The Rain Hat, Reinvented
Women everywhere spend $80B+ dollars every year styling and maintaining their perfectly coiffed hairdos. When it rains, most women are willing to go to great lengths to protect their hair from getting messed up by the rain. I’ve personally used trash bags, shower caps, and grocery bags to protect a hairstyle in the rain. That is, until I met Tracey Pickett in early 2017 and got my first Hairbrella. Since that first meeting, I’ve been able to move about freely in the rain without fears about how my hair would be affected. I even stood in line in the pouring rain for an hour to attend a Stacey Abrams campaign event where Oprah made a special stop in Atlanta to support Abrams. In line, a woman asked me about my Hairbrella and I proudly asked her to save my spot as I ran to the car to retrieve the extra one I kept in my glove compartment and gifted it to her. Today, over 30,000 women have experienced this liberating feeling of being able to enjoy their favorite hike, white water rafting trip, or casual walk around the neighborhood without fear of what the rain or humidity will do to their hair.
Over the last 3 years, Tracey Pickett, the founder and inventor of Hairbrella has perfected the design of the product, filed and been issued multiple patents and become the number one best selling rain hat on Amazon. She even secured the coveted designation of “Amazon’s Choice” in the rain hat category. Recently, she was featured on Good Morning America and The View which have helped increase the diversity of her customer base.
When we met, she had just launched a Kickstarter to get her product off the ground. She used her initial Kickstarter supporters as a focus group to perfect the product, and has since made over 60 iterations to the Hairbrella. Tracey has shown a rare dedication and persistence that represents the DNA of the types of founders we want to back at Collab Capital. Despite not having a deep background in hat design, manufacturing or supply chain logistics, Tracey has worked diligently over the past 3 years to learn and find the right people to help her on her journey. Prior to our investment, and with $100K in angel investments, Tracey has grown the business to over $1M in sales and is pacing to do $2M+ in 2020.
We believe Hairbrella can redefine its category of rain and outdoor protective gear by providing alternatives that center Black women in its design decisions. Rain hats and umbrellas have been around for centuries, but they’ve never been designed to take into account the humidity that can destroy a woman’s hairdo, or the damage that cotton and plastics can place on the hair. The design decisions of a satin-lined cap with plenty of room for flowing or curly hair, a visor to protect makeup and/or glasses, and a integrated storage pocket that makes the Hairbrella compact enough to throw in a purse are the important elements that make the Hairbrella so successful with its target market. Employing our strategy of connecting our portfolio companies to the decision makers and/or audiences that will be strong customers and product evangelists, we are excited to help Tracey continue to grow her business and attack her next milestone. We will work with Tracey to help obtain corporate and wholesale contracts and continue to grow her B2C business.
Today, with our investment of $500,000, we are excited to support the growth of Hairbrella as the company debuts it’s Hairbrella Pro. The Hairbrella Pro was developed by Tracey and her team over the last few months to address the growing need for protective face covering for both essential workers and the general public. With it’s “Every Hero Needs a Shield” campaign, Hairbrella shines light on the tireless and brave work of healthcare workers, grocery store workers and delivery workers. The Hairbrella Pro features an extended, fog-proof visor that can serve as a face shield. The visor connects to the Hairbrella to offer stylish and effective face and hair protection. As we all navigate life in the era of Covid-19, it’s important more than ever that we have the proper equipment to move about safely. That’s why Hairbrella will donate one Hairbrella Pro to an essential worker for every purchase.
Our investment in Hairbrella marks the first for Collab Capital and we could not be more excited to have found a company with a founder that perfectly encapsulates the mission of COLLAB. We are excited to continue on our path of disrupting the wealth gap by supporting incredible Black founders who are building innovative companies. If you are interested in learning more about Collab Capital and excited about our investment in Hairbrella, be sure to follow us on social media and sign up for our newsletter.
-Jewel Burks Solomon
General Partner, Collab Capital