How Madison Reed is making over the $29 billion global hair color market.

Only six years ago, consumers had two choices for coloring their hair: cheap, at-home boxes from the drugstore or expensive, time-consuming trips to the salon. Madison Reed changed all that.

Amy Errett, the Founder and CEO of Madison Reed, is speaking at Hustle Con this year. She’s the founder behind the green beauty startup responsible for empowering women—and men—to find the right shade of salon-quality hair color at home

How did this hair dying company gain traction so quickly? 

Amy Errett, Founder & CEO of Madison Reed

Well, for starters, Errett is no stranger to the startup world. As a former venture capitalist who founded the online market research firm Spectrem Group, Errett was also part of senior management at E-Trade and lesbian travel company Olivia.

Madison Reed, which Errett named after her daughter, is a return to her entrepreneurial roots. (Yeah, we went there.)

“It wasn’t like I had visions of, ‘Oh, this is going to be magical because it’s not hard. Running a company or starting a company, it’s really hard.” she said in the New York Times.

Errett decided to focus on hair color because she was concerned about the ingredients used in products on the market and which her wife used regularly. Errett also knew a good opportunity when she saw one. 

According to Forbes, a whopping 75% of women dye their hair—52% of them going the at-home route and the remaining 48% seeking out salons. And with few competitors and the global hair-color industry expected to reach just over $29 billion by 2019, the timing was right, too.

Source: TechNavio

The first step? Create a better product.

To create greener hair coloring products, Errett connected with an Italian hair dye manufacturer that adheres to strict EU guidelines banning ingredients it deems unsafe. 

Unlike most hair colors on the U.S. market, Madison Reed’s products are free of ammonia, para-phenylenediamine (ppd), parabens, resorcinol, phthalates, sodium lauryl sulphate, titanium dioxide, and yes, even gluten. 

Getting return customers with service and subscription.

Inspired by brands like Dollar Shave Club and Birchbox, she launched a subscription-based product model for touch ups and dye jobs—something 56 million Americans do at home every four to six weeks. 

Add-ons like shampoo, conditioner, combs, brushes, even professional smocks to wear while coloring hair, rounded out the product offerings. 

Human- and tech-powered “expertise included.”

Madison Reed offers professional colorists available by phone and a chatbot named Madi, both of whom can help consumers feel more confident picking just the right shade. Consumers answer 13 questions online or through the mobile app to get color recommendations, and can even upload a selfie to try on colors before they buy. 

That winning combination—cleaner hair color with built-in help—made Madison Reed attractive to investors. 

In its latest Series D round, Madison Reed locked in $50 million in funds, bringing the company to $121 million in total funding. 

Not surprisingly, the brand has expanded into other channels, including retail stores like Sephora and Ulta, and online and TV seller QVC. (Though 90 percent of consumers still purchase directly online.) 

And just like many of its digital-first counterparts, Madison Reed branched out into brick-and mortar, launching Color Bar salons in California, New York and Texas. Consumers who prefer in-person assistance can get their color done there at rates much lower than traditional hair salons.

Add-ons like shampoo, conditioner, combs, brushes, even professional smocks to wear while coloring hair, rounded out the product offerings. 

In the end, give customers what they want.

“We’re not an omnichannel because it’s a fad,” Errett tells Forbes. “For consumer-facing companies in the beauty category, all that matters is what customers want and meeting them where they are.” 

So far, giving customers what they want has been a winning formula for Madison Reed, helping the innovative company grow to 190 employees and $50 million in revenue in just six years. 

Looking for more savvy startup strategies you can use at launch? Join us at Hustle Con

Errett will be on hand to share how she touched up an industry ripe for disruption. 

Get your tickets here