Florae Beauty officially launched this Fall 2022, the prestige hair wellness brand is an endeavor by a dynamic Neuroscientist and Brain Health Expert, Dr. Natalie King. Florae, pronounced floh-ra, a personalized hair wellness brand that believes clean, plant-powered ingredients create the most effective formulas for textured hair.
The first collection launched by Florae, SANA, a beautiful Latin word meaning health and healing includes a deep treatment mask, oil serum and a strengthening booster. The hero product SANA Deep Treatment Mask, can be personalized with unique booster extracts per each client’s needs. The second is a high-quality, multi-action serum oil. As Dr. King says, “it gives the feeling of luxurious oil, but it treats like a serum. It includes our SANA Bioactive Complex™ (like our mask), a combination of potent plant extracts and oils designed to penetrate the hair cuticle and nourish it from the inside out.
Meet Natalie King, PnD, Founder of Florae
Natalie King, PhD is not your average beauty founder. Dr. King’s background is rooted in Biophysiology and Neuroscience, with experience as both a researcher and healthcare provider. She wanted to create a company that reflected her multifaceted identity, one that combined the scientific rigor of her medical work and her personal hair journey as an Afro-Latina woman with textured hair. The result was Florae, the haircare brand that has a little of Natalie and is made for all. To date, the company has raised over $350,000.
“We created Florae because we believe no two curls are alike–not even the curls on the same head–and it’s about time we recognize and celebrated that diversity. Overall, hair texture is versatile, complex, and deeply personal. It deserves hair care that is just as richly made, hair care that is as unique as the hair it serves,” said Dr. King.
We sat down with Natalie for an exclusive interview at Beauty Connect West, to learn more about her science-backed hair care line…
What is your inspiration behind Florae, and why is now the best time in the market to launch?
Launching florae has been a 3-year journey and we couldnt be more pleased with the response so far. What makes us different is our holistic approach to haircare. As a former healthcare provider and researcher, i know it is more than simple product selection that goes into having healthy hair, and to us, considering the whole individual is what we believe is still missing in the market. While we are starting with a treatment-based consumer product, our goal is to ultimately create an entirely new category that truly merges health and beauty. One where a womans unique health vantage point, lifestyle, and total wellness goals inform our personalized product development, hair wellness education, and access to future digital health and beauty resources.
Who is the ideal customer for Florae Beauty and what role does hair texture pattern play in selecting the right product?
Our ideal customer is the woman that values a quality experience and loves to learn how she can take care of her total wellness. While all types and textures can find value and effectiveness in our products, at our core, a key demographic is a woman who has a textured curl pattern, someone like myself who represents latina and caribbean heritage. Texture is very important because it might help someone decide which weight of formula would work best for them (using the scientific definition of texture, it is the thickness of the hair strand: fine, medium, coarse). It is not the only characteristic that matters, however. Density, porosity, elasticity are also very important characteristics to consider when selecting a product that might work best for you!
What unique science-based hair solutions does Florae provide above other brands in the market?
Floraes personalizable hair wellness approach goes to the root of your hair issues and considers the whole person when considering their hair wellness journey. Our florae beauty survey is designed to consider not just your hair type, but how you wear your hair, your general lifestyle, if you are taking any medications/have any health issues, and a range of other questions.
Once you take our survey, our team will be able to offer specific high-performing botanical booster extracts based on the answers that you give. This booster will be added to our treatment mask and tailored to your specific hair needs. Every time you give your hair a deep conditioning treatment, you will be using a blend of ingredients that are designed to give your hair the very best organic nutrients! Many traditional hair care products can only offer you generic ingredients with a standard concentration that are mostly too low to have any significant effect on your strands to address your hair issues. At florae beauty, our team has designed science-based formulas that have higher concentrations of pure and organic ingredients which sets us apart from numerous products on the market. This better ensures you will get your moneys worth when you spend on our products.
How key are ingredients when it comes to hair products? What does it mean to be a clean beauty line?
As a scientist founder, ingredients are extremely important at florae. We dont focus on industry trends and instead place our emphasis we gained clarity on various needs shared by our community and ingredients were selected for their function and how it would perform in formula instead of how amazing it would sound in our marketing materials. We also paid significant attention to the concentration of those ingredients in the formula, making sure to have the appropriate amount to allow for peak effectiveness, safety, and performance. Each of our formulas are custom, nothing off the shelf, and thats our special sauce.
