Curly, straight, wavy, frazzled or damaged—hair woes are different for each hair type. But how often do you find a solution that matches your hair type and specific problem? Freewill is a brand that hopes to fix that by personalising haircare products. The first of its kind Indian beauty brand will customise your hair products—from shampoos to hair serums— according to your hair type and deliver it to your doorstep, too.
All one needs to do is log on to the brand's website, answer a few questions about your hair and a specially formulated product will automatically be added to your cart. The brand's founder, Mohit Yadav, talks about the idea of personalised hair products and about liking your natural hair type.
How did the idea of Freewill come about?
Our background (my business partner and my brother, Rahul Yadav) is primarily in technology and use of machine learning and AI has always fascinated us. With the evolution of technology, possibilities are infinite in every industry including beauty. Beauty is one such industry where products are sold purely on marketing and brands sell a product that they believe will magically work on every skin/hair type. When we know each individual is unique, their product should also be unique. The thought of bringing uniqueness to a product is what led to the conception of Freewill.
Is Freewill organic and hypoallergic? What are your thoughts on animal testing and recycling?
At Freewill, we use natural or naturally derived ingredients. We do not use any harmful or controversial ingredients in our product. All our products are cruelty-free. We do not test anything on animals. There’s no excuse for companies to test on animals when there are better alternatives available. We really care about what ingredients go into our product, formulate and test it before it reaches our customers.
Our products include ingredients like avocado extract, wheat protein, argan oil, lemongrass oil and so on. We expect consumers to be knowledge driven and who consciously choose products that prevent further harm to the environment.
The natural hair movement has caught up in India too. Is Freewill's ideology akin to this?
We believe every individual is unique, they have unique lifestyles and live in different climes too. Each of them also have unique beauty goals. So, instead of selling straight hair or fair skin, we believe in giving the user a product that will meet their needs. For decades we have been told what's right for us by beauty brands setting irrational beauty expectations and altering our perception of what is ‘normal’. At Freewill, we believe the best person who knows about your needs is indeed you. That's why we work towards meeting the user's expectations in a realistic manner.
You have directed to launch Freewill directly into an online platform, without going brick and mortar first.
Online platform helps you cut unnecessary sales channel and pass on the benefit to our consumer along with the wide reach and accessibility it provides. Many brands spend 30-40 per cent of their margin on their sales channel, and the entire money is then added to the product price. We, on the other hand, are able to sell directly to our consumers at a very affordable price.
Please talk about the increasing need for personalisation of beauty products
Since our launch, we have shipped more than a few hundred products and no two products are the same, given that our hair needs and goals are different. Beauty companies currently sell generic products because they mass produce with the assumption that the population falls under three-four broad categories. At Freewill, we study and identify customer needs. For example, Freewill creates combinations like 'anti-dandruff, thermal protection and more volume' or 'damage repair, UV protection, and hydration'; combination products as these are rare to find.
Personalisation is everywhere, and that's the future. E-commerce companies showcase products that are suitable for you based on past buying behaviour; media companies and streaming services suggest movies and shows based on past viewing patterns, health companies are creating personalised products too. AI and machine learning are enhancing the experience and making it possible to offer something that's truly valuable to the end user.