Jessica Estrada ran with a very fashionable crowd while building her career in marketing, branding, and apparel on the west coast. She was working with a high-end barber whose clients were men of color when she recognized a need for products specific to this demographic.
“This was back in 2009 before the big men’s grooming boom took off,” say Jessica. Her realization that the only men’s products that did exist were completely devoid of any targeted marketing led to a business idea. “Any gentleman with pigment in his skin really needs a more oil-based product,” Jessica explains. “There was really nothing that was natural, oil-based, and in a higher end market.”
Jessica knew from her retail days that her product needed to be as inclusive as possible if it was going to make it off the shelves in a meaningful way. They strayed from the “men of color” distinction and set out to create a product that any man could use, hence the name, Hue for Every Man.
All the Right Ingredients
After three years of research, Jessica launched Hue for Every Man in 2012 with a small line of products including a shave therapy with calming ingredients such as volcanic ash and ginger root. “Our shave therapy goes on like a lotion as opposed to a foam,” Jessica explains. “It opens your pores and brings your follicles very close to the skin so you get a very close shave.”
Their first point of distribution was in higher-end barber shops and online. Athletes and celebrities took to the brand initially through word of mouth. Jessica got to work expanding the brand to include a five product line and started to think about a more aggressive marketing strategy.
“We definitely spent a lot of time on designing the right packaging. Everything from the bottles to the boxes,” says Jessica. Calling upon her experience in the industry, she knew that as they developed the brand they had to think beyond the products. “We wanted to attach [the brand] to a specific lifestyle that we feel resonates with the customer demographic we want to reach.”
A major nod to the brand came in the form of a six-foot-seven basketball star. Jessica recounts the moment when they signed Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors as their first brand ambassador.
“We are looking to sign a couple brand ambassadors that span the rainbow if you will,” Jessica says. Jessica believes it’s extremely important that she has a variety of ambassadors that her different customers can relate to. “We know that one man is not everything to everybody.”
Grooming for Growth
“I don’t think there’s ever been a gentleman’s grooming brand that’s presented in this way,” says Jessica even while the men’s personal products space has exploded. “I think we have a very different position to most brands. I think this will allow us to gain entry to retailers in a way that’s not been done before.”
Jessica admits the biggest hurdle is finding a financing partner that understands the multicultural market and the opportunity it presents. “There is a huge international opportunity,” she says. “We need [a partner] who is open minded enough to look at this for the international market as well.”