“Currently, the beauty industry is very fragmented: content is everywhere!” tech founder Camille Heard tells Sadiaa. “As a consumer, fragmentation makes it difficult to connect with others that share your needs. And, as a brand, fragmentation makes it difficult to build a strong audience for your growth.
Enter FELOH (For Everyone’s Love Of Hair). The beauty app is building a hair and beauty community connecting consumers to independent haircare brands. And while its founders are Black, the app is designed for everyone — it is billed as a body-positive, race-, gender-, and ability-inclusive space. The platform encourages users of all backgrounds to share tips and tutorials, as well as rate and recommend products. These recommendations not only help other users discover new products but also help small beauty businesses build their following.
“FELOH is an important app for beauty lovers and for the greater beauty industry because it provides a community where like-minded beauty lovers can connect, discover, and support new independently-owned beauty brands,” says Heard, who co-founded the app with her former college roommate Jacqueline Baron.
Heard and Baron were first drawn together by their love of hair and beauty during their freshman year at the University of Pennsylvania. They wondered: “What if there was a dedicated space online where people could share their experiences with various hair products? A place where consumers felt safe and empowered to share their passion and experiences?” When Heard set out on her own natural hair journey two years later, the platform they were envisioning became much clearer.
Camille Heard & Jacqueline Baron // Photo courtesy brand
Fast forward to today and the app is now a full-blown community and marketplace featuring an inclusive mix of independent Black-, Latinx-, and AAPI-owned hair, beauty, and wellness brands.
The platform is built around a point system that allows users to earn “Curl Coins” in exchange for their engagement on the site. This incentivizes users to share their reviews and experiences, which provides great market research for the brands. It also encourages consumers to support the brands as the Curl Coins can be used towards marketplace purchases on the app.
Recognizing the importance and power of peer-to-peer marketing, FELOH has also created a VIF or Very Important Felohs program to connect brands to influencers. The most active consumers on the app can apply to the program which provides access to free products each month.
Building On Authentic Inclusion
Heard and Baron also hope to use FELOH as a vehicle to help small business brands find more equal footing in the beauty industry through inclusivity and support for small businesses, particularly woman- and minority-owned brands.
Even as a wider variety of products are available to consumers in today’s market, they are well aware the beauty industry remains rooted in patriarchy and European beauty standards.
“We feel it is our duty to empower the majority that funds this industry: women and women-identifying people of color,” Heard says. “We as founders are the same consumers that are exhausted with inauthentic initiatives that only highlight diversity in beauty to improve their bottom line. Our message is important because we are ushering in a new era of inclusion in the beauty that authentically celebrates diversity.”
That need for inclusion extends into the tech beauty space, as well. While the number of businesses owned by women of color has grown exponentially — increasing 163% from 2007 to 2018 the same can’t be said for that demographic in the tech space.
“Entrepreneurship is tough,” says Heard about their journey (and multiple pitch competitions) over the past six years to bring their vision to life. “Being at the intersection of being Black, and a woman, in the tech space has a whole different set of challenges,” she explains. “Fundraising has been tough, and communicating our vision to potential investors has been tough, BUT the beautiful thing is that the community we are building and serving understands us.”
And that is the beauty in FELOH: from consumers to brands to the platform itself, it is a symbiotic system that pushes everyone towards more equity in the world of beauty. “Many of our brand partners are women and people of color,” Heard adds. “They are our champions and advocates, and they certainly make the journey sweeter!”
Visit feloh.com to download the app and learn more about this rising beauty community.