This beauty startup raised $25 million to defy the retail apocalypse and open stores across America

Madison Reed Colour BarFacebook/Madison ReedMadison Reed is defying retail trends by opening brick-and-mortar locations.
  • Online beauty retailer Madison Reed is opening Colour Bars where customers can have the company’s products applied in-person.
  • It recently raised $US25 million to open more stores.
  • While Madison Reed is not the only company to move from online to physical retail, many retail stores are struggling.

While many retailers are shifting away from brick-and-mortar stores to online marketplaces, Madison Reed is doing the opposite.

Founded in 2013, the online beauty retailer developed a questionnaire and algorithm meant to determine the ideal hair colour for its customers, as well as software that could make recommendations based on photos uploaded by customers.

Now, the company is taking its personalised approach one step further by opening Colour Bars where customers can receive colouring services and consult with professional colorists. Two Colour Bars are currently operating — one in San Francisco and one in New York City — and the company plans to have 25 open by the end of 2019.

It just raised $US25 million in venture funding to help it do so, according to TechCrunch. The round was led by Comcast Ventures with participation from Norwest Venture Partners, True Ventures, and Calibrate Ventures. In total, it has raised $US70 million.

Madison Reed is not the only retailer to expand from an online store to a brick-and-mortar presence, but it is doing so in a difficult business climate. The early results have been positive, according to CEO and co-founder Amy Errett.

“The reaction to our Colour Bar concept has been astounding,” she told Chain Store Age. “We have focused on catering to women who are comfortable doing their hair colour at home, and we will continue to do so. Now with the Colour Bars, we also have a solution for women who want the help of a professional Madison Reed colorist, while saving time and money.”

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