Shhhowercap is a one-hit-wonder, and we mean that in the best possible way.
This innovative brand has created a multi-million dollar business literally from one product–a chic shower cap available in a few different prints and sold to everyone from Neiman Marcus to Fred Segal to the MoMA Design Store. Business and fashion magazines like Fast Company, Forbes and Vogue were quick to notice, and the fan base is obsessed to say the least (our favorite testimonial is from a gal asking if she can change her birth date to the day she discovered Shhhowercap).
Rebirths notwithtanding, we were curious how anyone could get so excited about a shower cap…at $43 no less…until we tried one. And suffice to say, we have joined the ranks of the converted. Accessories Magazine caught up with founder and former advertising art director Jaqueline De Jesu to discuss the three-year-old brand, its legion of fans and future plans.
First of all, is it weird to tell you that we now think of you every time we’re in the shower?
(laughs) People tell me that all the time! I’m just happy to be making a difference in people’s mornings. You shouldn’t have to spend half your morning blow drying your hair. It’s bad for your hair besides.
How’d you get the idea?
My mom is a hair dresser, and my husband I both work in design, and we always search for “best designed ______ ” when we make a new purchase. So I had done a search for shower caps and couldn’t believe that what came up was considered the best of the best. They were either frilly “luxe” ones, ironic ones with frog prints, cheap cheap plastic ones or ones with terry cloth inside. I figured it needed a redesign, but it turned out to be a category problem.
When I started talking to women, I realized that even though they weren’t washing their hair every day, they weren’t using a shower cap at all. Many were just putting their hair up in a top knot and trying to keep their head out of the shower stream. It’s hard to make generalizations, but I figured that women just didn’t like shower caps. I set out to change that.
So you had to create the market in a sense?
Correct. We’re not just selling shower caps to existing shower cap users so there is potential for mass appeal. There are completely different women who aren’t washing their hair every day: the blow-out girls, the busy mom, the gym at lunch girls, the glam squads, the dry shampoo girls. And of those who were wearing shower caps, most were so embarrassed, they’d hide it from their significant other.
How is your product different?
We re-invented the showercap! First, it’s designed to be more like a chic turban than that Little Miss Muffet bonnet style. We use nano technology so the water beads off and dries instantly (no drippy mess when you step out of the shower). It’s machine washable. The high quality product is engineered to stay put and be much quieter than others that echo the sound of shower water pounding on your ears. Some people cautioned we made it too well; that women wouldn’t need to repurchase this item. But three years in, it’s been the opposite. People are buying one for their home, and then an extra for their beach house, or their boyfriend’s house, or their travel luggage. And of course those who are ‘converted’ gift them like crazy.
Are there unexpected uses beyond the shower? How to you get that message across ?
It works really well as a swim cap so people are buying multiples to coordinate with their swimwear. Another great use is a cap for a deep conditioner to work (the patented silhouette has extra space so you can slather on the conditioner). You can use it to keep your hair off your face when you do a face mask. It transcends the shower. We train our salespeople to teach retailers all the benefits so they can explain them to their customers.
How’d you come up with the pricepoint? It’s not inexpensive…
The $43 pricepoint was high and broke a lot of category norms. But at retailers like Sephora, we’re sitting next to a $100 serum or a $50 eye cream, so the pricing makes sense.
And it was all self funded?
I’m validated by that time and time again. Founded just three years ago, we sold $15,000 the first 10 days and made our first million a long time ago. I liken what we’re doing to what Sara Blakely did for Spanx in terms of discovering and filling a space in the industry. We’re the 2018 Spanx story. There are a lot of female founders with dollars and success, but there’s no woman of our age range living her live on social and growing her brand. That’s the most valuable narrative for the company to have.