering Target, where Holden was previously a senior buyer. Gender-neutral, minimalist and at an accessible price point, it has since expanded to Ulta Beauty and CVS, and is in the process of launching products geared toward specific hair types. On this week’s episode of the Glossy Beauty Podcast, Holden and Chatterjee talked about the opportunity they saw for clean hair care at mass retail and their process for branding and design.
Bringing clean to the mass market:
“Mass, in general, is where we saw the opportunity. Target is very much in our backyard. … It’s this incredible mix of high-low. … They get it right, and they are such a stamp of approval. We really did have to scale in order to be able to deliver on that low price point, which was such a key part of our equation. We behaved similarly to a DTC when we launched, but that is built over time, whereas if you’re lucky enough to partner with somebody who has that national presence, you’re able to have scale faster. You still have to be able to turn on shelf. But we needed that kind of volume in order to protect that part of our promise as a brand to deliver that accessible luxury.”
The brand identity development process:
“When we looked at the crunchy branding, as you call it, we’re like, ‘That doesn’t work. That’s too natural.’ We’re both design junkies. … How it looked was really important to us. That’s in terms of wanting it to look good in your home, because people spend so much time in their homes; it’s this curated space that everyone’s now sharing so publicly with the world through all these new social channels. But we also thought [unique design] would help with discovery at shelf — really stopping someone in their tracks to pick it up and say, ‘Ooh, what’s this? This is pretty,’ and then validating that choice.”
The importance of design in branding:
“Design is so much more accessible. Great design can and should be found in all sorts of places. So I don’t think it’s as hard to achieve now as it once was. Just go down any aisle at Target and you’re going to be inspired. And you’re not having to pay as much to achieve it.”