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Fast-growing Madison Reed is eyeing men’s hair next; “We’re going to blow the doors off that market”

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Amy Errett’s company, Madison Reed, sells women’s in-home hair coloring products. It may not sound like a glamorous business but, as it turns out, it’s a very durable one, done the right way. Not only has the seven-year-old outfit been slowly chipping away at the dominant personal care giants like L’Oreal that have long controlled what’s currently a $30 billion market, but during one of the most dramatic economic downturns of the past century, it has been attracting new customers.

In fact, Errett — who was previously a VC with Maveron Ventures and has a side hustle as a venture partner with True Ventures — says the 300-person company is seeing revenue in excess of $100 million per year and that it will be profitable in the second half of this year. Presumably, that makes it a likely candidate for an IPO in the not-too-distant future.

We asked Errett earlier this week for an update on the business, which has raised $125 million to date from investors, including True Ventures, Norwest Venture Partners, and Comcast Ventures. Our chat has been edited for length and clarity.

TC: Like a lot of direct-to-consumer brands, you more recently began opening real-world stores — color bars. How many did you have up and running before COVID-19 took hold?

AE: We had 12. We are reopening them now with 20 [because we had] eight that never got opened in March, April and May.  We’ll end the year with 25.

TC: Are they just scattered around the U.S.?

AE: They’re in hubs that we have selected based on the demographics of the women that live in those hubs and what we know from our online business. So they are in Northern California, where we’re headquartered. They’re New York, Dallas, Houston, and the Washington D.C. area. And we’re reopening in Atlanta, adding more in Dallas and Houston, and by year end, we’ll be in Miami and Denver.

TC: Can you comment on the financial metrics of the company? At one point, we’d read the company was doing around $50 million annually with 78% gross margins.

AE: The product margin of the business is in excess of 80%, meaning the actual product; the gross margin of the business, meaning fully loaded, is 60%. The growth has been amazing. We have 300,000 subscribers now, and we’re ahead of 2x the financials [you stated]. We’re a private company, so I don’t disclose [specifics] but we will be profitable the second half of this year.

TC: Obviously, you’ve captured some new customers who couldn’t go to a salon during this national lockdown. What percentage of your overall business do those 300,000 subscribers represent?

AE: It moves from day to day. So 52% of women in the U.S. color exclusively at home; 48% go to salons, some to our color bars; then 25% are called duelists. They’re excessively gray, or they want to stretch out salon appointments, so they do their hair at home [in between bookings].

Typically, 60% of the people that come to us that are salon goers, and 50% are home users. During the surge, the numbers did tip in the direction of 70% of the people that were coming to us were salon goers because they had no other place to go. The good news is that we are retaining an enormous amount of them. The average [subscriber] orders from us every six weeks, then we have people who buy a single box but there are serial one-timers who act like subscribers, so these are startlingly sustainable cohorts compared to typical D2C businesses.

TC: So you didn’t lay off anyone even as you were closing these color bars?

AE: I think seven employees decided they had kids at work and couldn’t even work on a distributed work basis, but we have not done any furloughing. We closed all of our color bars around March 15. . . and we moved all of our in store colorists to our call center. We had to buy and send headsets to everyone at home, teach them about all of the technology support in customer service, which is very different than the skills you’d use working in the store. And away we went.

[Everyone at our call center] was already a certified licensed colorist as our sale is a very technical sale. Every woman in the world has at least five bad hair stories, so we put what I call a belt and suspenders around the advice because the most important thing for a customer at Madison Reed is to get the color right. You get one shot.

TC: States are reopening. As colorists return to your stores, what precautions are you taking, and how uniform are your processes across different states?

ER:  We are reopening stores, at first with retail only [where] we’ll get the bag and bring it out to you, and [over time] with sensible scheduling. We don’t know when we’ll go back to every chair.

And we’re taking the most stringent guidelines of any state and laying that across the entire system. So even if a state says that a client doesn’t need to wear a mask, we’re wearing masks and our clients are wearing masks. Some people don’t want to do that. That’s okay. Then we’re not the right place for people to come if that’s true [because] our clients’ and our team members’ safety comes first.

TC: Last year, you announced a plan to roll out 600 stores, 100 of which would be operated by the company and 500 that were to be franchised. Is it fair to say that those plans are on hold and, if so, are they perhaps permanently on hold?

ER:  We were just starting to sell franchises in February. We actually had our first set of meetings with potential franchisees and we were about to file the documentation that one needs to file for disclosure of franchises — then this happened. And we made a decision right now that for the rest of this year, we’re pushing that decision off. We have not decided whether that’s final or not.

I think one of the things that I’ve learned through all of this is that making big, broad decisions right now isn’t the smartest thing a CEO can do. The world is just in flux. I can’t tell you with certainty what date we can take people back into our headquarters. I can’t tell you with any certainty if there [will be a] vaccine or a drug protocol or if it’s going to spread again or there will be hotspots. I can’t tell you, and I don’t think anybody can.

