Josh Wood, the world’s most sought after hair colourist, founder and CEO of Josh Wood Colour and Redken’s Global Colour Creative Director has secured funding from Index Ventures to build a global brand that will redefine at-home hair colour.
Known for his pioneering creative work over a 30-year career, Wood brings an expert-led approach to home hair colour, with an innovative range of products and formulas, personalised digital consultations and advice that delivers modern, natural colour with 100% grey coverage. A disruptor brand at heart, Josh Wood Colour represents the first innovation in decades in a $20 billion industry that’s remained staid and unchanging, dominated by an oligopoly of large corporates.
Index Ventures, the London and San Francisco-based venture capital firm known for its investments in fashion and ecommerce brands including Farfetch and Glossier, led the $6.5 million Series A round. Danny Rimer, Index Ventures partner, joins the board of Josh Wood Colour. JamJar Investments and Venrex also participated in the round.
While 80% of women over 25 colour their hair, and three quarters do so at home, fewer than 1 in 4 are happy with their hair colour. ‘For years it has pained me to see the poor quality of product, the lack of trustworthy guidance and the frustrating experience many women have with at-home colouring. We’ve set out to change that. We want to have a relationship with our customers, and turn home hair colouring from a utility to a conversation about beauty,’ commented Josh Wood, CEO and founder of Josh Wood Colour.
Growing up in the British mining town of Barnsley, Wood got his start in hairdressing via a Saturday job at a local salon. ‘I realised I wasn’t particularly talented at styling, but colour was a way to progress,’ he says. Wood went on to train at Vidal Sassoon in Leeds and London, working with Sassoon himself in New York, before returning to the UK to found his own hair studio in leafy West London. As well as a rota of celebrity clients that’s included David Bowie, PJ Harvey, Florence Welch, Saoirse Ronan and Elle Macpherson, Wood works across film and fashion with the likes of Miuccia Prada, Donatella Versace and Marc Jacobs.
Wood has been expanding his business to bring innovation and personalisation to the at-home hair colour segment. The global market for colourants is estimated at $20bn and growing at 9% year-on-year. Demand is set to increase in the face of several trends: the aspirations of the expanding middle classes in emerging markets; growing expectations of convenience and individually tailored products among consumers; and an ageing global population, creating increased demand for premium colour and reliable grey coverage.
“With the democratisation of colour, the world is changing at a fast pace. I see women wanting colour when and where they need it. This isn’t about salon versus home, this is about a different conversation”, says Wood.
The Josh Wood Colour range – including root concealer toolkits, colour specific shampoo and conditioners, glosses and special ‘shade shots’ that create uniquely tailored tones – have been stocked in several hundred of Boots stores in the UK. Josh Wood Colour sold 240,000 of its products in its first year, contributing to Boots’ first growth spike and most successful launch in the category in more than a decade. Following the successful launch and the announcement of funding, Josh Wood Colour is hiring a world-class team of technologists and operators with experience in building global online retail brands.
‘For all that beauty follows fast-moving trends, the fundamentals of the industry are remarkably conservative – the basics of how people colour their hair hasn’t changed in decades,’ says Danny Rimer, partner at Index Ventures who led the investment. ‘No one can match Josh Wood’s authenticity, passion and expertise, and we believe his ambitious new business will allow him to bring this vision to an increasing number of women around the world.’
‘For many people, colouring their hair is not a luxury – it’s a need,’ Wood says. ‘My life’s work has been about raising the status of colour. It’s a privilege now to be in a position to design and build a digital platform that lets me transmit my knowledge and experience to the wider world.’
About Josh Wood Colour
Josh Wood is Global Colour Creative director for Redken, and founder and CEO of Josh Wood Colour. Wood’s genius at creating perfect hair colour has made him one of the most sought-after colourists in the world. His vision and technical ability with colour, along with his heart and roots in his Holland Park Atelier has allowed him to shape the global beauty landscape for over three decades. In February 2018 Josh launched Josh Wood Colour, an expert led approach to home hair colour that aims to redefine the industry and give every woman the hair colour she deserves.