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It seems like everyone in Hollywood these days is releasing a fragrance, makeup line or other products. Yet with the success of Pattern Beauty by Tracee Ellis Ross, Kylie Cosmetics by Kylie Jenner and Beis by Shay Mitchell, among others, celeb-led brand success cannot be ignored.
And, in many cases, that success follows a deliberate strategy.
Many of these founders are focusing on a mission and ways to truly add value to their consumers’ lives, not just slap their name on a product that might’ve worked in the past. Take Selena Gomez’s brand Rare Beauty, which directs 1% of all sales to the Rare Impact Fund, an organization committed to addressing mental health and self-acceptance.
Actress and entrepreneur Tia Mowry is doing the same with 4U by Tia. The Sister Sister star created the natural hair care brand to focus on providing affordable products for curls, powered by science. Growing up in front of the camera as a child actor, having curly hair was seen as something different and viewed as difficult. Now in 4U by Tia’s first year as a business, Mowry is ready to even the playing field of products for curly hair.
A woman like me
As kids, many of us can recall the first time we felt seen or represented. It might have been a cartoon character who had a similar upbringing or an actor on a show with the same hair texture.
Nowadays, many shows like Netflix’s On My Block and ABC’s Abbott Elementary feature various characters of color, but this was not the norm for decades. According to data organization Beyond, the share of cable scripted shows featuring majority-minority casts topped 35% during the 2020-21 season—more than quadruple than the 2011-12 season.
“To be honest, when I was younger, I really didn’t feel like there was a lot of representation when it came to seeing women that looked like me,” Mowry told ADWEEK.
For Mowry and her twin sister, Tamera, keeping their hair natural on their ’90s sitcom Sister Sister was many people’s first impression of textured hair and helped others feel seen. “I’m glad that I was able to be that for other women,” Mowry said, although at times she felt societal pressure to change her hair. Crews on set, for instance, were sometimes unsure of how to style it, and products for textured hair were more limited.
In the past, brands that made products for textured hair seemed to take an approach that everyone with curly to kinky hair was the same. Most products for textured hair were found on a very small aisle that targeted Black hair. Nowadays, more brands like Carol’s Daughter, Shea Moisture and Mixed Chicks cater to various types of curly and kinky hair in major retailers like Walmart and Target.
From the start of 4U by Tia, Mowry has worked with Walmart to be the official distributor of her product line. She said the retailer has supported the brand’s growth from inception with more shelf space and product display as time went on.
“I think that’s what has been so beautiful about this experience is finding a retailer that really understood my vision and supported my vision. Walmart has been by our sides since conception,” Mowry said. The retailer understood the brand’s mission from the beginning, and made the process and plans for expanding very simple.
Affordable, clean and effective
Mowry’s haircare line was built on the premise that clean products and affordability can coexist. This accessibility is another reason she chose Walmart as the main distributor.
The concept of “clean beauty” has gained popularity in recent years as more people seek out products free of harsh chemicals and ingredients they don’t understand. “I remember when I was doing research trying to find products for myself, I would see on the shelves ‘all-natural ingredients,’ but what does that really mean?” Mowry said.
According to a recent survey by Allied market research, North America is the largest market for organic beauty products, with a 32% share of the global market.
Mowry saw a niche in curl-friendly products made with natural ingredients at an affordable price point. “I felt like that was really missing in the market space. And then not only that, especially in the curly hair community or just when you have natural, textured hair,” she added.
Another issue is many people with curly hair manage it by buying tons of products to create a concoction that works for them. Mowry wanted to offer a one-product solution. “I felt like simplicity was missing in the markets,” she stated.
‘It’s a movement’
Looking ahead, expect to see more from the mogul and mom of two. “It’s not just a brand; it’s a movement, it’s a community,” said Mowry. 4U by Tia has engaged with its community in person at events like the Essence Festival of Culture in New Orleans, where attendees were able to try out the products and ask questions to learn more about the brand and trade hair care secrets with others.
“When I’m looking at marketing, it’s really honing in and tapping into the audience and the community and making them feel that they are valued and that they belong,” Mowry said. The brand is also active with fostering community across its social channels, where consumers are showing how they use the products and what the brand means to them.
In 2024, the brand plans on releasing new products and continuing to meet the needs of its consumers. “My vision and my goal is just to continue to expand the brand … giving products that the community wants and needs,” said Mowry.