59 - Megan Streeter, Prose

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This is a podcast episode titled, 59 - Megan Streeter, Prose. The summary for this episode is: <p>In Ep. 59 of Earned, Conor sits down with Megan Streeter, CMO of customizable haircare brand Prose, which achieved $100 million in revenue in its first five years. To start the episode, Megan unpacks her long career in the beauty industry, which spans from corporate giants L'Oréal and Estée Lauder to independent, direct-to-consumer haircare brands like DevaCurl and now Prose. We learn why Megan was interested in working in the haircare space, and what Prose has taught her about not only haircare, but also DTC strategy and distribution, product personalization, and digital tech. Megan then explains how Prose’s mission to deliver personalized products that addressed people’s unique needs attracted her to the brand, and how its product customization helps Prose build one-on-one, sustainable relationships with its consumers. Next, Megan shares why it was important to her to start investing in influencers early on, and how her influencer marketing philosophies have evolved over time, before ending the show by revealing the characteristics that she thinks make for a good CMO.</p>

Voiceover: Explore the minds and marketing strategies behind today's winning brands and businesses. Tap into the Power of the Creator economy with Earned by CreatorIQ. Here's Conor Begley.

Conor Begley: Hi, everybody and welcome to Earned. Today, we have the esteemed Megan Streeter, the CMO at Prose Hair Care, and I am pumped to have you. Welcome to this show, Megan.

Megan Streeter: Thanks, Conor. Excited to be here.

Conor Begley: Megan, I didn't realize how long we had known each other until I started prepping for this interview. We go back like almost eight years now, which is pretty cool.

Megan Streeter: It's been a while. It's been good. I remember the first days that we were together in a conference room in New York chatting all things social for DevaCurl.

Conor Begley: Yeah, that's crazy. Well, for those that don't know Megan, let's talk about it. You've been 19 years marketing the beauty category across some of the largest players. That's L'Oreal, Estée, Avon. And then more recently you moved to the indie brand side with two super hot indie brands, so DevaCurl and Prose. At both of those, I think, you took over$ 100 million in sales. DevaCurl got acquired and then acquired again by a strategic Henkel. And then obviously, again, Prose is growing very quickly. I think if we were to talk about kind of influencers, I think you were one of the earliest investors and influencers. Since you've come on, it's been fun to watch Prose rapidly rise up the ranking. 68% year over year growth, up 21 slots to number 54. You passed some really killer brands. I think you passed your key competitor Function of Beauty, SexyHair, TRESemmé, Pantene, only a few spots behind L'Oreal Paris, which I hear they're a pretty big company. Nice work. It's super impressive what you have accomplished.

Megan Streeter: Thank you. I appreciate it. I mean, we're in good company with some of those brands. It's been an exciting trajectory. We've a lot still to do. We're obviously trying to get in that top 10, the elusive top 10 tribe. But yeah, it's been a good run so far.

Conor Begley: It's funny how much that's become a thing. But actually before we get into, I want to get into your background stuff, but I kind of want to ask you more of a current topic. There's a lot of disruption that's happening in the social media space, both from an advertising perspective with the iOS changes, as well as from an influencer perspective as you look at a lot more content being created on TikTok, but a lot less branded content because branded content doesn't do as well on TikTok. I know last night at dinner we're with a bunch of executives and like, oh yeah, we just aren't seeing the same return on investment that we saw specifically within the kind of Facebook ecosystem. What are you seeing? What's happening? What's the latest? What's working for Prose? What's not?

Megan Streeter: First of all, Prose has been around now for five years, which is incredible. We have our five year mark coming up next month. There's been a lot of change since I think with iOS, with Meta. Also, the differentiation between organic and paid and where you're getting the best ROI. And ultimately, what we're seeing in terms of success is a blend of both. Obviously paid is going to continue to be where a majority of our investment is put in, but we're also seeing that playing field change a lot, obviously with players like TikTok coming in and having both great success both on the paid and the organic side. But when it comes to influencers and it comes to content, that's also not going away. I think as you think about what's changed over the last five years, I think influencers was always part of your media mix, but it wasn't as I would say such a big piece of the pie that's continuing now. It's somewhere that we're going to continue to invest. It's something that we're continuing to test and learn. Especially for Prose where it's all about personalization, finding the right synergy between who we're able to represent through an influencer or in a partnership and creating that authentic relationship is becoming more and more important for us.

