Somehow, New Zealand entrepreneur Jaimee Lupton has taken everybody’s least favorite day of the week, wrapped it in millennial pink and made it a global, top-selling, cult beauty sensation.
As Co-Founder of MONDAY Haircare, the salon-quality haircare range without the budget-busting price tag, Lupton is not just redefining luxury, she’s taking on an entire industry. “Our goal is a pretty big one,” the 29-year-old tells The CEO Magazine. “We want to be a modern-day Procter & Gamble or Unilever or L’Oréal.
“We want to create really beautiful products for the gen Z and millennial audiences at an accessible price point that ticks all the boxes: sulphate-free, paraben-free, cruelty-free, vegan and 100 per cent recyclable.”
While loyal MONDAY fans can count on more exciting hair product releases – like a treatment, dry shampoo and refill bags that use 80 per cent less plastic than its traditional bottles – Lupton reveals that the brand is also dipping its toes into a sea of other beauty segments with its soon-to-debut BY BAIRE brand, among others. The products all fall under the ZURU Beauty umbrella, the beauty vertical of consumer goods brands that Lupton is spearheading, which is set to launch this year.
“Based on MONDAY’s success, my core team and I are now focusing on disrupting other categories in the beauty space,” she says. “We have about eight brands currently in the pipeline. And, in staying true to our democratizing beauty roots, all of our new products like deodorant, personal care and other categories will be really beautiful products with beautiful packaging and beautiful stories – and all will be under A$10 [US$7].”
MONDAY already boasts 27 retailers under its belt across nine markets, with 20,000 doors in the US alone, but Lupton still isn’t satisfied. She wants to democratize beauty for all, so in 2022, the brand is also entering 13 new markets in Europe.
“It’s a very exciting time for MONDAY. We’re having some top-level conversations now with big retailers around the world who have really bought into our vision,” Lupton reveals. “So many brands, especially in the haircare space, pride themselves on being exclusive or only for a certain pool of people. But to me, that means someone is left out. Access to beauty and feeling good in your own skin shouldn’t be exclusive only to those who can afford it. Beauty is for everyone.”
That belief, along with Lupton’s self-proclaimed beauty obsession, is exactly what inspired MONDAY’s conception in the first place. It’s also the reason it can be found in retailers like Target, Walmart, Amazon, supermarkets and drugstores. “Price barrier is a big thing. With MONDAY, I’m trying to make beauty inclusive of all,” she says.
“For that reason, I’ve never shied away from MONDAY being widely available at super-accessible retailers. In fact, I really think it’s our secret sauce. It works like a A$50 [US$36] product from a salon, but you’re pleasantly surprised when you can get it in your weekly shop for under A$10 [US$7]. I think that’s the magic of it.”
MONDAY Haircare launched in March 2020, timing that coincided perfectly with the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet despite the challenging landscape, the brand sold six months’ worth of stock in four weeks in Australia and New Zealand alone.
Within 12 months, MONDAY went on to replicate that success in the US, Canada, the UAE and the UK, selling upwards of 10,000 bottles a day or roughly 10 bottles per minute worldwide, on average. And it even caught the eye of celebrities, with big names including Addison Rae, Khloe Kardashian, Kris Jenner and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley all singing its praises.
Reflecting on the past two years, Lupton says that even without a pandemic added to the mix, as a business owner, there are always going to be a series of challenges that must be navigated. That being said, COVID-19 has certainly been the challenge of the moment.
“As a global company, we have to get stock all over the world and get our MONDAY products on shelves. And this shipping crisis is causing a lot of disruption. However, I think managing the unexpected is what owning a business is all about,” she asserts.
Lupton has come a long way in her journey as an entrepreneur. Before MONDAY, she was working at Black Communications in Sydney where she oversaw the publicity for a list of luxury brands, including Range Rover and Veuve Clicquot.
It wasn’t until she returned home to New Zealand that her desire to start her own business sparked. And she credits much of that to her partner and Co-Founder Nick Mowbray, who also co-founded ZURU, one of the world’s biggest toy companies.
“Nick believed in my vision from day one, and every day since he has been my business partner, mentor and greatest supporter,” she smiles. “I really think he’s why MONDAY has had such the lift-off that it’s had. He is very business-oriented. My weaknesses are definitely his strengths, and together we make a pretty awesome pair.
“He told me very early on that business is about dealing with multiple problems at any given time and moving on. It’s actually something I’ve learned to love. Now, I always make fast decisions and stick to them. I believe that’s why the MONDAY team can move so fast and have such a clear path. We’re aligned 99 per cent of the time and all share a common goal to make MONDAY the biggest haircare brand in the world.”
While it’s clear the world was waiting for MONDAY’s arrival based on its immediate cult status, Lupton says it’s taken balance and a remarkable team to get here. “Being able to balance big ideas without losing sight of the little details that make it all happen has been key. If you look after the micro every single day, the macro looks after itself,” she says.
In June 2021, MONDAY was confirmed as the most followed haircare brand on TikTok in the world. And Lupton gives all the recognition for this success to her first ever team hire Maddie Youngman. “She led that all herself, end to end, and it’s had a direct impact on sales and a direct impact on retailer buy-in. Without Maddie, we wouldn’t have over 100 million views on our hashtag, and we wouldn’t be seeing such success on this platform.”
“Being able to build a phenomenal team of talented, driven individuals has been a huge part of MONDAY’s success. It’s about bringing really smart, driven people on the journey with you that look after parts of the business without needing to be micromanaged because they’re already so focused and passionate. Without a doubt, without the team focusing on their areas of expertise, MONDAY wouldn’t be where it is today.”
Lupton is passionate about enabling the success of other women in business, whether it be supporting fellow female founders or mentoring the young women on her team. And she’s equally as committed to fostering inclusivity in the workplace, helping to nourish a culture where everyone is valued and taking the stance that hierarchy is overrated.
“At MONDAY, we’re all on the same level and on the same team,” she says. “People are rewarded based on their contribution. And I don’t call them my employees or my staff. They’re my team members. I’m not above them. I’m working right alongside them.”
While Lupton is certain MONDAY is doing something right, she’s not quick to call it a success just yet. “Right now, we’re still so much into it that we just keep going. To me, MONDAY’s not successful yet because it’s not where I want it to be. As the brand grows, the ambition grows,” she points out.
“My dreams keep getting bigger and bigger, and we’re constantly moving the goal post. There’s still so much more to come, and there’s so much opportunity that we’re building on. And I’m really excited about it.”