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Published February 7, 2020
Published February 7, 2020
Kristin Ess

It looks like it might be an interesting year in haircare at mass. The old paradigm of high-end brands being sold through salons and lower-end brands sold in mass has been upended. Despite disruptors shaking up the market and driving new trends, mass brands have remained relatively the same. The size of the haircare market is $87.7 billion, according to Statista, and is expected to reach $211.1 billion by 2025, with shampoo representing 35% of the category followed by hair color and hair conditioner.

In 2017 Maesa launched a 15-SKU brand co-developed by celebrity hairstylist and The Beauty Department founder Kristin Ess exclusively at Target. In two short years, the brand has expanded to styling products, hot tools, accessories, and scalp, and kicked off the year with a fragrance-free range. Last year the brand expanded internationally in the UK, Australia, Canada, and Mexico. Industry experts told WWD that the business was projected to do close to $100 million in retail sales in 2019. Maesa has doubled down on the haircare category, kicking off the year with the announcement of two new influencer-backed haircare brands: Hairitage by Mindy McKnight launching exclusively with Walmart, and TPH by Taraji launching exclusively with Target.

Maesa has exploited opportunities in what has been a commodity category, breathing new life into it by leveraging innovation, trend, and influence.

Millennial mom Mindy McKnight, founder of the YouTube channel CuteGirlsHairstyles (5.66 million subscribers and 1.2 billion views) and mother to twin influencers Brooklyn and Bailey McKnight, has partnered with Maesa to develop Hairitage by Mindy.

Hairitage’s mission is to craft the first haircare brand that encompasses the needs of every type and texture. The brand is billed as cruelty-free and vegan, with clean formulas and packaging that is as sustainable as possible.

McKnight and Maesa’s Chief Marketing Officer Scott Oshry saw an opportunity to target an underserved market—the aging millennial who is starting a family. “It’s interesting that a lot of people aren’t focusing on [this demographic],” Oshry told WWD. “With Mindy’s guidance, [we are developing something] relevant to where the market is now and relevant to where the market is going in the next seven years.”

According to WWD, industry sources expect the brand to be big, estimating it could do $40 million to $50 million in retail sales in its first year on shelves. This is Mindy’s first beauty line launch and will be one of Walmart’s biggest beauty launches of the year, said the company.

The products are accessibly priced at $7.94 and will be available on and 4,400 doors, including 4-ft. endcaps in 1,700 stores with all 16 SKUs by the end of January 2020.

Actress Taraji P. Henson has thrown her hat into the beauty game with an 18-SKU haircare collection born in Taraji’s kitchen from her tried-and-true experiments as her own haircare mixologist. TPH by Taraji was developed with Maesa for all hair types and textures, is priced under $15, and sold exclusively at Target in more than 1,800 doors.

TPH’s scalp-first approach creates the best environment for beautiful, healthy hair with products that encourage experimentation while tackling real hair concerns. From scalp cleansing to innovation in daily care and styling, TPH is the professional-grade solution for the next step in protective haircare for all hair textures.

“As hard as it is to believe, we went to the moon in 1969, but we still don’t have a wash for protective styles,” Oshry told WWD. “We took a fresh, clean page when creating this and didn’t spend any time thinking about what has been done in the past. Taraji is very into aesthetics, color and fashion. The line is designed to be bathroom art.”

“Maesa strives to always be launching brands of the future,” Oshry continued. “Because this is a ground-up brand and we’re not working with any formulas that have been in any kind of lineup, we were able to start out of the gate with revolutionary active ingredients. Textured hair has a completely different pattern to its formulation and how you need to penetrate and how the active ingredients need to work.”

Maesa will have big brands rethinking their strategies at mass as they define white space and command space on the shelves of mass retailers for their influencer-born brands. Haircare at mass is no longer a commodity category.


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