In 2018 we reported how one haircare product completely changed our lives. Two years later, we’re happy to say haircare brand, Aquis‘ status in our haircare routine is the same. Thus, we were super excited to see that their star product, the Aquis Hair Turban, is now available in the Middle East at Sephora. Intrigued to see what the brand has in store for its new market launch, we sat down with founder Britta Cox to discover all things Aquis and haircare.
The Aquis Journey
Britta: When I started AQUIS there was no such thing as a “hair towel”, everyone used big bulky bath towels that left hair dripping wet, frizzy, and didn’t stay on the head. I was working in the ski industry when I saw the first wicking fabrics being used in base-layer clothing to draw sweat away from the body during outdoor activities. I had my “aha” moment and realized there was a better solution for drying hair, so I researched and found the company in Japan who invented the first wicking and performance fabrics and worked with them to create our signature Aquitex fabric, designed to wick water from hair at the point of contact.
The journey has been an amazing fulfilling adventure!
I love problem solving and being resourceful, which you are constantly doing when you start and run a small business and build a brand. I’m also curious and adventurous. Building a brand and business exposes you to so much – foreign countries, people, cultures, the day-to-day of running a business, working with teams of people to develop strategies and execute on them. I love the challenge and that I’m constantly learning.
The Changing Haircare Industry
Britta: When I started in 1990 there was no internet or high-end, beauty specialty retailers. You purchased your haircare from a hair salon, beauty supply store or a drug store. The industry was dominated by a few large companies and people’s knowledge about hair and beauty products and ingredients was fairly limited. Today, the internet has made information and products widely available and opened the market for smaller indie brands to participate. People are keen to seek out clean and sustainable products and are embracing more healthful beauty regimes.
The Impact of Digital Media
Britta: It is wonderful to be able to have a direct relationship with our customer, share and exchange learnings and ideas, so together we can create more meaningful products. The digital media platforms have allowed for an ecosystem of entrepreneurs, individuals consumers, beauty influencers, celebrities and everyone to play a role in the products that get created, shared and consumed. We are a small company and hugely value the authentic relationship we have with our community and are grateful for the organic engagement which is fundamental to our business.
Digital media has also enabled people to learn more about ingredients and the products they use so they can make better informed decisions about their health and beauty. It makes it possible for small brands to enter the market and offer people choices that better align with their values and what they want from their beauty products. I am concerned that as digital media grows, the costs for smaller brands to participate in paid digital media is getting prohibitive as the bigger brands drive the costs up. It is becoming more and more difficult for small brands and beginning to resemble a similar dynamic to traditional media years ago which was dominated by a few large brands.
Example, if you want to do a brand hosted TikTok #challenge, it costs the brands 100’s of thousands of dollars which few smaller brands can afford. We were quoted needing $500k – $750k to effectively participate in a TikTok sponsored #challenge, so we passed on the sponsored challenge and are doing more organic.
The Brand 5 Years From Now
Britta: We have taken learnings from what happens to hair when it’s wet and dug deep into the science of hair to find how we can best support its intrinsic strength through the hair wash routine, which is when hair is most weak and vulnerable to breakage. We will continue to innovate and offer products that support hair health and happiness both in the shower and out. AQUIS is building a global footprint, which we will continue to support. In 5 years, we see AQUIS used by women throughout the world and enjoying their best hair days!
The Insider Tip for Aspiring Entrepreneurs
Britta: Entrepreneurs are curious and adventurous by nature and we can tend to get distracted but building a brand requires strong focus. I think both attributes are critical to truly develop innovative products that enhance people’s lives. Today, with things being everchanging, us entrepreneurs are well suited to be able to be nimble and pivot as needed. Just make sure to keep your self-awareness sharp and ensure your decisions are aligned with your ultimate goals and mission.
Follow Aquis: @aquishair