Conor Begley: If the slice of the pie is getting bigger for influencers, where is that pie coming from? What's getting smaller?

Megan Streeter: We're always constantly testing and learning, right? We're always looking from upper funnel all the way through. Where we're seeing in terms of how the pie is shifting is we're just looking at different mediums. I think where maybe Meta is our number one partner as of today will continue to be. That's going to be a staple. I think where there's a new landscape that's also coming out is also OTT. There's a lot of untapped opportunity there. And then when it comes to where the pie is getting smaller, I mean, I think some of the other efforts that we've done from an organic standpoint were just more choiceful. It's just finding the balance between the two.

Conor Begley: That makes sense. For those that don't know what OTT means that aren't CMOs, maybe describe that for them. What is it?

Megan Streeter: Net- net digital video, as simple as possible. Over the top, but digital video. Very simply said.

Conor Begley: Yeah, for sure. Okay, cool. Okay, well, let's take a step back. Talked about that a little bit. We'll revisit it a little bit more later, but I want to talk about your career, how you got here, right? When I think about people that listen to this, I think that there's a group of people like yourself very sophisticated, know what they're doing, know where they're going, and obviously they want to learn from their peers. But I think there's a lot of people that want to follow the same path that you went on, right? Because I think that for you, you became an SVP CMO very, very early in your career, much earlier than most people do. For you, talk to me a little bit about that journey. How did you get there? What were some of the things that you learned? Would you recommend a similar path in terms of you went through some of the more strategic players like L'Oreal, Estée early on as kind of a finishing school? Talk about that early part of your career.

Megan Streeter: Sure. Yeah, it's funny, all of a sudden, when you say 19 years, it's been quite a while. I still am young, but it's been a while. No, but in all seriousness, my career fundamentally started with L'Oreal, moved to Estée Lauder, went to Avon. When I think back to those years, they were great training grounds. It's where obviously, at least I believe, I learned and honed my skills when it came to marketing. But there was a certain inflection point that I remember with Avon and I was like, I think it's time to try something new and I think it's time to do something different. There was just also a point where as much as I enjoyed working in the corporate world, I wanted something more entrepreneurial. At that time, the acquisitions weren't as I would say quickly happening within the corporate world. For me, it was a natural transition to look at a smaller company, be able to be part of something that I'd be able to build and grow with, be able to test and learn a lot more easily, I would say. And then also be able to understand how do you run an independent company, like a private, independently run company, from the ground up. And that's what I was really looking for at that time. Both DevaCurl gave me that opportunity and I also say here at Prose, because they're totally two different profiles. It's interesting. I would say in retrospect now, very classic trajectory of going from big corporate, doing global, US, different categories, now going to more smaller PE/ VC backed. I had an amazing career and I'm very fortunate. I think probably if I was someone in my shoes today, I'd probably go more the entrepreneurial route right away. I think you can learn a lot in terms of being agile and adapting. I think the marketplace is changing so much. That being said, there are so many fundamental skills that I got from Avon or from L'Oreal that I probably wouldn't have been able to hone. It's a hard decision to make when you're early in your career. But if there's an amazing brand that you love that has a mission that is meaningful to you and you think you can grow with that company, that's where I would start first. And that could be big or that could be small. It just really depends on the opportunity.

Conor Begley: Well, I think in a lot of ways, the dynamics around brand creation have changed a lot today versus the past. Now you can set up an e- comm store on Shopify and white label some products or private label some products and you can get going fairly quickly. There's unlimited shelf space on the internet, right? That's just led to an explosion in indie brands and a lot of value and learnings there. I know that 19 years sounds like a long time ago.

Megan Streeter: It does.

Conor Begley: If you look at me, I think I'm 14 years, so I'm not too far behind. I remember I was at a wedding recently and all the young people were getting together and planning their night out after. Nobody consulted me. Nobody asked me to join.

Megan Streeter: Is Conor ready? Is he going to come out?

Conor Begley: I'm not in that group anymore. I'm not far behind you. Very cool. Talk to me a little bit about your first 11 years were focused on skincare, makeup, fragrance, and then it was interesting to me that the first brand you jump into is a hair care brand, which is a very different category. Not a category, at least based on what I can tell, one you had marketed to in the past. And then obviously you've stuck with that, right, with Prose. What made you decide to jump into hair care? And then what do you think is different having marketed now skincare, makeup, fragrance and hair care, what do you think are the differences across those categories in terms of how you do it?

