The Trendsetters: The creatives behind the buzziest consumer trends
Co-founder and CEO, K18 Hair and Aquis Hair
K18, known for its bond-building Leave-In Molecular Repair Hair Mask, hit the beauty market with a bang in March 2020, establishing itself as a trusted stylist favorite. In the time since, it entered Sephora, in December 2021, and cemented its dominance on TikTok, with a campaign garnering 11 billion views. Steering the ship is co-founder and CEO Suveen Sahib, whose leadership has led the company to sell one of its hero products every 10 seconds.
What have been some of K18’s best moments, to date?
“[We’re proud that we’ve] created a universal product that actually resonates with the stylist community and that’s been stress-tested across all hair types, all services and all generations around the world. The fact that the product performs, together with amazing marketing, created a strong foundation. And advocacy has been at the core of the brand. Within 18 months, K18 was sold in over 100 countries.”
What strategies have helped the brand achieve its current level of success?
“The first thing is [universal] product efficacy. Hair care is all about segregated conversations: ‘This works for Caucasian hair,’ or ‘This works for curly, coily hair.’ At the molecular level, all hair is the same and gets damaged in the same way. No. 2 is our early adoption of TikTok. For us, TikTok is not just about entertainment, but it’s also about education. Finally, there’s the advocacy of stylists around the world. Their love and the amount of UGC they’ve created have been incredible. In under 20 months, we’ve generated around half a million UGC assets across social media. Finally, building an anchor partnership with Sephora has been incredible. We are among its top five [selling] hair products.”
This year, K18 expanded its collection with two new shampoos. What’s noteworthy about them?
“Everything [we do] is about optimizing the K18 experience; it’s about taking care of the hair at the salon and being able to take care of the hair at home. The shampoos give you a clean hair base that makes your color last longer and reduces the number of products you put into your hair, simplifying your routine. We [set out to understand] damaged hair’s interactions with water, metals and minerals, which play a profound role in taking care of chemically damaged hair. It’s like skin care, when you see that clean skin is the base: The cleaner and healthier the hair base, the better the color, the better the styling and the more hair happiness [you have].”
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