This story appears in full in the July/August 2016 issue of Middle Market Growth.
“It smelled terrible, it’s a mess, the instructions were hard to understand, and you have absolutely no idea how it’s going to turn out.” That was Amy Errett’s experience with home hair color more than 20 years ago. Although she ultimately switched to the salon, Errett knew little had changed over the years for home hair dye. While heading the San Francisco office of venture capital firm Maveron, she noted friends’ discussions about battling gray and thought more about the burden of coloring. Errett was doing well at Maveron—but she had run several startups before and longed to build another business.
When she discovered that about 108 million U.S. women color their hair each year, Errett saw a sizable opportunity to reinvent the at-home experience. With less torture and more luxury, she imagined a product that would appeal to long-time home users, as well as time-strapped salon-goers who eschew off-the-shelf color.