Megan Streeter: Yes. Interestingly, I didn't really think I was going to get into hair care, to be very honest. But what I loved about the DevaCurl brand was not only were they trying to solve a problem for curly hair people, but also the passion that came behind it with the stylist. For me, through my career, I think one thing that I've always tried to do is no matter where I go, I try to learn something new. With DevaCurl, there was a few things I'd be learning. One was haircare, because I never had marketed that. Two, I didn't know the stylist community at all. It was a totally new distribution channel. And then three, anytime you kind of go to a company or you're looking at a brand, it's like the product actually worked. I just remember when I was originally doing my research, I had asked around all my... Because I have straight hair, so I'm not your typical curly hair customer or user. But I remember asking a bunch of people just saying," Do use DevaCurl? Tell me about it. What was your experience?" Through and through, every single person said they absolutely love the product. I think as a marketer, that's kind of the special sauce and it's what keeps people engaged. It's what keeps converting them and coming back. It's what interested me because I knew that there was something there to build while being able to learn something completely new. Now, when it comes to Prose, I truthfully did not think my next step would be staying in hair care. Totally not. I was like," I'm good. I learned hair care. Very important. Awesome. We should try something new." But what I hadn't learned or what I would considered master, and I'm still learning every day, is around the D2C space. For me, that's what really attracted me to come to Prose. I remember when I sat down with our CEO and the co- founder, Arnaud and Paul and Nico, what they had built to me was absolutely extraordinary. And yes, it was about beauty, and yes, it was about customization and obviously haircare is at the forefront of where we are, but I think it was also everything behind that they built from a proprietary standpoint that really struck me as something very unique. Specifically when it came to personalization, that's what really kind of drew me to Prose, because I had not seen any other brand out there today, and we will consider ourselves the leader when it comes to personalization, being able to legitimately create a major order product and that is able to exceed expectations. For me, Prose was really incredible. It wasn't necessarily about hair care, it was more about the D2C aspect, personalization, the digital tech and this very data driven approach that they had created in a very short period of time. I mean, the company has grown in over five years to$ 100 million and we're on a great trajectory. It's been incredible.

Conor Begley: I wish it only took us five years to get that mark. Tell me a little bit about some of the learnings there within those two things. What was it coming in, having kind of background that is mostly retail focused, right? What have you learned about direct to consumer that was surprising over the last year or last couple of years? And then as well, what have you learned? I mean, I can't imagine what it's like to create custom products for every customer. That sounds like a disaster or at least very hard. Talk to me about those two things. What are the challenges associated with those channels or those problems?

Megan Streeter: Yeah. I would say what's been interesting is the playbook that you know is not the playbook that you can actually bring to a specific d D2C company. I think what I've learned over the course has been definitely around performance marketing obviously, going from retail to performance marketing driven. I think also just the digital product experience is really critical and key to how you're going to convert and engage and keep them coming back. We have an incredible, I would say, digital product and tech team that has really been able to hone into that. I think that in itself has been a tremendous amount of learning. It's the art and the science, right? That's what's here as well is there's the art of marketing that has to come and tell the story. There's the science and the algorithm and the data driven approach that really has been something that is one of our advantages when it comes to Prose, but also has been a great learning. How you integrate that in terms of creating a really true vision for what should the company be, how should the brand look and feel, and also engage has been definitely something different. How do you continue to evolve? I mean, I think that's the other thing with retail, you launch, you try to iterate, but typically you launch and leave and you try to sustain as best as possible. When it comes to D2C, you're constantly iterating. You're constantly optimizing. You're constantly learning. I think that's a real shift in terms of approach, but that also makes you that much more nimble and be able to adapt to what's going in the marketplace. I think that's been a key difference. When it comes to challenges, yes, of course, making a single product for a single use for a single person is very challenging, but it's honestly what drew me to it, because Arnaud's vision with Nico and Paul was to kind of change the beauty industry, to flip it on its head in a way. Instead of creating all these mass products and just putting it on shelf and it's sitting there, rather really thinking about that's not very sustainable. It's not good for the climate. It's not good for the earth, good for the climate. Instead being like, how do we actually deliver what someone wants and how do we do it very thoughtfully and how do we do it in such a way that's economical and makes sense from a business standpoint? They have been able to crack the code, which has been incredible and very different from what you see out there today with other brands.