TC: Given your traction, is there any reason your next funding event wouldn’t be a a public offering?

ER: This is a massive category that has been widely overlooked. And when you look at the size of the prize — $15 billion alone in the U.S., with repetitive purchase patterns – – it has all the characteristics of a successful–

I’m an investor [too]. I was a GP and open and ran Maveron’s office in the Bay Area. Connie, you and I probably first met while I was a VC, having a more relaxing life. I’m also a partner at True, so I do invest as well as part of the investment team. And so I’m actually just commenting with that hat on. Like, 80%-plus of our revenues are recurring in this company. At our color bars, we’re the only people who have the ability to use our own product.

TC: Meaning?

The stylist is never going to give the product to most women going to a salon today. They’re never going to say, ‘Oh, you’re going on vacation? Take this home with to you.’ I use Madison Reed and I can walk into a Madison Reed color bar and get the same consistency. The same exact color that I could take home, someone’s going to apply for me. That is a game changer in this industry.

We are the only people who are agnostic as to whether you want us to color your hair [in a store] or you do it at home. If you look at L’Oreal, 85% of its business is selling tubes of color to stylists in salons. It is not a direct relationship with a consumer. The direct relationship with the consumer is the box sitting at Walgreens, which is a very small percentage of their business and it’s not a percentage they’re [focused on] because the margins are so thin. Remember, they’re charging $10; I’m charging $25.

The secret sauce here is that L’Oreal’s and Unilever’s professional channel [creates] a conflict for them to innovate directly, based on technology or otherwise, to the direct consumer.

TC: Do you see them moving in your direction?

They are smart and they can decide that they’re going to come after us in different ways, and that’s fine. I’ll take the customer service, the relationship to the client, the product innovation, the way that we lead with mobile technology first any single day.

TC: Speaking of these giants, how many products does Madison Reed sell currently, and what might you roll out that would surprise customers?

AE: We have about 15 products, all in the category of [ammonia-free] hair color that’s better for you, whether it’s permanent hair color, semi-permanent hair color, glosses, toners, a highlight kit with non-ammonia bleach . . .We’re also rolling out color depositing masks [that you apply in the shower] that aren’t permanent.

And then I’ll just give you this hint: right now our business is really focused on women, so you can imagine that there’s a separate gender that may color their hair. That is a market that’s just terrific, right? Just for Men?  I mean, are you kidding me? We’re going to blow the doors off that market.

Lyron Foster is a Hawaii based African American Musician, Author, Actor, Blogger, Filmmaker, Philanthropist and Multinational Serial Tech Entrepreneur.

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Hawaii Tech Company MobileGrindz Offers Restaurants an Alternative to Food Service Tech Platforms

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MobileGrindz offers enhanced benefits and lower cost than other food ordering platforms

Honolulu, Aug 2, 2020 – MobileGrindz, a Hawaii based Technology company, has announced the upcoming debut of their foodservice platform that aims to redefine the way food ordering systems and restaurants work together. This venture, spearheaded by Hawaii Local and Black Entrepreneur Lyron Foster, aims to bring additional job opportunities to Hawaii.

With food delivery apps continuing to gain popularity – more than 20% of smartphone users are expected to use food delivery apps by 2021 – restaurants are looking for better ways to offer such services while also boosting their bottom line. 

Many food ordering platforms charge restaurants up to 20% of their orders, which tends to undercut sales severely and adversely affect restaurants. MobileGrindz wants to offer a better solution for restaurants. With their platform, a flat technology fee is charged per month instead of a percentage of sales. This fee structure intends to help businesses better control their costs, make more money, and remain competitive. 

The MobileGrindz team isn’t stopping there. They are working to help restaurants earn more sales in general. One way they are doing this is by offering completely custom and free mobile apps for iOS and Android. This will allow restaurants’ customers to place orders and track their deliveries seamlessly.

Unlike most competitors on the market today, MobileGrindz will offer native apps for restaurants that will let them set up geo-based triggers for promotions that target foot traffic. In addition, this will allow restaurants to offer push notifications which restaurants can utilize to keep their customers informed of special offers and discounts. 

MobileGrindz will also eliminate third party funds disbursements by integrating third-party payment gateways, including Stripe, PayPal, Authorize.net, and others. The inclusion of additional payment gateways will allow restaurants to easily process payments independently and receive revenue more quickly.

The MobileGrindz team says that they will begin on-boarding early adoption users in mid-August, with a general launch of the platform slated for September 1, 2020.

More information can be found at https://www.mobilegrindz.com/

About MobileGrindz

MobileGrindz offers a cost-effective alternative to food ordering platforms for restaurants, helping them better promote their businesses while saving money. 