What did you hope to gain from attending Beauty Connect West this year? As you mentioned earlier, this is your third time at Beauty Connect.
I had attended the previous two beauty connect events in hopes of 1) networking and 2) generally learning about the beauty industry. At the time, i was in the middle of product development that ended up taking a year and a half and I didn’t have a finished products to show or pitch, but I wanted to make sure I was around the movers and shakers in the industry. I’ve always taken an educational and open-minded approach to everything, and I fully believe that while I’m a newcomer to the space (my career is research and medicine, not beauty), I have the capability to learn and make things happen. I’ve enjoyed both previous events, but this year was very special as i officially launched the brand in September and could now share what my team and I have been working on. The main goal was to learn and grow from the other founders attending and make introductions to various retailers as omnichannel engagement is a part of our strategy for 2023.
How has the journey of Florae Beauty’s raising capital gone so far? What are you currently investing the funds into?
Fundraising has not been easy, especially since the majority of the time we were still pre- launch/pre-revenue. Which creates its own set of roadblocks. In addition black/brown founders still have a difficult time securing funds for their ventures, even if product-market fit has already been reached. “Black startup founders raised just $187 million in the third quarter of 2022 and only 0.12 percent of the $150.9 billion that was deployed,” said James Chapman, CEO of Plain Sight to Inc. Magazine. It’s dismal. Despite knowing that information, however, I officially opened our 500k round in mid-2021 completely on faith and passion to bring our vision to life. While it’s been a rollercoaster ride no one can fully prepare you for, im proud to announce that as of today, we have raised our complete 500k through a collection of amazing angel investors, grants, and impact fund partners. We’re working through the due diligence process with the last partner listed at this time. I plan to spend some of the resources to hire key marketing and operations talent, begin our next phase of product development in January to bring new products that our customers are already asking for, and partnering with an amazing organization to complete key hair and scalp science studies with our products! Im grateful for the access to these funds because now i dont feel i have to compromise on the vision and quality i want to bring to those who support our brand and buy our products.
Do you have any exciting company social impact to share upcoming for Florae?
Im excited to share an update regarding our winter social mission initiative! We are a for-profit venture however social mission is important for us as a company as well and we support (through a percentage of profits) organizations that:
1. support young women and girls from marginalized communities gain access to stem careers (given my career as a neuroscientist, i know the impact that can have on building generational wealth)
2. organizations that support women/girls who are experiencing hair loss due to various hair/scalp conditions. To date, we have secured sponsorships for approx. 50 young women/girls to experience our SANA treatment collections over the holidays at no cost to them.
We plan to make a day of it where we talk about building confidence through loving their hair, understanding how their hair and health are ultimately connected, and how one can inform the other! If your company wants to participate and sponsor another group of young women and girls, please contact email@example.com
If you could be on any retailers shelves, which one would you choose and why?
We are a prestige hair wellness brand that also has clean formulas so there are a number of retail partners wed love to grace the shelves of one day soon! Retailers like credo beauty and the detox market really live and breathe who our customer is. She values knowing whats going in and on her body and will challenge the status quo, if necessary, as these retailers have done in this space.
Next, we would love to partner with sephora as they have shown they value quality brands and have taken the 15% pledge to ensure companies that are black/brown founded are given access and opportunity as well. They would also be a dream partner as we see ourselves as a global company and from a distribution perspective, they have the global footprint that would help us scale and positively impact womens lives around the world. We also believe we have products that could create new opportunities for them within the category of haircare that is now seeing its own revolution, similar to what was the skincare category some 6-7 years ago.
In terms of department store footprint, we see nordstrom, bloomingdales, and saks fifth as key partners because of their keen eye for luxury and because we offer a range of products currently missing in their beauty aisles. We believe we could welcome a new range of shoppers to their doors with the expansion of their hair and wellness selections. As an aside, while we are not currently formulated as over the counter (otc) products, we would also love to be a brand that dermatologist and trichologist know, love, and recommend to their communities due to our safety and effectiveness.