Indie Beauty Profile

Donna Pohlad, dpHUE

By …as told to Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

Indie Beauty Profile Donna Pohlad dpHUE
In her Indie Beauty Profile, Donna Pohlad, founder and CEO of the at-home hair color brand dpHUE has a single word of advice for her beauty brand founding counterparts and her full remarks here illustrate nicely how she herself has taken that wisdom to heart.

At-home hair color has long needed an update and several brands are jockeying for market share in the category just now. As Cosmetics Design reported last month in this Trend Spotting piece​, both startups and legacy brands are launching new products and reimaging this space in an effort to connect with disenchanted hair color consumers of every age. Donna Pohlad’s dpHue is a leading player in the next-generation hair dye and color care products space.

Here, the beauty entrepreneur shares a profile of herself and the brand.

Name:​ Donna Pohlad, Founder and CEO

Indie Beauty Company: ​dpHUE

Launched: ​2011

Headquarters:​ Minneapolis, Minnesota

Cash flow:​ We are a private company and don't provide financials but it was certainly a milestone when we entered full distribution in ULTA about a year ago.

Team work:​ 16 dedicated employees


Distribution:​ Nationally, dpHue is distributed through our own e-commerce site dpHUE.com as well as at all Ulta Beauty retail locations, Ulta.com, Sephora.com, Dermstore.com, and HSN. dpHUE products are also available at dpHUE’s flagship location in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Years in beauty:​ 6

Years at dpHue: ​I have been leading and growing dpHUE since we opened our flagship in 2011.

Entrepreneurial experience: ​While I was new to beauty, dpHUE was not my first entrepreneurial venture. I enjoy identifying services, products or offerings that I [have] felt were missing in a market. I was ten years ahead of the mid-2000’s kickboxing trend with a studio in Minneapolis in the mid 90’s, and later channeled my passion for art working with a gallery to introduce collectors to the world of contemporary art at the trend’s inception.

With dpHUE, I really approached it from the perspective of the consumer. Women pay hundreds of dollars to get their hair colored and highlighted in a salon, and we need products that make our hair look amazing between salon visits. That’s when I started my company and later teamed up with Justin Anderson to build dpHUE.

The business: ​dpHUE creates and sells products that are designed to help maintain fresh hair color between salon visits.  Our Apple Cider Vinegar products have a color locking technology that seals in color to fight the fade and enhance the shine. Our Gloss+ line is a deep conditioning formula with semi-permanent hair color to revitalize the highlights and color. Our shampoos and conditioners are all expertly formulated specifically for colored hair and our root touch up kits give consumers control over grey and dark roots.

The wow-factor: ​Other products in the market only dabble in colored hair, they tend to be salon lines that offer color care products that only do half the job. dpHUE understands that women all have different needs when it comes to coloring their hair. Some color their hair for fashion, others for gray coverage, but regardless everyone faces the same issues when they are stuck in between coloring or salon appointments. dpHUE is all about that time. We help maintain fresh hair color with salon quality products to use at home for gorgeous hair color, every day.

The customer: ​From the Millennial with the best Balayage, Blorange, or Ombre to her mom and grandmother, dpHUE’s target consumer is anyone who colors their hair in a salon and experiences the same frustrations as their hair color fades or changes between appointments.

Milestone moment: ​Our chief experience officer, Justin Anderson, is a celebrity colorist in Los Angeles. We recently launched dpHUE House in West Hollywood, which is a brand experience space and content studio. Justin started inviting his clients and social media influencers to the space about a month ago and we are quickly seeing our awareness grow via Instagram. So far, we have hosted Leighton Meester, Rita Ora, and Chelsea Handler, and influencers Chriselle, Nikki deRoast, and many more.

Advice for fellow indie beauty entrepreneurs:​ Focus. It’s so easy to get distracted chasing opportunities that may not fit your mission and you end up taking your eye off what’s really important to your business. Stick to who you are!

Just one: ​Asked about her go-to product, Pohlad says, it’s our own ACV Hair Rinse, featuring apple cider vinegar. It’s the holy grail when I want to cleanse but need to skip a shampoo.

Related topics: Brand Innovation, Hair Care

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