Conor Begley: That makes sense. I think it aligns with where consumer values are going, which is good. And then on the D2C side of things, the thing that I found that's really powerful is how fast you can close the feedback loop, right? I remember one of the things that I thought was just the most fascinating approach was Moiz Ali, who's the founder of Native Deodorant, and they launched Native Deodorant and I think they said they did 24 different formulations in the first 18 months. What they would do is they would actually sell under the same label, so you'd buy a product, but they'd actually sell you two different types. They have a small difference in terms of product ingredients, and then they would track repurchase rates based on after that. Because they were doing it all direct to consumer, they could see that very clearly, and then that allowed them to go from I think it was a 20% repurchase rate within X period of time to 40%, and then kept driving that up. It's like, well now that means every customer you're acquiring is worth twice as much, because they're purchasing it twice the rate. It's a really cool part of the direct to consumer experience that you don't get with retail.

Megan Streeter: What I would say too, for us, which makes us unique, obviously we have a subscription model. That also in terms of repeat order and bringing the customer back. But we also have an interesting feature called Review and Refine, which allows the customer after the first order to be able to tell us what worked, what didn't work, how do we need to modify, where did we hit five stars, where are we one star, right? So that as they get their next order, we're ensuring that we're able to address whatever their concerns. And then through their hair care journey over time, we're also able to address if things have changed within their profile. If someone has moved, for instance, climate has a major impact in terms of how your hair is. Is it dry? Humidity. Or have your diet has changed in such a way or physically in terms of if you're going through menopause, for instance. With having that relationship and that one- on- one relationship with our consumer, that allows us to really truly tailor the product to their needs and then it also creates that relationship that keeps having them come back. It's been a very unique, going back to what you were saying, is that closing that loop that allows us to keep the loop not closing, but secure and keep moving so that we can continue to evolve.

Conor Begley: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, that's the beauty of most software businesses are subscription businesses as well. It keeps you honest, right? You have to keep delivering value, otherwise people aren't going to keep paying you. It's a very easy way to know whether they're finding the value or not quickly.

Megan Streeter: Yep, absolutely.

Conor Begley: Going back to this concept that we met very early, both in terms of Tribe was only just a few years old and you know were at DevaCurl at that time, and you guys made the decision, I think, to invest in the influencer space and the social media space at a time when it wasn't necessarily as obvious that everybody was putting or at least the size of the budgets that people were putting towards it. What were those early signals that you're like," I think this is really important. This is something that we should start investing in now," even though it's not necessarily as in vogue as it is say eight years ago today?

Megan Streeter: Back then, I think what we learned was we were trying to create a community of advocates and loyalists, right? The curly community is a very vocal community. We understood that there was definitely something there to tap into. Our approach I would say was a bit different, especially back with DevaCurl, was where we started on really building relationships more at the micro level. We didn't really jump to the macro level. We thought that the best way to create advocacy, create authenticity, really long lasting relationships was to start smaller and build. What we started to see was just the referrals. We started to get signals that this was working and moving in the right direction, not only from a social perspective, but obviously a referral perspective and purchases. What was really helpful back then, even when you guys were still young, is there was no way to measure, right? This was the key thing. How do we actually measure this? Because everyone wants to know how much is being spent, where is it going to, what ROI? I remember with Tribe, we were like, oh, finally there's a platform that we can work with. We needed that right to justify the fact that we wanted to put this investment, because it was new territory back then and now it's established territory, but it helped prove and kind of create success cases as to why should we invest, where should we invest, how should we invest, and allow us to continue to build that as we were moving on. I think over time it was a build. It definitely was a test and learn and a build, but it became an integral part of our strategy, not only from a consumer perspective, but also stylist perspective. I think back then there wasn't as much diversification as there is now today when you think about content or you think about talent or you think about what's really resonating. I think through Tribe, it's helped us even here at Prose to understand what makes most sense, where do we really resonate with our community, how do we actually create the impact that we need, and what's the right level of investment?

Conor Begley: Well, I wasn't fishing for compliments, but I appreciate that. Let's talk about, again, lots changed since 2015, and we hit on this a little bit earlier, but how would you say the approaches of Prose today differ from say where you were in the early stages at DevaCurl?

