Unilever and its Sundial Brands subsidiary (which specializes in "multicultural beauty,") have launched a "line of textured hair care products for Gen Z multicultural women" exclusive to Target, the companies said in a press release. The products are sold for $6.99 at Target stores nationwide and online.
Dubbed "Emerge," the line includes six hair care products made with pequi oil and almond milk, and formulated with both "naturally derived and non-natural ingredients," but without sulfates, parabens, phthalates, silicones, mineral oil, petrolatum or dyes.
To market the line, the brand has gathered "the Emerge Creative Collective," influencers "with diverse hair types, styles and creative passions." They include ballet dancer Erica Lall, LGBTQIA activist Jessica Zyrie, singer-songwriter Tonina Saputo, photographer Nesrin Danan, natural hair vlogger Blake Ja'el, vintage fashion entrepreneur Veronica Bonilla and celebrity hair artist Nai'vasha.
With another exclusive label to complement its private label strategy, Target continues to demonstrate merchandising and branding savvy that places it ahead of the pack in retail.
The mass merchant has likely used what it learned as part of its beauty accelerators and other research, where products for women of color have been featured. In Unilever and Sundial, Target has partners that can develop those products with specialized knowledge and supply them at scale. And in offering them exclusively, it carries on with the level of differentiation that CEO Brian Cornell promised years ago would be key to its turnaround.
Moreover, the exclusive line furthers its success in beauty, an area where Target slowly but meaningfully appears to be taking share from the likes of drugstores. While Target's holiday sales were something of a disappointment, its beauty sales shined. Comparable sales fell more than 6% in electronics and 1% in home, and were flat in toys. But beauty comps were a winner, up 7%, even better than apparel (up 5%) and food (up 3%). This season, Target said it grew market share in the category as well.
And the company is targeting its customer well, and not just in catering to Gen Z. Its development of Emerge goes beyond mere "purpose marketing" to bring products to market that are in demand by a group of consumers often neglected by mainstream retailers, and is tapping key members of that group to weigh in.
"As a hairstylist, artistry is at the core of what I do every day," Nai'vasha said in a statement. "I feel incredibly lucky to be partnering with a brand that both believes in the power of creativity and delivers effective products that can be used on my celebrity clients to create unique, bold styles."