Influencer and Instagram bae Freddie Harrel recently raised £1.5 million ($2 million) in seed funding from all-female investors for her hair company Redswan.
I have been following Freddie and her family for a while and so I was aware of her hair extensions company and was thrilled they were able to raise money for it.
Read below via Standard Co UK:
Harrel’s investors include the likes of BBG Ventures, Female Founders Fund and angel investor Hannah Bronfman, who will be part of her goal to transform the $7 billion black hair market with RadSwan’s socially conscious agenda.
Starting from next year, RadSwan will launch a line of premium synthetic hair extensions and wigs directly from its website. Women will be able to clip in the hair and go without having to spend hours in a salon chair with staff who may not know how to treat afro hair properly.
“My culture has taught me that my hair is just like me: multifaceted, soft, springy, and free. Hair is one of the ways we’ve always expressed ourselves, forever reintroducing our various angles to a constrained and biased world. Yet, my experience with shopping for these self-expression tools was just as constrained and biased,” said Harrel.
“Products are usually sold through retailers lacking an online presence and are managed by those who are unfamiliar with the nuances of buying, styling and caring for the products. In addition to that, they often source low-quality hair, which fits poorly, can be uncomfortable and ultimately overshadows the benefits of choosing to wear synthetic hair.”
Harrel was born in France and has lived in the UK for the past eight years. She started blogging back in 2013, and has built her career in digital marketing, working with brands such as ASOS and Verstiaire Collective. Her 230,000 followers have been with her every step of the way with RadSwan, offering advice on the right name, to the types of products that will eventually be on sale.
For the past few months, Harrel has been taking part in the Founders Factory beauty accelerator programme, which has helped to get the business off the ground, whilst the seed funding will propel the business to the next level. For reference, in the US in 2017, only 0.2 percent of all funding went to black female founders out of a total of $85 billion, so it’s no mean feat for Harrel to be raising this much at such an early stage.
Eventually, RadSwan will be more than just hair, Harrel says, with the vision for the brand to become a “digital platform focused on the shared hair experiences of those across the African Diaspora.”
“It is incredibly exciting to be working with such incredible – all-female – investors who understand the market and passionately believe in building a brand that serves the long-underserved. I can’t wait to bring our vision to life,” she added.
Nisha Dua, of BBG Investors, a fund focused on female founders leading consumer tech start-ups, said she is thrilled to back RadSwan. “Black women have no ownership over the synthetic hair supply chain, resulting in products and a buying experience that completely misses the mark for today’s consumer,” explained Dua.
“We believe Freddie’s innate understanding of the journey of women in the global African diaspora, and her commitment to co-create with her community will transform the market. It’s this depth of insight that excited us, and brought together a diverse group of female investors to back RadSwan.”