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Odele grew hair care brand via Target; now, it's eyeing women's sports fans

Nick Williams, Star Tribune on

Published in Fashion Daily News

MINNEAPOLIS -- The brand seemed to appear out of nowhere, populating Target shelf space among other "clean label" hair products during the pandemic.

Its minimalist aesthetic and positioning next to pricier brands appealed to consumers looking for affordable yet better-for-you hair care.

In just four years, Minneapolis-based Odele Beauty has gone from an idea to national distribution in more than 7,000 stores, including Target, Ulta Beauty and CVS.

Founded by Minnesotans Lindsay Holden, Britta Chatterjee and Shannon Kearney, Odele has grown to more than $30 million in sales last year, a 55% increase from 2022.

The founders — who started the company in 2019, leaning on their experiences in retail and product development — grew the brand without a large digital marketing budget. Instead, they caught attention of consumers through media mentions in beauty magazines, online reviews and giving out free samples.

Now, with a fresh influx of capital from private investors, Odele is preparing a major advertising push on streaming channels as well as out-of-home platforms, like billboards. And, notably, the brand signed a multiyear sponsorship agreement with the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx, making Odele one of few women-owned companies to sponsor a major professional sports team.

 

"We have an incredible roster of vibrant, female-founded businesses in this community, and we are always looking to uplift and empower women," Carley Knox, Lynx president of business operations, said.

With the Lynx, who initiated the deal, Odele's founders will be able to place products directly into the hands of thousands of fans at Target Center, the team's home arena, while cementing the brand's Minnesota identity.

"Our goal is to become a household name," Holden said.

Chatterjee and Holden met as students in the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management's Brand Enterprise program, where they both obtained their master's in business administration in 2010. Holden spent more than 15 years in retail and sales, including eight years as a senior buyer for Target. Chatterjee, who had helped build up brands and restructured broken ones for companies like Target and General Mills, eventually moved into the hair care and beauty industry. That's where she met Kearney, who has a professional background in operations, accounting, project management and product development.

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