Hims and Hers’ Hilary Coles: ‘We are defining our own category’

In two short years, direct-to-consumer company Hims launched a sister brand Hers, raised nearly $200 million in funding and became one of few digital-only unicorns. And it all started with taking medicines like finasteride and sildenafil (better known by brand names Propecia and Viagra, respectively), and repositioning them with the end customer in mind.

“When we looked, we learned that men were not going to the doctor and were avoiding taking care of themselves. Things that men were being affected by — like hair loss, erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation — are so common,” said Hilary Coles, co-founder and vp of product development at Hims and Hers.

On this week’s episode of The Glossy Beauty Podcast, Coles sits down with Glossy’s Priya Rao to discuss whether telemedicine is wellness, how Hims and Hers have evolved their out-of-the-box engagement efforts, and what the company is planning for retail. Edited highlights below.

On the genesis of Hims’ telemedicine-meets-wellness approach:
“We had this idea that when we looked at the men’s market out there for wellness, it was either empty shelves in the back of Walgreens or late-night television infomercials, or it was these deep, dark Reddit spirals. These are things that were framed as being for older men in linen pants, on the beach — but really, these are things that are affecting our husbands, our brothers, the guys in our lives. The brands out there weren’t reflecting that.”

The rational for Hims and Hers’ provocative marketing efforts:
“We did a lot of testing, and we created a few test, pilot companies. We did one that was super, super masculine-focused; we did one that was hipster. The concepts that got the most traction, the most responses were always based in humor. Humor was a really important pillar for us. And when we looked at the brands we admired, they had this elevated sense of design. We loved the idea that, for the cost of a shampoo that was less than $20, you could elevate your bathroom. And what it would be like if you could open a box, and it could smell good? We personally used to spray Andrew’s [Dudum, Hims and Hers co-founder and CEO] favorite cologne, which is Le Labo Santal, into every box in the early days.”

On why Hims and Hers are going head-to-head with health care, CPG and beauty conglomerates:
“We are defining our own category. There hasn’t been anybody who has been able to package together prescription products, OTC products and beautiful cosmetic products, all in the same box that gets delivered to your home and that people are trusting. We have pieces of CPG, pieces of wellness and pieces of traditional DNVBs.”

Read the full announcement:

Hims and Hers’ Hilary Coles: ‘We are defining our own category’