Megan Streeter: I would say the big difference is probably five years back, it was all organic relationships typically. It wasn't as paid to play, or it wasn't perceived well back then. I think there was definitely a difference when it came to how are you investing within your influencers. Now it's just part of it. You have organic relationships, you have paid relationships, but you're also much more transparent about that. I think transparency has changed a lot. I also think what I would consider the type of influencers you're engaging with, I think you're much more thoughtful as well. As we think about Prose, we're really trying to understand when it comes to... Being a personalized hair care company, you're not just for one person. You're not just for one community. Trying to figure out what that means and how you address that through influencers or through your social content or whatever that is definitely is a shift. We can't be as myopic I think as we were previously. We definitely have to have more diversity. And then also I think across platforms, the platforms have changed so much over the last five, six years. The explosion of TikTok, as we all know. Now there's BeReal. I mean, it's just constantly... Snapchat was the hottest thing ever. I think also where you're playing with your influencers or partnering with your influencers has also changed a lot. And then I also think the partnerships, what does the influencer expect from the brand and what does the brand expect from the influencer has to be synergistic. I think there's just a lot of things have evolved over time and in a good way in terms of how to help support one another in each other's journeys.

Conor Begley: I mean, that's certainly a shift that we've seen from the early days of pure organic to more of a blended approach. The reality is that people are now starting to make it a career, right? For you, you want to make sure that you're supporting that in the same way you would've supported a publisher in the past. Hey, this is somebody that gets us a lot of coverage. Let's find ways to partner together where they can benefit financially. One of the things that is more of an observation that I've had over the last I'd call it three to six months is there's been this narrative since we started the company that the space is always changing, always changing, always changing, always changing. And then I got into the narrative of like, I don't know, but has it, right? It has, but what I've noticed is the way it changes is different. What do I mean by that? When we first started the company, which is 10 years ago, there was new platforms popping up every day. Snapchat got founded in 2011. Twitch got founded in 2011, which was 11 years ago. Instagram was around 2010, 2011. Facebook and Twitter a few years before that. It felt like, oh my god, there's new platforms all the time, right? What's actually happened is since then, there's almost been no new platforms. The only new platform in the last 10 years is TikTok. That's it. Everybody else that started, dead. Clubhouse, Trailer, whatever, Yik Yak, right? They rise and they fall. But what has changed that I think you hit on is the formats, the type, the shift to video. Within those platforms it is changing constantly, but the platforms themselves don't change, except for TikTok, that's the only one. Even that one, I mean, was founded... Musical. ly I think was founded in 2014. I think it became TikTok in 2016, 2017. Even that one's four or five years old. Anyways, just an observation I've had.

Megan Streeter: Yeah, definitely.

Conor Begley: Let's talk a little bit about Prose and the success you've had since you came in. Again, this was a brand that was doing very well as a company, but I think from an influencer perspective, you passed 21 brands in the last eight months or so. What were the tactics that you came in, very tactic driven that you came in and employed that has led to that success, right? Why are you passing Function of Beauty or TRESemmé or these other brands who are probably trying to do this too, right?

Megan Streeter: I mean, first and foremost, I think we came in and it is.... I feel very humbled to be here because the brand has been so successful. I get to just help push it a little bit further. But when we came in, the observation I had was there was an opportunity to connect the beauty side of it with the tech side and how do you create that synergy between the two and how do you create the heart. As we were thinking about that, there's multiple ways to do that, but one way was thinking about influencers and your brand ambassadors and who can speak on behalf of the brand. Especially thinking about the company being all about personalization, we need to show diversification. And I mean diversification from content. I mean diversification from creators. I mean diversification across the board. As a team, what we had considered was we weren't really building those relationships. I think they were much more leaning towards the paid side and we needed to really start developing more of the authentic relations. Tactically speaking, we started to revisit how are we spending our money when it came between paid and organic. We started to revisit what was our tiering system and who did we want to partner with. We started to think about what were the right creators that really represented Prose. We also started thinking about what formats, to your point, that were most engaging and that would mean a lot, especially when it came to hair. Was it just about tutorials and styles, or was it about something more than that of what the company can offer and what it stands for? And then ultimately, I think what we discovered was that there's such a synergy between paid and organic and they have to work together is that we really brought the team together on it. There was one aligned strategy to help push this forward. I would say between creator diversification, content diversification, and then synergizing the teams is really what's allowed us to kind of step change. We were just been very focused. I think also as we think about... We just brought in a new product, styling gel. It's the first custom styling gel out there in the market, and we hadn't had the opportunity to really express what it meant. One of our big shifts was like, all right, we're going to use influencers to help us with that and help tell the story and help bring that to life, but we're going to do it in an authentic way that's true to this brand and that's true to our values. We've also been pretty prescriptive of who we work with and why. It's led to a really mutual beneficial relationship.

