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NaturallyCurly app enables purchasing, advertising for niche audience

July 26, 2011

The Curls on the Go app

Naturally Curly Network is targeting consumers via a commerce-enabled application that lets them buy products for their unruly hair.

The NaturallyCurly Network is a social network for people with wavy, curly or kinky hair. Its new Curls on the Go app enables purchasing and advertising for products by hair type, location as well as local weather conditions and forecasts.

“Advertisers know this is a very targeted audience,” said Crista Bailey, CEO of Naturally Curly, Austin, TX. “If you want to reach an audience that has curly hair and is spending money, then reaching this community via mobile is going to be effective because you have access to them 24/7.”

Tips and solutions is the company’s flagship brand and attracts 700,000 unique monthly visitors. Other sites include, a community for stylists servicing the curly clientele,, an e-commerce site showcasing more than 60 brands and 550 community-vetted products, and, a blog on ethnic hair.

The company launched its first couple set of apps in March, which are focused on delivering content from its discussion boards.

Curls on the Go is more broadly targeted to sell products and provide reviews, weather forecasts and recommendations to all people with curly, wavy or textured hair.

“We developed this as a tool that could be used on a daily basis to help solve problems for this audience related and looking for styles while on the go or traveling,” said Christopher Burkhart, chief marketing officer of NaturallyCurly. “It is a problem-solution and tips oriented application.”

“The goal is to expand the reach of the existing Web site and try to reach new users as well through the app,” he said.

When users first download the app, it asks them several questions about their hair. For future visits, the app will automatically serve up targeted content and ads for a user’s hair type. Even the weather forecast reflects where the user is and what the frizz forecast is for the user’s hair type.

The Curls on the Go app takes a lot of the favorite features and functionality from the Web sites and makes them available to people on the go.

The weather forecasts, for example, are there to help users decide what to pack when they are traveling.

Users can also find stylists who specialize in curly hair by location and client popularity.

Much of the content for the new app is generated by the over 1 million unique visitors the network’s several sites receive every month, including thousands of reviews of products and salons and tips for textured hair care.

Consumers can purchase certain products via the app although this is currently not a mobile optimized experience. Users who are browsing through the over 5,000 product reviews in the app can click through to the e-commerce site for items that NaturallyCurly sells.

“Our goal is to make this a seamless experience down the road and do a mobile-optimized shopping cart,” Mr. Burkhart said.

The free app is available for download from the iTunes App Store or at Curls on the Go for Android will be released later this summer.

Best Fit Mobile, Austin, TX, was the company’s development partner for the app.

Curls on the go
This is an attractive audience to reach for hair care manufacturers because, on average, people with curls buy three hair products per month compared with just one product per month for people with straight hair, according to NaturallyCurly’s research.

Additionally, nearly 50 percent of people with curly hair say they buy and try other products even when they are satisfied with their hair regimen.

Haircare brand L’Oreal Paris is the exclusive sponsor until September. After that, NaturallyCurly will bring in additional advertisers.
Advertisers can reach Curls on the Go users by hair type, by location, by current weather conditions and forecasts, or a combination of these factors.

Since the app can geotarget users by hair type,  advertisers are able to send very specific ads. For example, an ad might be served to a user in Houston, saying “Feeling humid in Houston – here are the recommended products for your hair type.”

“You can do a lot of neat things by having personalize ads that help increase click through rates and allows advertising to more content driven,” Ms. Bailey said. “Users appreciate this because the ads address their specific needs.”

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