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Lyron Foster, CEO

MobileGrindz

Instagram: mobilegrindz

Twitter: mobilegrindz

Website: https://www.mobilegrindz.com/ 

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Lyron Foster*****@lyronfoster.com

Source : MobileGrindz LLCCategories : Business , Food , Mobile , Restaurants , RetailTags : COVID19 , Restaurants , Food , Delivery , Mobile Order , Food Service , Food Delivery , MobileGrindz , Hawaii , Lyron Foster

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Being a Black Entrepreneur in the United States. Learn lessons from Lyron Foster

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Lyron Foster
Lyron has encountered discrimination and other business setbacks. But with determination, successful entrepreneurship in the United States is possible.

Lyron Foster is a very determined and prolific entrepeneur. Becoming an entrepreneur isn’t as easy as one thinks it to be. The journey is full of many challenges, roadblocks, hurdles, and can even turn into failures. However, people who are determined enough, overcome these challenges and establish themselves as entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs create new business while bearing most of the risks and enjoying the rewards, at the same time. Such people innovate as they become a source of new ideas, goods, services, and business procedures. Entrepreneurs play a key role in the economy where they use their skills to bring new ideas into the market. If their ideas are successful, they are awarded profits, fame, and continued growth opportunities. Lyron Foster is one such successful entrepreneur who has made a name for himself in the business world. He is the CEO of Code Armada, along with 87 other technology brands across 4 countries. He was also the co-founder/CTO of Hostgator.com. He is a renowned serial entrepreneur, author, investor, coder, and technologist.

Lyron had always been interested in technology. According to his family, he had always possessed a natural aptitude for it. He started programming at the age of 12 and started experimenting with Slackware Linux at the age of 13. Over the years, he mastered the skills required to become a technologist. He was only 21 years old when he got his first real “technology” job at BurstNet working as a Linux Engineer. Soon he emerged as a successful technologist, having mastered all the skills. His passion for technology remained constant throughout his life.

Apart from being a successful technologist, Lyron is largely known for his serial entrepreneurship. As a serial entrepreneur, Lyron is continuously coming up with new ideas and starting new businesses. A serial entrepreneur often comes up with an idea and works on setting things up. Once things get started, they give the responsibility to someone else and move on to a new idea and a new venture. Throughout his career, some of the most memorable experiences had to be focused on his business failures and successes. He has often been lucky enough to found or co-found some of the most amazing ventures, such as Code Armada and Hostgator.  However, he has also had the misfortune of experiencing multiple business failures first hand. But Lyron never let this get to him as he learned from his mistakes and always performed better later on. He has learned lots from both his successes and failures. To this date, he has founded or co-founded over 87 businesses across 4 countries.

Despite experiencing multiple business failures, Lyron Foster has never given up and continues to thrive. His peerless determination rivals that of some of the biggest names in business.

One of his most successful business has been HostGator. HostGator was founded in a dorm room at Florida Atlantic University. HostGator has now grown into a leading provider of Shared, Reseller, VPS, and Dedicated web hosting. It is headquartered in Houston and Austin, Texas, with several international offices throughout the globe. Whether you are looking for a personal website hosting plan or a business website hosting plan, HostGator is the perfect solution for it. Their powerful website hosting services do not only help people achieve their overall website goals, but also provides them with the confidence they need in knowing that they have been with a reliable and secure website hosting platform. HostGator is the easiest website hosting platforms to use where Lyron served as the CTO for HostGator.

Currently, Lyron has extended his services to Code Armada, where he serves as the CEO of the company. The Code Armada is a leading US Based Technology Services & Staffing Solutions provider. They train and nurture the world’s top IT talent and then put them to work for businesses around the globe. Lyron has been successfully provided IT talent to the world.

Despite being such a busy man, Lyron finds time for his personal life as he showcases it on his Instagram. He can be seen sharing pictures of his delicious food, his friends and family, and his adventures around town.

For more information, people can follow him on Twitter at @LyronFoster or on Instagram at @lfoster96720.

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Exploiting wormable flaw on unpatched Windows devices is about to get easier

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Exploiting wormable flaw on unpatched Windows devices is about to get easier

Enlarge (credit: Windows)

A researcher has published exploit code for a Microsoft Windows vulnerability that, when left unpatched, has the potential to spread from computer to computer with no user interaction.

So-called wormable security flaws are among the most severe, because the exploit of one vulnerable computer can start a chain reaction that rapidly spreads to hundreds of thousands, millions, or tens of millions of other vulnerable machines. The WannaCry and NotPetya exploits of 2017, which caused worldwide losses in the billions and tens of billions of dollars respectively, owe their success to CVE-2017-0144, the tracking number for an earlier wormable Windows vulnerability.

Also key to the destruction was reliable code developed by and later stolen from the National Security Agency and finally published online. Microsoft patched the flaw in March 2017, two months before the first exploit took hold.

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