Conor Begley: Yeah, that makes a ton of sense. I think that people tend to over index on the paid side of things just because I think in some ways, digital advertising is great, you can very much get this direct attribution. But in a lot of ways, it makes it so that you don't go to areas that maybe there isn't direct attribution, where it's not as obvious kind of the path to purchase, but where you know it's still really important. It can be very tempting to say,'I'm just going to purely focus on things that are directly attributable," but you actually miss a lot if you're not doing both. There are a lot of people that want to become a CMO at some point, right? I think you got to that role, again, we mentioned earlier, very early in your career, about 12 years in. Very fast to get that kind of C level title at a notable brand. And on top of that, for every CMO that comes in, I would say that for every successful one, there's at least one unsuccessful one. Now you've done it twice in a row, at least, so far. You've gotten in and the brands have done better than before you were involved. What would you say are the characteristics that make a good CMO, number one. And then number two, when you come into a new brand where you don't know the history, you don't know the people, you're still getting to know the product, et cetera, what is your process of immersing yourself in order to be really effective, right? Because you have to understand the market. It's marketing. Talk about those two things for me.

Megan Streeter: What makes a good CMO? That's a great question. I wish I knew that answer a long time ago. I think there's a few things. First and foremost, it's the team that you build. Definitely it's who you surround yourself with. To be very effective, you need to have a strong, diverse leadership team and you need to find people that compliment you. I think that's one of the key things, and that can challenge, so that you're having positive challenges in terms of really figuring out how you're going to move the brand forward and also kind of push you. I think that's the thing. Part of I think being a great CMO is being really curious as well. I would say that both from even as a CMO in terms of a characteristic, but also when you're coming into a new brand, it's all about curiosity. It's all about trying to understand what's working, what's not working, why, kind of getting that second, third layer underneath, to figure out where you need to make an impact or how potentially you could make a positive impact. I think being curious around all facets is super, super important. Because whatever you did in your past, and I think this is a learn that I take really wholeheartedly, is it necessarily going to apply where you are today? I learned a tremendous amount in the last few companies that I was at, but it's all situational. It depends where the company's at. It depends on the team. It depends what you're trying to do. If you come in with a planned agenda, typically you're going to... Not typically, you could fail. I think there's more likelihood is that you could fail. But I think if you come curious, I think it changes kind of not only the mindset of yourself, but the mindset of your team and the people. It creates more openness, I would say, to really unveil where you need to focus. I think the third thing when it comes from a trait perspective is prioritization. There's so many things you can do and we do it every day. I think at the end of the day is you need to be able to prioritize and figure out what is going to make the biggest impact and provide the largest return and probably at the lowest lift, especially with companies where at the stages that I'm coming in, because you're not going to have unlimited resources. You are going to be still actively growing. You're going to be building the plane, flying the plane, changing the engine. You're going to be doing a lot of things at the same time. If you don't have a clear agenda and if you're not prioritized, it will make it very easy to shift gears. I think that's part of the success. I would say team prioritization and being really curious.

Conor Begley: I love that. It's a playbook for a CEO, as well as a CMO, I think in some ways, which is I think the next step for you, which would be fun to watch. I think that I very much align with that. Because I've talked to a lot of people now that have been fairly successful and it's like who you surround yourself with is ultimately how you're going to perform, right? And then on the focus side of things, that's the hardest part. There's so many different things you can do.

Megan Streeter: You'll get pulled in different directions because people have different needs. At the end of the day, you have to be that kind of pillar and that focus to help make it move forward.

Conor Begley: Well, I remember Anastasia during the early days, they hadn't posted a tweet in four years, but they were like we just went all in on Instagram. That was it. That was the only channel we focused on. There's a phrase from a guy named Frank Slootman, who's a software executive. He's the CEO of Snowflake, and he's taken three different companies as CEO to being worth over$ 10 billion. I think Snowflake's like$100 billion and$50 billion something. His phrase is like increase focus, increase impact, or something like that. A reduce scope, increase impact. That just makes a ton of sense. And then the third one, what was it? You said focus team was the third one?

Megan Streeter: What did I say?

Conor Begley: Rewind the tape. It was really good though.

Megan Streeter: I said team. I said prioritization and being curious.

