This innovative hair care brand is run by Katrin and Christopher von Hallwyl, who founded the company in 2012. According to Christopher, the inspiration to start the company was a human problem. Travelling often, they both suffered from muscle soreness and headaches and neck tension after long-haul flights.
The idea was to use scalp stimulating treatments and elements from traditional Chinese medicine as a base to create a new product that would help relieve these symptoms. Seven years, more than 100 SKUs and 50 countries later, the brand is now involved in the production, marketing and distribution of innovative hair care products and is looking to grow its presence in the Middle East. We sit down with co-founder Christopher von Hallwyl to talk about USPs, mantras and expansion.
What was IKOO’s first product launch?
The initial launch came in 2013 with the classical IKOO brush. That product combined elements explained in traditional Chinese medicine, which is basically whenever you brush your hair you’re stimulating energy meridians as well as your blood flow circulation on the head, because our brushes reach the scalp. This is the link to the traditional Chinese practices.
What sets your brushes apart from others in the market?
We actually built brushes to fit the head. So, this is number one. Then, our brushes have a really strong design aspect, they look very pretty. And the third function is of course detangling, the key problem that every woman with longer hair faces, especially after washing. Our brushes are designed to detangle the hair.
Where would we find your brand here in the region?
One of our strong customers is Boutiqaat, but we are constantly continuing to build a footprint in the Middle East. I think the launch we had so far was really successful in terms of numbers, but we are looking for growth in the future as well.
How many SKUs do you currently have?
We grew in 2014 from four SKUs to now over 115. We built the company from a one product company into a 360° holistic hair care brand. So we do everything related to hair care.
Are your hair care products chemical-free?
Our mantra is ‘Freelosophy’. This means that all our products are cruelty-free, vegan and free of any silicones, sulphates and parabens, paraffins and so on. So, in other words, we do natural-based products that still show a strong performance.
Are you conscious about reducing the use of packaging for your products?
Yes. Our packaging is made from recycled materials. It can be recycled. So, yes, it applies to everything we do. Our brushes are packed in tin boxes that are made from recycled tin. We pay a lot of attention to recycled material and to environmentally friendly products used for our packaging.
What would be your star product for this region?
We have two star products in the Middle East region. The first one is our Paddle X Brush, which is the largest paddle brush in the market. It works really well with strong and thick hair. The brushes and the bristles are really strong, so they work themselves through to the scalp. And of course the lifestyle aspect is very strong. This brush looks very glamorous, and it is appreciated by the market. And on the hair care side we also have product called the Thermal Treatment Wrap. It is a cap which already contains a hair treatment. So you wash your hair, dry it with towel, put the cap on and leave it on for 15 minutes and it recirculates heat. That’s why it’s called the Thermal Treatment Wrap. This allows the product to soak much deeper in the hair and gives the hair a much stronger and deeper treatment. It’s our second hero product in the Middle East region.
So, is it like a sheet mask for the hair?
Exactly. This innovative product is successful globally, but especially in the Middle East. The mask has boomed in the market because celebrities and influencers in the Arab world are talking about it.
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