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Summit Partners Acquires Minority Stake in Hairstory

October 29, 2021 BeautyMatter
October 29, 2021

Hairstory has taken its first investment, selling a minority stake to growth equity firm Summit Partners.

WHO: Launched in 2015, Hairstory was founded on the universal truth that traditional haircare is bad for your hair, bad for the environment, and bad for hairdressers. The brand's mission rethinks everything about hair, creating healthier, more sustainable haircare products that respect the environment and the hair's ecosystem. Hairstory's cult product New Wash cleans hair without any detergent, ending what the company sees as a vicious cycle of over-cleansing created by shampoo.

Hairstory launched with a new "direct-through-stylist" business model that enables hairdressers to participate in e-commerce in a way designed to respect their relationship with their clients. Once a hairdresser introduces Hairstory to their clients, they can earn commissions on all future purchases, regardless of where the client buys. This perpetual-affiliate model is designed to enable local entrepreneurs to compete in a world increasingly dominated by global giants.

WHY: The capital will enable the company to accelerate investments in sustainable formulations and packaging, increase brand awareness, expand its hairdresser community, and fund inventory.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: "Switching from shampoo to New Wash helps you get the hair you were always meant to have," said Hairstory CEO, Eli Halliwell. "Our customers are consistently telling us that they suddenly start getting unsolicited compliments on their hair when they switch. It is hard to believe removing shampoo from the equation can make such a difference, but it does."

“We are passionate about the environment and challenged ourselves to think differently about our environmental footprint from the start," said Halliwell. "One of the biggest opportunities we identified was our ability to reduce plastic consumption. We launched with refill pouches for our subscriptions at the outset and quickly realized people were ok abandoning their plastic bottles, so we switched everything over to refill pouches. We are just starting to apply the same strategy to our styling products and our goal is to be the first beauty company to be 100% refillable.”

Melanie Whelan, a Managing Director with Summit Partners, added, "We believe Hairstory's differentiated and effective products, customer loyalty, profitability, and consistently smart and deliberate growth decisions make them a rare brand. We are delighted to partner with Eli and this passionate team to support the company's next chapter: working to deploy a more expansive growth strategy while furthering sustainability-focused product innovation."


  • Summit Partners acquired a minority stake in Hairstory. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
  • Since its launch, the brand has converted around half a million customers.
  • Melanie Whelan, a Managing Director with Summit Partners, joined the company's board of directors.

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