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Melinda Herron Created a Niche for Marketing Men’s Grooming Products, Launches 103 Collection in National Retail

Since 2020, men’s grooming sales have grown tremendously. In part due to the pandemic, statistics show that men spent more time grooming themselves thus the increase in product use. Over the last several years the category has continued to expand and according to Statista, the Global Male Grooming Category will grow to over $80 Billion (in U.S. dollars). For some, this trend may be surprising, but to Melinda Herron, Co-Founder of 103 Collection, it was only a matter of time before men began using grooming products in similar volumes as women.

Herron says, “One day, I asked myself, why would a man want to grow a beard? I looked at it from the same perspective as to why women want thick healthy hair… I believe men need products that will remedy all their common issues and check all the boxes of clean beauty.” 

Herron founded her vegan grooming and skin care items to appeal to health conscious bearded urbanites and she soon found a niche that sparked interest from consumers and retail partners. Taking a grass roots approach, 103’s small team traveled across the U.S. curated small events to introduce the brand to would – be customers. This paired with an aggressive social media outreach strategy cultivated a group of loyal returning consumers. Not only did men begin to gravitate towards the brand because the products were healthy, vegan and affordable, but the word began to spread that 103 was owned by a woman. This dynamic has proven to be a great asset to the brand and Herron has continued to be the driving force behind product creation and marketing. 

Marketing to a primarily multicultural audience, 103 will certainly benefit from African American spending power, which according to CNBC was over $1.6 Trillion in 2021. Herron, who holds a degree in Business Management has carefully considered her brand’s unique positioning, value to consumers and the competition in the marketplace. 

With all the characteristics the brand has carved out for a competitive edge, most recently, 103 became leaping bunny certified. This certification speaks to the commitment the brand has to providing cruelty free items. Currently, the brand offers beard wash products , beard oils and unisex skin care items. All of which are vegan and work for multiple skin types.

103 Collection is being positioned against strong competitors such as Scotch Porter, a male owned brand known for providing textured hair products and promoting wellness in the African American community. This messaging is similar to 103’s and promises to make for interesting comparisons in the future. With new retail partners including Target and Meijer, 103 will soon be sharing shelf space with household names including Shea Moisture and Jack Black

With the growth of grooming products and the increase in spending power across the globe, it will be interesting to see the trajectory of 103 Collection over the next couple of years. Millennials have proven to take a unique stance with creating thriving beauty and lifestyle brands, and we wouldn’t be surprised if this one followed the road to success.

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The Ashley Marie Collection – Natural Hair Care for Gen Z by Gen Z

As a new generation of beauty consumers emerges, the beauty industry is undergoing a significant transformation. Gen Z consumers, in particular, are highly conscious about the ingredients in their beauty products. With a population that accounts for almost 30% of the world, Gen Z (born roughly between 1996 and 2012) are a major focus for several brands.

The desire to be  environmentally and socially aware, has led to a change  in this generation’s values and spearheaded the movement, urging companies to take action on the climate crisis. This is not merely rhetoric. Based on a survey conducted by Capgemini, in 2021, approximately 69 percent of surveyed participants belonging to Generation Z stated that they were willing to spend more on health and beauty products that contain natural and clean ingredients.This trend has led to the rise of natural beauty products, and the Ashley Marie Collection is at the forefront of this movement.

Created by 17-year-old entrepreneur Ashley Marie Gibson, the Ashley Marie Collection features a range of natural hair care products that cater specifically to the evolving needs of Gen Z consumers. Don’t be fooled by her young age – Ashley is a total boss. As a Gen-Z entrepreneur, Ashley is passionate about creating products that use natural ingredients and prioritize health and well-being. The Ashley Marie Collection reflects Gen Z’s preference for natural and eco-friendly products with its commitment to using only the cleanest, ethically sourced ingredients. All products are cruelty-free, color-safe, paraben-free, sulfate-free, and formulated with natural ingredients.

If being clean wasn’t enough, this brand checks off another box – being diverse and inclusive!  The Ashley Marie Collection is an entire hair care line specifically for 4C hair, a hair type that is often overlooked in the beauty industry. The line features a range of uniquely formulated products, including a Clarifying Shampoo, Moisturizing Shampoo, Hydrating Conditioner, Protein Conditioner, Leave-in Conditioner, Coil Cream, and Curly Coil Styling Gel. All of which work wonders for kinky, thick coils and will leave strands feeling and looking even better!

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It’s your last day to apply to speak at TC Disrupt

Today’s your last chance to apply to speak at TechCrunch 2023
Why should you drop everything to get that application in by 11:59 p.m. PDT today? Not only will you help inform and educate the next generation of startups — and potential unicorns — but you’ll also establish or enhance your reputation as a valued thought leader and partner. Around here we call that a win-win situation.

How to apply to speak at TechCrunch Disrupt 2023
When you apply, you’ll choose one of the two formats below and submit a title and description of your topic:

Breakout Session: Up to two people (including moderator) lead a 30-minute presentation followed by a 20-minute Q&A from an audience of up to 100 attendees. You’ll be able to display a presentation and have limited AV capabilities. You’ll present one breakout during Disrupt.
Roundtable Discussion: One person leads a 30-minute interactive conversation for an audience of up to 25 attendees. There is no presentation or AV — it’s all about organic conversation. You may potentially repeat this roundtable twice during Disrupt.
TechCrunch vets every application and then selects the finalists who will participate in the Audience Choice voting round. We’ll post the topics, descriptions and speakers online, and then TechCrunch readers will vote for the sessions they would like to see at the event. The top vote-getters will present live at Disrupt.

These are the important dates you need to know:

Application deadline: Today, April 21, by 11:59 p.m. PDT
Finalists notified: April 27
Audience Choice voting: May 1–12
Winners notified: May 15
Once more — a little louder this time: It’s your last opportunity to submit your application to speak at TechCrunch Disrupt on September 19–21! The application window slams shut today, April 21, at 11:59 p.m. PDT. One more reminder: Save up to $825 with an early-bird ticket. Buy your Disrupt pass, and join us in San Francisco!

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TechCrunch+ roundup: Deep tech tips for SaaS VCs, toxic fundraising, student visa startup options

If someone said “startup” while we were playing a word association game, I’d respond with “fundraising.” (I bet you would, too.)

Asking people for money is a key aspect of every founder’s journey, but Techstars Managing Director Collin Wallace says it can also “accelerate your demise.”

For example, raising a round to rev up engineering, sales and marketing sounds positive — but what if the business itself has negative unit economics?.

“Most of the time, what stands between a company and its ability to achieve scale is not a lack of money,” writes Wallace in TC+.

“It’s better to ask: Do we have hustle problems? Product problems? Process problems? People problems? Is my business model fundamentally flawed?”

In this article, he examines four scenarios that often lead entrepreneurs to seek out new cash and explains why getting “a clear picture of what is fueling losses” is much more important.

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