Locks of Luxury
Forbes India|December 4, 2020
Why Brooklyn-based Prose is betting millions that Americans will fork over $25 for customised shampoo. Then rinse and repeat
AMY FELDMAN

Arnaud Plas, co-founder, and CEO of Prose, is anxiously awaiting the arrival of a 60-foot, 10-tonne bespoke machine he has spent two years building. Currently in pieces on a boat somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic, en route to Brooklyn from Normandy, France, the enormous new piece of equipment will let him scale his ultra-luxe shampoo company by churning out up to 30,000 custom mixed bottles a day. Each will cost $25 for 8.5 fluid ounces, around 10 times the cost of the equivalent amount of regular old Pantene.

Prose is on track to hit $50 million in revenue this year, more than triple last year’s figure and above its most optimistic pre-pandemic projections. It also expects to be profitable for the first time next year, helped by a large number of returning customers (55 percent made repeat purchases in the latest 12 months, far above what Plas says is more typically 30 percent for the industry). The company, which has raised $25 million in venture funding, is worth an estimated $350 million.

“We knew that [without the machine] we were a boutique hair care brand in New York, which was not the ambition of the company,” says Plas, 39, who previously worked at L’Oréal. His ambition, instead, is to get big: To turn his budding shampoo company into a major player in the $850 million high-end hair care market.

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