Investors gravitate towards stories or business they can relate to, and for people, they can empathize when they begin to relate.

Amy Errett

A need that started at home, an opportunity that presented itself nationwide

A SAFER WAY TO COLOR. It was not difficult for Amy Errett to figure out that Madison Reed was the company she wanted to create. “My wife, Clare, went gray at 25, and she was going to the salon every two weeks,” Amy says. It was costly, and after a while they grew concerned about the effects of the chemicals. Amy recalls being in Whole Foods one day, and Claire texted her to pick up some hair dye. “I didn’t even know Whole Foods carried hair coloring stuff. I looked at what they had, and it had pretty much the same ingredients as the ones in big-box stores.” Why had no one tried to solve this need, she asks. And that was how Madison Reed came to be, delivering hair coloring products with the lowest chemical profile.

As a seasoned venture capitalist, noticing Madison’s product-market fit was simple. This is a $15 billion industry, and women on average color their hair every six weeks. Repetitive consumption, and products that have essentially stayed the same for decades? This industry was prime for innovation. And finding better hair products would help my wife too, she laughs.

She describes a certain hunger in entrepreneurs. “I always knew I was an operator. I am always involved in sports, getting involved in leading people; these qualities emerged early in my life.” She remembers her time as an investment banker, and even though she learned a lot, not being able to influence the culture of the company, even when working from within, was just not her cup of tea.

“I needed to build something, and sell something, like a physical product I could hold,” she says.

But more importantly, Amy wanted an opportunity to change people’s lives, personally and financially. She takes care to ensure Madison Reed reflects that ethos at every level. For the customer, we want to help build confidence. Hair is very personal and emotional, she explains. But we also want to empower our team, Amy says. “Many of our colorists have taken on huge debts to go to cosmetology school, and we want to make sure they are not only paid well at Madison Reed, but also have the opportunity to rise as managers and leaders,” Amy says.

INSPIRED BY WOMEN, AND TO INSPIRE OTHER WOMEN. Marginalization helps people understand the value of being different. Whether you’ve been marginalized for being LGBT or a gender minority, when you emerge victorious on the other side, you become stronger.

Amy grew up in a single parent household. She saw how her mother and aunts struggled with the challenges of single parenthood. Despite the constant barrage of messages about what they could or could not do, they all successfully raised their children, Amy notes proudly. “When you grow up learning that hard work and having a set of moral fiber and ethics is important, it’s easier to focus on solving the problem and not just the problem,” she elaborates.

With Madison Reed, she wants to pay those life lessons forward. “I named the company after my daughter because I hope that she can learn from the values the company hopes to instill,” Amy says. “I’ve spent my life always focused on being confident, being comfortable in my skin and being out. I’m just like anybody else,” she notes.

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Gaingels 100 2023