Federici first ventured into the hair care industry with John Frieda hair care products, writing content, creating videos and, eventually, advising on products.
While working with Frieda, she said she was surprised by how few products targeted her own hair issue: frizz.
“I had been thinking selfishly about my hair because it's really been a problem for me,” she said. “It's very frizzy, and I have a lot of hair. Every product on the market was for fine, limp hair [and] every product added body…I thought this is crazy because more people have this hair type either through genetics or through perming, at the time, or color.”
She researched ingredients before proposing a product to Frieda, and they worked with a chemist to finalize the formula.
Federici’s inspiration for Color Wow also grew out of personal experience. Her sisters dealt with gray roots before she did, and they told her that there weren’t any good products for combating the issue.
“There's sprays that go all over the place, there's crayons. They look fake,” she said. “There's absolutely nothing. And I thought, well, that's crazy that there's nothing when it's such a pervasive problem.”
Federici remembered watching a hair stylist apply eyeshadow to the roots of a model’s wig to make it look realistic. She started experimenting with the idea, and eventually produced a powder that could cover gray hair.
Color Wow took off after “Today Show” co-anchor Hoda Kotb mentioned the product on-air, as something she regularly used. “It was like an infomercial on the product,” Federici said. She used the momentum from that appearance and studied up digital marketing strategies, courting micro-influencers to promote the products.
Federici said those efforts proved key. Without the funding of large companies, she said smaller brands have to stay up to date on the best methods to reach a wide audience.
“You don't have, as an entrepreneur, [...] the money to spend to promote it the way a big company can. You just don't,” Federici said. “So if you really find an issue that someone has and you can actually help them with that problem, [the] solution is so powerful.”
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dot.LA Editorial Intern Kristin Snyder contributed to this post
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