To coincide with  Afterpay Australian Fashion Week, Monday Haircare invited media and influencers to enjoy a wash and blow dry at Headcase Hair, using the brand’s Leaping Bunny-approved, super instagrammable range.

The brand is estimated to sell an average of 12,000 bottles a day – that’s around eight per minute –  making it a quarter-of-a-billion dollar brand by the end of the year.

Retail Beauty caught up Monday Haircare’s business-savvy founder Jaimee Lupton to find out what it takes to be a true beauty entrepreneur.

How did the idea for Monday Haircare come about?

There were plenty of brands like The Ordinary and Glossier doing exciting things in helping democratise the skincare and beauty space, but when it came to haircare there really weren’t many brands doing that. So many ‘mass’ haircare brands didn’t meet the benchmarks of being SLS- and cruelty-free, vegan, and having 100 per cent recyclable packaging, and the more modern, premium brands priced a lot of people out. I wanted to create a premium, modern product that looked good in people’s bathrooms—but without the unnecessary price tag.

Can you tell us about the name and brand’s identity/philosophy?

When reflecting on the ‘why’ for creating this brand, I kept coming back to the idea that in our world of instantaneous selfies and TikTok, people no longer want to save their good hair days for special occasions. Essentially every moment of every day should be a good hair day. Mondays aren’t typically the most exciting day, but they’re when you set your intentions for what you want to achieve, and have the whole week ahead of you. They’re full of promise and optimism and I loved that for Monday.

Why do you think it’s been so successful in a short amount of time?

I think Monday’s success is a testament to us delivering the things customers were so desperate for: a premium product with modern values (like being cruelty-free and recyclable) that looks good in your shower or bathroom, and doesn’t cost more for the sake of it. Those things resonated with people in a big way, which is why we’ve gone ‘viral’, so to speak. We’ve now won several beauty awards, are available in more than two dozen countries, and are the most-followed haircare brand on TikTok. 

Congrats on being named Mumbrella’s Under-30 Achiever of the Year for 2021, and Acquisition International’s Beauty Entrepreneur of the Year for 2022 – how does it feel to win these awards?

It’s nice to be acknowledged, especially among other nominees doing exciting and disruptive things in their industries. I genuinely love what I do, am incredibly passionate about it and don’t really consider it work, which might have something to do with it!

It is true you’ve sold more than 20 million little pink (recyclable) bottles to date? 

It is! I actually think it’s a little higher now, in a little over three years. We have quite a lean business model that allows us to move quickly when it comes to business development and expansion. We’re also fixated on finding solutions for our retail partners, and delivering on these. We work on a large scale and have always had our eye on global expansion. When those things are your North Star, it helps things track in the right direction. 

What business challenges did you overcome early on?

Before I started Monday, I thought our ‘challenges’ would be these really big, glaringly obvious things I would have to try to overcome. But in reality, there are so many small challenges that come up every day and you’re always learning from them. But the best way to learn is a ‘baptism by fire’ because experiencing something firsthand is the quickest and surest way to learn and grow from it.  Even though I had a strong knowledge of the market and beauty industry, and strongly believed we had a good idea and product, there was always a risk that it wasn’t going to be as popular as it has been. You always risk failure. 

What business advice can you share?

If you’re starting your own business, be prepared to work hard and work a lot. The reality is you’ll never work more than when you work for yourself. Your job is never done: your consumer is always changing or demanding new things from you and your brand, and staying ahead of those desires and demands is where the success lies.

What advice can you give beauty brand makers looking to crack into FMCG?

Look for the white space. Where is the gap? What problem can you solve? How are you different? There is no point pitching a product that a retailer already has on their shelves. We did this with Monday by creating something our retailers and their customers had never seen before.

How did/do you compete with the big hair/beauty multinationals?

We want to be a modern-day L’Oréal, bringing democratised beauty offerings to Gen Z and Millennial consumers based on how they consume beauty now. We have a truly nimble and data-first approach, meaning we can meet customers’ needs quicker than many of our competitors, and at scale. We’re taking the blueprint we’ve used with Monday and applying it to the dozen or so beauty and personal care brands we have in the works. Watch this space!

Can you tell us more about your Chinese expansion plans?

We’ve recently completed phase one of our new state-of-the-art factory, which took about 12 months to build, and will eventually allow us to increase production capacity to ​​make more than 100 million bottles annually. It’s currently sitting at 27,000sqm, and can produce around 80 bottles per minute, but our plans are to more than double that to 50,000sq m in the next two years. It will also help us to streamline our processes, drive innovation and product development, and ultimately enable us to better serve our customers.

Images from the Monday Haircare event below. Photos by Mitch Fong from Life Without Andy.

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