Conor Begley: Yes. On the curious side of things, I mean, I think for us, we found a lot of success in that. That's part of the value of doing this podcast is you just sit down with the CEO of Tula and be like," What are you doing?" And actually you're doing it a little bit differently than other people are doing and I want to know why. For us, a lot of what we've built is talking to a Prose or talking to a Nyx or talking to Rare Beauty is on fire being like," What are you doing? You're doing better than everybody else. Why?" And then try to build around that, because inevitably that's what other people will do. I've definitely had people comment like," I can tell you're genuinely curious in these interviews." I don't have an agenda. I want to know. I'm going to assume I don't know. Let's do one more question and then we'll do kind of a fun end of show question. I think TikTok is a very interesting challenge for many brands. I mentioned it earlier, but obviously hottest social channel in the world right now in terms of growth. It's where the eyeballs are going. But at the same time, we see that branded content is a lot lower on that channel versus say Instagram, because it just doesn't perform as well, right? Because TikTok's goal is to show you the most entertaining content. That's kind of their language. We just did a big tour with them. But obviously branded content isn't generally the most entertaining stuff. What are your thoughts on TikTok as a channel? How are you thinking about investment there? Has it been working? Are you increasing, decreasing? Kind of hit all those things.

Megan Streeter: Sure. TikTok, love TikTok.

Conor Begley: I use it every day. I'm like a big time user of it.

Megan Streeter: Going back to I think you made an earlier statement, certain platforms have disappeared. It doesn't feel like TikTok is going to disappear. Yes. It's staying. With that said, the way in which we've approached it, it's different. It has definitely a blended approach of both organic and paid. On the organic side obviously or more of the brand awareness driver, there's definitely more success there and opportunity. I think on the paid side with the algorithm being still relatively young and still evolving, there's definitely room for it to grow in comparison to other competitors. It is evolving. We think it's an important channel within the mix. We are continuing to test and learn with it, and we continue to test and learn with it because we think it's going to be here for a while. It's figuring out how does it work, figuring out what makes it most successful from a content perspective, diverse creator perspective. But right now it's part of our test and learn plan just to figure it out. But it's definitely something we're focused on. We're keeping a very close eye on it.

Conor Begley: Good. That makes sense. All right, let's do the fun end of show question and then I'll let you get back to the many things that you have going on I'm sure. If you were to start your own brand, what category would it be in and have you thought about this at all generally?

Megan Streeter: That's a great question. I actually got this question before. If I was to start my own brand, I probably would not do something in beauty. I would do something completely different. I've had an amazing run within beauty. That's for right now, but I don't know what I would do. I actually don't know. I have no idea.

Conor Begley: I've thought about the same. The tough part is when you get really good at something, it's like, man, it's hard to walk away from this. If we were to start a new company, would I start a software company in the social media space? I don't know. I know a lot about it. I got a big leg up over other people if I decide to do it, which again, we are all in. We're going to be here for a long time. It's a question you pose, right?

Megan Streeter: It's interesting, after all the categories that I've worked on, I will say the one that is most fun or nearest, I actually love hair. I don't say that because I'm with Prose right now, but I think hair, as I've learned over the years, is just another way of expression. It's playful. It's fun. It's an interesting category. When you add the styles to it, it's a whole nother new world. If I had to play in a category, I may play in hair.

Conor Begley: I dig it. Well, I really appreciate you taking out the time today. I learned a lot. I had a lot of fun. I know I'm excited for the next 19 years of your career, as well as our next eight years of knowing each other. Thanks for taking the time, Megan. This was a lot of fun.

Megan Streeter: Thanks so much. Thanks, Conor.

Conor Begley: All right, bye.

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In Ep. 59 of Earned, Conor sits down with Megan Streeter, CMO of customizable haircare brand Prose, which achieved $100 million in revenue in its first five years. To start the episode, Megan unpacks her long career in the beauty industry, which spans from corporate giants L'Oréal and Estée Lauder to independent, direct-to-consumer haircare brands like DevaCurl and now Prose. We learn why Megan was interested in working in the haircare space, and what Prose has taught her about not only haircare, but also DTC strategy and distribution, product personalization, and digital tech. Megan then explains how Prose’s mission to deliver personalized products that addressed people’s unique needs attracted her to the brand, and how its product customization helps Prose build one-on-one, sustainable relationships with its consumers. Next, Megan shares why it was important to her to start investing in influencers early on, and how her influencer marketing philosophies have evolved over time, before ending the show by revealing the characteristics that she thinks make for a good CMO.