Canada-U.S. Beauty Relations Are Getting A Lot Cooler With Voir Haircare’s Launch At Free People
Voir Haircare, a creative startup on the Canadian beauty scene, is venturing to the U.S. by way of Free People.
The year-old digital-first brand is launching four products – $35 Walk in the Sun Hair Oil, $20 She’s Like the Wind Invisible Dry Shampoo & Conditioner, $28 Rhythm of the Rain Hair Masque & Scalp Detox and $22 Secrets in the Snow Soft Styling Foam – next week on the Urban Outfitters Inc.-owned retailer’s website. It’s also expanding in its home country with an entrance at Hudson’s Bay later this month.
“This really legitimizes our brand. Going into this, we really weren’t sure how far we could take this brand. We started in Canada and treaded lightly there, but, now, with all this interest from these incredible retailers, we’re growing quickly, and we see amazing opportunities for growth in the future,” says Nia Schindle, co-founder and head of copy at Toronto-based Voir. “Having this brand grow on a global scale, which almost felt unattainable at the beginning, is something we can envision now.”
Voir got off the ground with a domestic orientation. Andy Hoang, co-founder and managing director of the brand, came up with the idea for it after detecting the Canadian beauty market lacked Canadian-made premium haircare. In addition to his role at Voir, Hoang is the co-founder and vice president of eFemme Inc., the company behind salon appointment booking platform MMF. He brought in Schindle, who previously held positions at the retailers Bloomingdale’s, Net-a-Porter and Jonathan+Olivia, to craft Voir’s message.
“The brand is called Voir, which means ‘to see’ in French. We wanted to have a visual experience for the brand. I want to tell a story with the products and ignite a spark of imagination through people’s routines when they glance at the artwork on the products.”
“Our goal is to inspire women’s haircare routines with artistic packaging, thoughtful design and inclusive formulas for all hair types,” says Schindle. “The brand is called Voir, which means ‘to see’ in French. We wanted to have a visual experience for the brand. I want to tell a story with the products and ignite a spark of imagination through people’s routines when they glance at the artwork on the products.”
She elaborates that packaging labels are renderings of original pieces produced in-house that speak to the changing weather patterns of Canadian seasons. For example, Rhythm of the Rain contains blue watercolor imagery on its tube alluding to rain, and She’s Like the Wind has an airbrushed quality to the graphics on its bottle referencing wind. Even the formulas suggest weather conditions. Secrets in the Snow’s foam has a subtle cooling effect that’s reminiscent of snow. Schindle comments, “There’s a lot of layers of storytelling.”
At the outset, Voir’s distribution only had a single layer: its website. The brand extended beyond the site by going live earlier this year on Carbon Beauty’s e-commerce portal and Amazon storefront. With the spread to Carbon Beauty, Free People and Hudson’s Bay, Voir projects its sales by June 2019 will hit $1 million, an amount figuring in an anticipated doubling of the brand’s business on its site. To date, Voir hasn’t set up its site to sell outside of Canada, but it’s working on securing a warehouse facility in the U.S. to ship to American consumers.
“We want to make Voir a universal brand that’s a go-to for women and, down the line, also men when it comes to haircare. We want to always offer something for everyone. I know that the term inclusive is thrown around in the industry a lot, but it’s highly important to us.”
Voir has stuck to styling and treatment so far with products designed to be multipurpose. The bestseller is Walk in the Sun Hair Oil. It accounts for 24% of five-item Voir’s sales. “The hair oil is our most luxurious product. It lasts the longest and has the most uses. It does what a typical hair oil does, enhancing luster and shine, but it also can be used as a detangler, and a protective barrier against salt water and chlorine. It helps your hair color last longer, and it has a custom-blended fragrance that people love, so it’s almost like a hair perfume,” says Schindle. The scent is bright citrus with a hint of vanilla.
Around eight more stockkeeping units are in the pipeline to be released by the end of next year. Travel sizes, shampoo, conditioner and a brush are under consideration. Voir’s products exclude silicones, parabens, sulfates, phthalates and artificial colors. “I never want to inundate women with too many products they don’t need. Our products have to be super functional,” says Schindle. “Our customers like curation. They don’t want a 12-step haircare routine.” She divulges Voir’s target customers are women aged 28- to 54-years-old.
The emerging brand’s early plans to reach those customers are being implemented with its upcoming premieres at Free People and Hudson’s Bay, but its bigger ambitions are yet to be realized. “We want to make Voir a universal brand that’s a go-to for women and, down the line, also men when it comes to haircare. We want to always offer something for everyone. I know that the term inclusive is thrown around in the industry a lot, but it’s highly important to us,” says Schindle. “Andy wants us to be the bestselling haircare brand in the world. I want us to be the most well-loved.”