Have you ever noticed that most of pubic hair care articles and products are all about hair removal? Messed up, isn’t it?
As a French born-and-bred New York transplant, I experience at least one cliché a day about my species. While some aren’t true [berets, hairy armpits], others are pretty on point [striped shirts, a hairy “flower of life”]. And that’s when, I’m telling you, that Fur, a super-gentle, all-natural hair oil, is the best thing that happened to my “flower of life”—also known as my vagina.
What started as a conversation between two sisters is now your future-favorite provider of everything-down-there grooming. I paid Laura Schubert, co-founder and CEO of Fur, a visit at The Wing Soho to sip coffee and talk pubic hair and entrepreneurship. As the owner of a self-funded, female-run start-up that literally created a new beauty category, Schubert knows a thing or two about getting shit done and disrupting the industry—and breaking taboos along the way.
Where did the idea for Fur come about?
Laura Schubert: “Back in 2014, I was having a conversation with my sister about body hair, specifically pubic hair. If you want to grow your hair out, how do you take care of it? We didn’t have a good answer to that question. So we started googling ‘pubic hair,’ and all we got [were results] about hair removal. We went to all our favorite beauty stores all around the city and there was no product for taking care of your hair.
“From the beginning, Fur has always been about providing options for both women and men. We’re gender neutral. People have body hair. People choose to groom it or not. And we want to create options for people. Whatever they choose to do, we want them to care for themselves with products that are safe and (of course!) effective.
“From the entrepreneurship angle, I started calling chemists that September. And a lot of them hung up on me. They thought I was a weird pervert. But I knew I had something because, three seconds later, they would call me back and say ‘You know what, this isn’t as crazy as it sounds.’ Our chemist, who’s French, understood us from the beginning. It took us a year to formulate. After finding the formulation, we still needed to develop our brand, our tone, and our look and feel; we didn’t want to be a joke. We were launching a new product and category, and we wanted that new category to be taken seriously.”
You basically created a new beauty category. What challenges did you encounter?
LS: “We’ve gotten into a lot of retailers, which is great, but it’s been a Herculean effort. In 2016, when we got in our first retailer, Shen Beauty in Brooklyn, [the cofounder] Jessica [Richards] got us. But larger retailers didn’t understand, and they didn’t know which category to put us in. So we got a lot of ‘no’s’ from a lot of people. But we never really got offended—we were brand new and it is taboo; part of the obstacle was—and still is—making people comfortable having this conversation with their friends or sisters.
And people really have come around. But it’s taken a moment, and it’s taken education. We’re having product knowledge sessions with even the smallest waxing salons that carry Fur products. I get on the phone or video conference with them and explain what it is and how you use it. People talk to estheticians, and I think it’s all about word of mouth, even in today’s digital world.”
Do you feel like pubic hair care is still a taboo?
LS: “It depends where you’re living, right? There are definitely places where people are like ‘Well, this is normal now.’ But that’s definitely not everywhere, though [that awareness] is spreading.”
What advice do you wish you could give to yourself back when you were first starting the Fur journey?
LS: “Oh my gosh, well, I mean, ‘Don’t do it.’ I’m joking! I say that because you don’t know the challenges ahead, but that’s a blessing, right? You never know what’s going to work, so you need to just go for it.”
What are your favorite stores for beauty products?
What is the one piece in your wardrobe that gives you superpowers?
LS: “I’m a big fan of Zero Maria Cornejo. I gravitate towards female designers who I think design for women who are trying to get things done during the day. And I definitely feel like she’s one of them. I have a suit from her that I got like 80% off, five years ago. When I was in corporate America I wore that suit, and when I have a big meeting I still wear it. Her stuff is expensive, but she also was chosen to be the brand ambassador for this year’s Première Vision in New York because of her sustainable creations. I think she gets it.”