Context Adds Hair Care to Lineup – WWD

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Almost two years after launching, Context is adding hair care.The better-for-you beauty brand is set to debut a lineup of unisex, paraben-, sulfate- and sodium chloride-free products on its web site Aug. 29.”It’s one of the largest sectors in the beauty business, so I felt like it was a great business and growth opportunity for us,” said Context chief executive officer David Arbuthnot. “It’s also a category I personally like — I don’t feel like there are a lot of unisex hair brands.”The idea of the hair collection is that it stays in line not only with the brand’s minimalist aesthetic, but with its botanical ingredient focus and luxe-affordable pricing, Arbuthnot said.The lineup includes Keratin Shampoo and Keratin Conditioner, each $30; Refresh Dry Shampoo, $30; Renew Styling Mist, $25; Texture Mist, $25; Replenish Hydrating Oil, $40; Volume Boost, $25, and Matte Clay, $30. Each product also comes in a travel-sized version.”I felt like our aesthetic would carry over well into [the hair] category, so we worked on developing a shampoo and conditioner,” Arbuthnot said. “I wanted to make a matte clay, because I use that.”The hair collection follows Context receiving an investment from Volta Global in April. “That was an important step for us in being able to launch more products and extend,” said Arbuthnot.The hair-care launch comes as the company continues to expand its distribution beyond its online core. Context is launching its skin care, lipstick and nail polishes in Bloomingdale’s Glowhaus locations. The brand is also sold in Anthropologie, Revolve and Birchbox, but generally launches products on its own web site. Right now, sales are split about 50-50 between wholesale and direct, Arbuthnot said, noting skin care remains the company’s largest category.”We’re really still focused on Context as a direct-to-consumer brand, even though we do have wholesale partners,” Arbuthnot said. “It’s an organic process for us — we don’t go into the market and aggressively recruit wholesale accounts, we wait to find the best partner. We’re in discussions to do a department store launch with the hair line, but initially, we’ll launch on our site.”Arbuthnot is also planning to expand Context’s hair lineup beyond the initial eight products. “I already have another phase of products that we’re working on,” he said.Context originally launched with seven skin-care products in 2015, which were followed by lipstick and nail collections, as well as candles, in 2016.