is the co-founder and VP of Product and Customer Experience of Prose, a hyper-custom beauty brand that generates made-to-order hair care
products based on hair type, geography, and lifestyle habits.
Prose has a team of chemists, researchers, and designers who create
products tailored to your needs, always made with natural ingredients. We
sat down with Paul to dive deep on:
Building a thriving business built on personalization
Leveraging customer data to improve their business
Creating a subscription model on transparency and trust
"All our customers are unique in geography, hair type, and lifestyle
habits, but they have one thing in common: They love solutions that cater to
all their needs. That’s where the value in customization and personalization
comes into play.”
Paul believes that Prose's approach to custom beauty is crucial to its
success, as the company offers an online quiz with 25 questions that capture
85 data points.
The answers make recommendations with personalized formulas in the form of
hair care products. In other words: Prose carries no inventory; all products
Paul started Prose to question two norms in the beauty space:
Rethink how brands fundamentally engage with their customers
Chart a new course for sustainability (Prose is a certified B Corp and a
Public Benefit Corporation)
"We're challenging the status quo that you can sustainably provide great
products to your customers."
Building The Product Around The Customer
Prose creates value for its customers before they even
Their homepage consultation explains the causes behind common scalp issues,
recommending ingredients that will make your hair healthier.
More directly, Paul points out that "Our ethos behind the consultation is
to treat everyone as a valued customer. You don't have to buy something for
us to take care of you."
Investors initially questioned this business model early on, arguing that
it would conflict with the rise of one-click checkout in eCommerce.
But, Paul and his team stand by their 25-question quiz approach. Prose
knows that it could sell more products without it, but it's more paramount
to provide consumers with a tailored experience. Paul calls their intro
consultation useful friction – a key differentiation.
"Not everything is about selling products; it's about building
relationships. And, the more personalized and connected you can be with your
customers, the stronger that relationship will be over the long run.”
Leveraging Data to Design New Products
Data is what drives Prose's innovation process.
To date, Paul's team has captured more than three million consultations. He
calls this the company's treasure chest. Each consultation result offers
opportunities where Prose can grow.
After a customer completes their purchase, they can access Prose's
proprietary tool, Review and Refine™. R&R lets customers offer direct feedback on their custom
"I think more and more people understand the difference between a custom
product and just a custom recommendation."
Optimizing the Subscription Model
It's no surprise that Prose maintains a high customer satisfaction
They've built their website to efficiently help customers find products
tailored to them, make tweaks when they need something different, and set up
a monthly subscription without worry.
Speaking of subscriptions, for other brands considering a subscription
model, Paul recommends two things:
First, build trust with your customers. Once you have their buy-in, you
can add subscriptions.
Empower your customers to share feedback. It will increase subscription
LTV for those existing ones because they know you listen.
Ultimately, though, Paul believes you have to think about what is best for
the customer if you want to last in this business.
"Subscriptions are crucial to growth, but if you're just trying to lock
someone into a subscription before you’ve built trust with them, it's not
going to end well."