Baby Tress Makes Styling Baby Hairs So Much More Stylish
Do you lay your edges with a tool that doesn’t slay? If so, Baby Tress can help.
The brand created by boutique communications agency Mama Tress has joined the millennial movement to upset the old order in the consumer goods segment with a sleek new implement designed for the fine wisps along the hairline. Available in six colors, its Edge Styler, now showcased at Showfields, the Manhattan concept shop where DTC brands sell IRL, features a small comb and brush, and pointed tip to smooth, shape and customize baby hairs.
“There are great brands that serve the black and Latinx communities, but there are lots of gaps, and those are things that my team thinks about because half of my team is consumers of these products,” says Hannah Choi, founder and CEO of Mama Tress and Baby Tress, adding, “Our message is about self-expression. This is an outlet for your creativity and to express your individuality.”
The history of baby-hair styling is lengthy, and Beyonce pushed it into the spotlight when she sang about baby hair in her 2016 hit single Formation. This month, Into The Gloss focused on edge hairs in a piece in which hairstylist Rachel Lee fashioned baby hairs into delicate loops. That piece, however, highlighted the lack of products for baby hairs as Lee stuck to a toothbrush, a standard appliance wielded to slick baby hairs, in her work.
“Our tool is more than a beauty product, it’s a conversation starter. There are nuances of someone’s world that you won’t see if you’re not part of that community. And we felt that the conversation around why this market is so underserved should be brought to light and talked about,” says Choi, who is of Korean descent. “We are seeing such a big change now in fashion and beauty in terms of representation, and we want to be able to have that conversation without it being heavy. We want it to be approachable. Our brand is very approachable.”
“There are great brands that serve the black and Latinx communities, but there are lots of gaps, and those are things that my team thinks about.”
Baby Tress believes a toothbrush isn’t the best solution for baby hairs. Its tool’s boar bristles were chosen to be just the right stiffness. If they were too hard, they’d be scratchy. If they were too soft, they wouldn’t hold hair well. The Edge Styler’s comb and brush are triangular to enhance precision. There’s a dip in the neck of its handle to allow fingers to rest comfortably, and a case to keep it clean and from getting raggedy.
“I’ve seen edge brushes on the market, but they look like a toothbrush or a dinky, cheap tool,” says Choi. “We were very inspired by artists. Makeup brushes were inspired by paint brushes, an artist’s tool. We felt that this tool is part of many women’s everyday beauty ritual and should look the part.”
The idea for Baby Tress originated during a brainstorming session at Mama Tress two years ago. The agency was trying to come up with giveaway swag for a client and considered an edge styler, but couldn’t find a quality styler. “We were questioning why there was nothing better out there for consumers who are predominantly black and Latina women,” says Choi. “That conversation is a reflection of the very underserved community of beauty consumers.”
By early 2018, Baby Tress had a prototype for its Edge Styler, and Choi spent much the year turning the prototype into a product that could be manufactured widely. In November, Baby Tress launched its website. As Baby Tress matures, Choi envisions collaborating with young companies to raise its profile. She also mentions Mama Tress could possibly sprout other brands. Choi elaborates, “My dream is for my agency to become an incubator where ideas are born or brought to us, and we help bring them to life.”
“We felt that this tool is part of many women’s everyday beauty ritual and should look the part.”
To purchase a better baby hair tool, consumers are going to have to shell out more money. Toothbrushes can be picked up for bargain prices, and Baby Tress is asking people to pay $15 for its product. But Choi feels that the brand’s target audience of teen girls to thirtysomething women is willing to spend extra for an item that suits their tastes.
“The Baby Tress girl is young, very free and creative. She likes to be thoughtful in her daily rituals, and she cares about how she presents herself to the world, and she cares about the brands she buys and what they value,” she says. She continues that Instagram is a huge source of inspiration for Baby Tress customers, and it’s the brand’s biggest traffic sales producer at the moment.
Last week, Baby Tress entered Showfields in a Shopify-sponsored section dedicated to purpose-driven brands. It will be stationed at the Showfields location through May 31. Choi foresees Baby Tress’s distribution expanding beyond Showfields to specialty retailers that draw shoppers hunting for unique offerings from emerging brands. In the brand’s first year on the market, her goal is to sell 12,000 Edge Styler units. The Edge Styler won’t be Baby Tress’s only product forever, though. Gel is on the docket.
“Gel is gel, but how can you make the packaging, the container and the way that the product is dispensed better? We want to make it something that you want people to see on your vanity and, especially these days, on social platforms. Everything needs to be camera-ready,” says Choi, emphasizing, “We are in the very beginning phase of potentially even a whole new sector of beauty.”