Interview: Flamingo's DTC Personal Care Is The Harry's Shaving Experience For Women
General manager of the DTC and wholesale women's razor brand Flamingo explains how she applied experience at Harry's to fill a gap for quality yet affordable shaving among female consumers
While women using men's razors is no news, what may be surprising is that it's still going on—despite the many female-focused brands and retailers on the market. This was top of mind for Allie Melnick, general manager of Flamingo, an offshoot of men's DTC shaving and personal care brand Harry's. As she and her colleagues continued to steal from the boys for affordable products that actually worked, she realized what an underserved category the space still was, and decided to make a change.
Ahead of her appearance at Anomaly and PSFK's “Designing for Modern Women” panel discussion, taking place Tuesday, May 7, Melnick spoke to PSFK about applying her experience with top-quality yet affordable personal care for men and enabling the same experiences and products for women, encapsulating the brand in a dialogue around choice for hair removal to empower women rather than push them towards any particular aesthetic.
Could you provide a quick overview of your background, and how you came to be GM of Flamingo?
I was an early member of the Harry’s team and oversaw Brand Strategy and Customer Insights for the brand. As a female member of the team, I found myself in the same position as many other women: using a Harry’s razor designed for men. Not because it was perfect for the ways I was using it, but because it was better and less expensive than anything else I could find.
Brittania Boey, another early Harry’s veteran, and I were confident that we could design a high-quality razor and ultimately a full suite of products for women using all the expertise we’d honed during our time at Harry’s—and sell them at the same, fair price.
Could you describe any trends that you're seeing in the DTC consumer goods space, from the retailer and/or the consumer side? How are you noticing the space transform, currently?
More and more, we’re seeing DTC brands launch into physical retail and meet more of their consumers where they shop. This has been exciting for us, as we always want to grow and innovate with our customers top of mind.
Could you describe how Flamingo emerged from Harry's, and what drove that evolution?
During my time at Harry’s, we received feedback from colleagues and customers that the razors and products on the market for women weren’t meeting their needs: They were overpriced and just didn’t work as well compared to men’s products. We heard over and over again that women were fed up that their shave products cost 13% more on average than equivalent men’s products.
We agreed and shared in their frustrations. We knew that women’s needs were unmet, and we wanted to provide the one million women who had already been using a Harry’s razor with a holistic suite of affordable products designed specifically for them.
What does designing for modern women mean to you, and how does the work that you do at Flamingo intersect with that?
To me, designing for modern women means recognizing that women have a choice. Hair removal is personal, and there’s a precedent of brands telling women where they should or shouldn’t have hair. We’re not here to tell women how they should or shouldn’t look; we’re here to make high-quality products to provide women with options, knowing that over 70% of women use more than one method to remove hair. We designed our holistic product offering thinking through the various ways women remove hair at home and what they need to properly care for their skin before, during and after that process.
Whom does Flamingo have in mind when designing? Do you have a target audience or consumer?
Personal routines are personal—everyone is different—and we design for that. Through an honest, open dialog around our relationships with our bodies, our hope is that everyone who interacts with Flamingo feels it’s a brand for them.
What are some of the advantages, as well as challenges, of being a DTC brand in a market with competition from mass retailers/more traditional brands?
We’re focused on providing our customers with the highest quality products to care for their body, however they choose to do so, and offering it to them in a way that’s both affordable and convenient. A lot of the chemists and developers on our product team came from luxury beauty companies, so they face the daily challenge of making a luxury-quality product at an affordable price. It’s hard work, but it results in products we’re truly proud of.
You also sell through Target—could you tell us about that experience?
With Flamingo, we rolled out nationwide to all Target stores just four months after we launched, allowing us to bring the act of hair removal out of the shadows, increasing consumers’ access to affordable, high-quality products through a fun and educational in-store experience.
How do you engage with your audience?
The longer our team has worked on these products together, the more comfortable we’ve become talking about our own body care routines—where we have hair, where don’t, where we want it, where we don’t. It’s helped us feel more comfortable with the way our bodies look and feel, and has ultimately created an environment where we can share honest advice with each other.
We’ve extended that dialogue to our social channels, creating a comfortable space for our audience to share their own stories and experiences with their body hair. Knowing that at-home waxing can also be intimidating, we have a number of wax guides on our website that help demystify the experience and make you feel like a pro.
What do you hope to share on Anomaly's upcoming “Designing for Modern Women” panel?
When designing Flamingo, we recognized that personal care is just that—personal— and we took a full-body approach to helping women care for themselves. With design and product at our brand’s core, we’re addressing what’s uncomfortable and helping women believe that when they show up for themselves in private, they’re able to show up as themselves in public.
Flamingo is combining consumer insights with DTC tactics to enable quality and affordable shaving experiences for female consumers. For more from Melnick, come see her speak on a panel discussion, “Designing for Modern Women,” hosted in New York City by Anomaly and PSFK. There, female pioneers ranging from apparel and personal care to beauty design will discuss creating products and experiences for women’s diverse bodies, unique health needs, preferences and more. More information here.