In three years, Function of Beauty, a direct-to-consumer haircare company, has not only sold its millionth bottle but it has essentially created a million different products, as each bottle is customized.
According to Zahir Dossa, CEO and co-founder of Function of Beauty, the company didn’t even start marketing the product until October 2016 (which is when it debuted in the market), and has spent $10 million to create a production facility that can scale and fill each of these bottles. The haircare startup is now setting its sights on selling a billion bottles—and expanding its haircare products to serve different needs.
“For us, every single time we sell a formulation or sell a bottle, that’s just a testament to say this really works,” Dossa said “We’re one bottle further on our mission to personalize beauty.”
The first expansion in the product line is a purple shampoo, developed for blonde customers, which reduces brassiness. The company created focus groups, tested the product and used Instagram to gauge interest and make sure it would be “versatile.” This entire production process is what makes a company like Function of Beauty stand out compared to its competitors, Dossa said.
“What a million bottles says to us is, this isn’t a niche company,” Dossa said. “We don’t have a niche customer, what it tells us is with our scale and how quickly we’re growing every month, it demonstrates to us just how big the personalized shampoo market is.”
In addition to the new product, Dossa said the company is now going to “double down” on its ecommerce experience. Currently, customers receive their personalized shampoo and conditioner by answering a hair quiz, which Dossa said is A/B tested every day—and more than 6 million people have taken it.
But while Function of Beauty is experimenting with that, Dossa said most customers view the site on mobile, so he wants to create a more “immersive experience” that explains to the consumer that their bottle is actually created individually.
“We always have to take a step back and [say], how did we reach the millionth bottle?” Dossa said. “It wasn’t through a showroom but it was really changing the space for digital consumption. We were able to change the online experience.”
Though the company has a showroom in New York, it functions now as more of a research and design facility. Dossa said it was hard to keep up the showroom and create the same hair quiz experience in-person and could only do it for so many people a day. At its peak, 20 people were coming in a day.
“We’ll keep this physical touchpoint around but for us, it’s how do we take that and make it cooler and more impressive in an online space,” Dossa said.
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