Interview: How Fur Established A New Personal Care Category By Embracing Inclusivity & Self-Acceptance
The maker of products for intimate haircare is reaching modern consumers of all ages with DTC and wholesale tactics paired with a dialogue emphasizing diversity and choice
Before Fur, the intimate hair care category was essentially nonexistent. Wisely predicting the changing desires and needs of its target consumer, Fur co-founders Laura Schubert and Lillian Tung rode a wave of changing millennial standards for everything from body hair to gender identity. The brand's products, which are gender-neutral, inclusive of all body hair preferences, and feature thoughtful packaging design, sit at a unique intersection of function and luxury.
Since launching with an oil in 2016, the product line has expanded, been touted by celebrities and influencers including Emma Watson, and even made it onto the shelves and ecommerce sites of major retailers including Ulta, Neiman Marcus, and Net-a-Porter. PSFK spoke to Schubert and Tung about how they're out to change consumer behavior by promoting self-acceptance, and what expansion Fur has planned for the future.
Could you describe any trends you're seeing in the intimate hair and personal care space, and how you’re leveraging them in your work?
When we told people we wanted to create the first line of pubic hair care and skin care, we were hung up on, laughed at and told it was a terrible idea. It’s been great to see that now the market is starting to respond to women wanting higher-quality options in their routines—and we think that Fur played a huge role in opening up that door.
We try to oppose a lot of the old trends in our industry. For so long in the body care market, all the products were both hair removal-centric and very stereotypically “feminine”, e.g. floral scents and pink packaging—almost juvenile in a way. We wanted Fur to stand in opposition to that, to find the timeless elegance of being honest about our bodies and body hair without being condescending.
While other brands in the market take the niche approach, we always wanted to make our products inclusive to a wider range of people, which is why we try to keep our branding very gender neutral. We also wanted to make sure our products could be used in any grooming regimen, whether you choose to shave, wax, laser or keep all your hair.
Who are Fur’s target consumers and how do you speak to them?
Our entire product line was specifically designed work on anybody and every body! Everyone grows hair, which means everyone has some type of haircare routine, whether that’s waxing, laser, shaving or leaving it all. That’s why we had our products dermatologically and gynecologically tested to be safe enough to use around the pubic area, but also made sure they are effective enough to work on any hair and skin type. We like to say it works great anywhere on the body where hair meets skin. We always try to be as inclusive as possible in both the copy on our packaging, and with the body and hair types we highlight on our social channels.
Do you feel like you speak largely to a millennial audience? Do you have any strategies for reaching across demographics?
Our primary audience is definitely people ages 18-34, so millennials are a huge part of our community, and some of our loudest supporters online. However, because of our consistent outreach to salons and retailers, we’re able to reach across a variety of demographics. Being stocked in retailers like Free People and Urban Outfitters introduces us to a younger audience, while retailers like Neiman Marcus and Net-a-Porter have allowed us to tap into a much wider range of age groups. It’s all about having a good variety of stock-ists!
How does Fur work to change consumer behavior and create new demand within an existing personal care market?
There really isn’t any product in the market that achieves quite what Fur does. We’re the only brand that uses the term “pubic” both in our messaging and directly on our packaging. It was important to us to fight the stigma surrounding that word, in the hopes that normalizing it would inspire more inclusivity and body positivity. What sets us apart is that we’re not trying to change consumer behavior: We’re normalizing and validating the choices they’re already making about their bodies and body hair, but the products we offer can elevate that routine and further empower their choices.
Now, so many brands that pledge to never go wholesale end up at Nordstrom, Ulta and similar. Was your plan always to work with retail partners, rather than stay DTC?
We’ve valued our wholesale partnerships since launch. In fact, back in 2016 the majority of our revenue came from retailers! It’s important when creating a new category to partner with trusted beauty experts, and this is why we value the wholesale channel, whether it’s upscale salons and spas, green beauty retailers or the biggest beauty retailers. Retailers can add a lot of credibility to a new brand, and as a brand with a line of products meant for sensitive areas of the body like the pubic region, it’s important to build that trust with your customer base.
What does the placement at Ulta give Fur that it might not have had either pure DTC or stocked with smaller retailers?
Fur’s placement at Ulta has brought us more reach, and introduced us to people who may not have found us before. By broadening our reach through Ulta, it’s helped democratize the mission by sharing it with even more consumers, while proving that body hair care and self care is not a niche category, but something everyone can use no matter what gender, hair type, or skin type they may be.
How do you maintain a sense of intimacy and community with your customers as you expand?
We really pride ourselves on having created a space that feels inclusive in large part because we extended the conversation around body hair past just removal, and allowed people to discuss body hair and grooming without judgment. Since we’re not a company that sells razors or other hair removal tools, we’re really able to honor everyone’s decision around their body hair without it seeming inauthentic.
Any plans to increase reach to male consumers?
30% of our consumers are men! This is in large part because of our efforts to maintain a gender-neutral stance in both our packaging and general messaging. However, we’d still love to grow that base and are making efforts to include men in our social imagery as well as on our site.
Finally, how do you envision the future of the millennial startup/DTC brand?
The future of the millennial startup will definitely continue to be more inclusive, more gender neutral, and less reliant on photoshop or other gimmicks that feel inauthentic. I also think we may begin to see brands having to move away from just social media to convince consumers to buy, as the social media landscape gets more and more oversaturated.