Fueled by a $150 million strategic minority investment from L Catterton private equity firm in the fourth quarter, customizable hair care brand Function of Beauty kicked off an exciting new distribution expansion: the brand’s foray into brick and mortar December 27. The move begs the question, “How does a customizable brand sell in-store?”

CEW Beauty News recently spoke with the company’s newly minted Chief Executive Officer, Alexandra Papazian, who joined Function of Beauty in September from Laura Mercier. She is joined in conversation with Megan Maupin, VP of Global Marketing, discussing customization at retail. 

CEW Beauty News: Can you talk more about how the brick-and-mortar business at Target came to be?

Meg Maupin: Since we started Function of Beauty in 2015, we identified a need to create custom products that defy traditional categorization and instead focus on the needs of the individual consumer.  We started with DTC hair, body, and skin—now retail, a truly first-of-its-kind innovation. We were able to transition our DTC custom offering to a retail environment because of our unique capabilities and strengths as a startup. Function of Beauty is vertically integrated, so we can innovate quickly and develop products based on the enormous amount of knowledge we have on customer wants and needs.

BN: What does the collection consist of?

MP: For retail, we knew we had to deliver a personal and unique experience, and most importantly, ensure that the products were customizable. Over the course of two years, the Function of Beauty team went to work and designed product and packaging solutions to bring customizable shampoo and conditioners in-store and make them available for consumers to discover on retail shelves. Now, the convenience of being able to shop at Target stores and online, in addition to the approachable price point, makes customization accessible for the first time for many consumers. An entire Function of Beauty routine can be purchased at Target for under $30.

The range features nine new additions and includes custom Retail Treatments based on hair type (straight, wavy, curly, or coily). The treatments can be used on their own or mixed with up to three #hairgoals booster shots to customize formulations. Products are formulated with clean ingredients that are at least 92 percent naturally derived. They’re also sulfate-free, paraben-free, vegan, cruelty-free, and certified Target Clean. The curly and coily bases are silicone-free and all the items in the range are dermatologist tested.

The collection includes a co-wash ($10), mask ($10), leave-in treatment ($10) and #hairgoals booster shots ($3). The new Retail Treatments are  in Target nationally as of late last month, as well as on Target.com.

BN: What are your goals for the brand?

Alexandra Papazian: We believe there is tremendous growth ahead across multiple channels and different audiences. Our mission is to make customization the new norm.

BN: What is Function of Beauty’s secret sauce?

AP: Since Function of Beauty was launched in 2015, we identified a need to create custom products that defy traditional categorization and instead focus on the needs of the individual consumer.  At the heart of the vision lies the idea that customization should be made accessible to as many people as possible.

Function of Beauty has actually unlocked how to manufacture unique products at scale, basically democratizing customization. I think that is very unique and disruptive. The level of precision and sophistication at which the company uniquely formulates and customizes each product is nothing like I’ve ever seen in the industry.

BN: How is the brick-and-mortar business at Target going?

MM: We are excited to launch new exclusive Function of Beauty products into Target. We saw great consumer response to our custom shampoo and conditioner and identified a need to add treatments and co-wash to expand the regimen for the Target guest.

BN: What is the consumer response to customization at retail?

MM: With so much love for our DIY custom product at Target, consumers have taken marketing into their own hands landing Function of Beauty over 6.2MM impressions via organic posts on TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram only weeks after launching. Seventy-one percent of consumers tried the exclusive Function of Beauty products at Target after hearing about them via organic social chatter. This is truly a ground-up revolution.

BN: What about DTC news and advances?

MM: Function of Beauty is continuing to innovate in both DTC and retail. Following our 2020 acquisition of Atolla, a custom skin care company, we have some exciting new products in the works for both hair and skin.