At Function of Beauty, our mission is to truly empower individuality, and we are the first brand to deliver on this promise by offering a fully personalized response to the vast diversity of hair and skin goals that women and men have. The company was created by beauty outsiders—two MIT grads and a chemist who believed that customers should be empowered to create their own beauty journey. Powered by our online quiz, our proprietary algorithm creates a fully customized regimen and a unique formulation based on your individual responses. We like to say that we take your beauty personally. There is no one-size-fits-all product.
Founders: Zahir Dossa, Josh Maciejewski, Hien Kaplan
2023 Full Year Expected Revenue Range: $125 to $150MM (estimated by industry experts)
Categories: Haircare, Skincare, Body Care
Distribution Channels: DTC, Mass
Funding Rounds: Private Equity
Total Funds Raised: $164MM
In March 2017, Function of Beauty raised $9.5 million in a Series A round led by venture capital firm GGV Capital. This brings Function of Beauty’s total funding amount to $12 million. Other investors include Y Combinator, a seed-round investor; and newcomers Bessemer Venture Partners and SoGal Ventures.
In December 2020, Function of Beauty received a $150 million strategic minority investment from L Catterton. CircleUp and GGV also reinvested during this round.
Function of Beauty acquired Atolla, a personalized skincare company with a patented at-home skincare test and a data-driven product recommendation system that helps inform tailored formulations and regimens over time in August 2021.
Notable Investors: L Catterton, GGV
Has your brand participated in any form of an accelerator program?
What are some of your key business initiatives for 2023?
In 2023, our focus is to continue to accelerate our direct-to-consumer (DTC) business that offers hyper-personalized hair, skin, and body products with new innovation while simultaneously driving growth in the retail channel, domestically and internationally, with our more accessible brick-and-mortar custom haircare offering.
What are you most proud of having accomplished?
Customization is a challenging task that most beauty brands have not been able to figure out. We developed a unique technology and manufacturing capability that allows us to create custom formulas at scale. Today, we bring a level of customization that no one else can in the marketplace. Beyond customizing your formula, our technology allows you to print your name on the bottle, choose your fragrance (and the strength of it), as well as the color of your shampoo before it's made-to-order at our state-of-the-art factory. Everything is fully automated on our custom built production line. To date, we created more than 15 million customized formulations—and potentially could create trillions of possibilities!
What has been the biggest surprise since the brand was founded?
The brand was founded upon the notion that everyone deserves a custom product. At that time, I don’t think anyone anticipated how the nature of our business would help us continuously not only improve our formulas and respond to customer needs but also drive a more sustainable business. People love to engage with our products and continuously perfect or adjust their formula seasonally.
What aspect of your brand DNA fuels your competitive advantage?
There are many things that set Function of Beauty apart from other beauty brands. One of them is our belief that customers should be empowered to drive their own beauty journey, and we give them the tools to do so. This is particularly relevant in the context of customers being so much more knowledgeable about ingredients than ever before and wanting to know what goes into their formulas. We are on a continuous improvement track and never stop innovating. At the same time, we believe in offering a very intuitive and approachable digital experience with our special touch of fun, which is a key element of our brand DNA.
Please share your insight on the future of the beauty industry.
We often get the question about how big is big for customization? I think we are at the beginning of a fundamental evolution of customer behavior driven by the desire to consume differently and more responsibly. Customization is the future of beauty; it is not a trend. It is a sustainable response to the consumer evolution and changing complexity of its beauty needs. If you look at the US population, in less than ten10 years nearly half of the population will be non-Caucasian. Add to this data point that the population is getting more and more diverse, with more unique and complex hair and skin types, and you’ll see why we feel customization is not a trend but a need to respond to the increasing variety of hair and skin needs.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
“Never settle.” Beauty is a highly creatively driven business. Keeping a fresh eye on projects as if you are seeing them for the first time is probably one of the best pieces of advice I was given.
Paying it forward, what advice would you give to someone contemplating launching a beauty brand?
I think authenticity and purpose, combined with an obsession for details (the "je ne sais quoi"), innovation, and quality are key and will always be for any brand founder.
If you could change one thing in the beauty industry, what would it be?
We believe customization is the ultimate response to consuming more sustainably by having the perfect product made just for you. Beauty has always been at the forefront of innovation, which makes it a very exciting category. I would like to see many more solutions and innovation towards sustainable packaging and a more mindful way of developing products and using them.
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