U. of Utah Student Launches Hair Products in Target Nationwide

A University of Utah student startup powered by girls, SadieB Personal Care is launching eight hair shampoos and conditioners in 507 Target stores and the Target website starting this week.

Co-founder and CEO Sadie Bowler is pursuing a marketing degree at the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business. She began working on SadieB with her sister Abby when she was a junior in high school when her passion for hair merged with a growing consciousness of the damage being done by the messaging in the beauty industry. During her freshman year of college, she launched the company with 16 products – including shampoos, conditioners, body washes and body sprays – with support from the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, a top-10-ranked entrepreneurship program at the University of Utah.

“Having our products in Target feels unreal,” Bowler said. “This is exactly what our vision was, and the fact that it happened so quickly is blowing our minds. We hope that we can show girls that they are capable of anything and that lifting up women is so powerful. That is evident through our story, and we are thrilled to have our product and message so accessible to girls.”

On a camping trip, Bowler and her sister imagined a brand that was made to meet the needs of girls and support their lifestyles and interests rather than focusing on the way they look. They had the idea for the Adventurer line, one of the four product lines that would eventually make up SadieB.

Months passed, and she kept thinking about the idea.

“My dad is an entrepreneur, so he is always asking questions and pushing us to creatively solve problems,” Bowler said. “I remember vividly sitting at my kitchen counter with Abby, and my dad asked us, ‘So do you want to do this?’”

With help from her family, the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, and the University of Utah, Bowler decided to pursue her idea. She received office space at Lassonde Studios through the Company Launch program, coaching and a peer network in the Lassonde Founders residential scholarship program, and she has had opportunities to advertise at events around campus.

All students at the University of Utah are welcome to participate in many programs offered by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, including everything from workshops and makerspace to the Lassonde Studios residential community. The institute also offers Lassonde for Life, a program for all alumni of the University of Utah, and the unique Master of Business Creation program for graduates who want personal support to grow a business.

“SadieB is a great example of what students can accomplish as entrepreneurs at the University of Utah,” said Troy D’Ambrosio, executive director of the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute and an assistant dean at the Eccles School. “She went from an idea to launching her product in stores across the country in only a few years. We look forward to seeing her company continue to grow and all the great things Sadie will accomplish in her career.”

SadieB Personal Care sells shampoos, conditioners, body washes and body sprays.

SadieB has an approach to product creation that they call “Girl Care” – a combination of physical hygiene and mental hygiene, with a focus on functional benefits that encourage personal development and uplift girls. The company is a public benefit corporation and is in the process of getting B Corp certification for its social and environmental impact. Their products are salon quality with clean, safe and natural ingredients.

To keep girls’ voices at the center of their company, SadieB has a Girl Advisory Board that consults on product development, social media, brand messaging and more. The company has also partnered with Girl Up — a movement to advance girls’ skills, rights and opportunities to be leaders — and is supporting them as they launch new mental health education and resources.

Bowler spent three years building the brand and perfecting product formulations before launching in May 2022. Only one year later, the opportunity to get their products in Target came more quickly than she anticipated.

In March 2023, Bowler and her sister met Cherie Hoeger, founder of Saalt, at an event for female founders. They admired her brand and its strong social impact focus and were excited to introduce themselves. They sent products to her and her five daughters.

About a week later, Bowler received an email from Hoeger with a photo of her daughters holding the product and a caption telling her to connect with Hoeger’s Target broker. With her help, Bowler created a presentation and met with the Target buyer.

“The call went super well,” Bowler said. “Then, it was radio silence. Two months later, a 15-minute call with the Target buyer popped up on our calendars. Abby and I felt this was just enough time for him to tell us no.”

That wasn’t the case – their product would be in over 500 Target stores less than a year later, with the buyer expressing that SadieB would be filling a white space for Target as the only brand in the haircare space specifically for GenZ girls.

“Being immersed in the beauty industry at such a young age made it clear to me that messages telling me that I need to look a certain way to be considered ‘good enough’ took a toll on my mental health,” Bowler said. “I have struggled with anxiety like so many girls my age and recognizing the need to focus on my personal development has changed everything for me.”

Bowler hopes that SadieB will become the number one personal-care brand for girls. She also wants to make a real difference in the mental health crisis girls are facing by providing resources and actionable steps for preventative mental health care.

“Every day, I have to consciously decide to be kind to myself, let myself make mistakes, learn quickly and take care of my mental hygiene,” Bowler said. “I need the SadieB message just as much as any other girl.”

Learn more about SadieB at sadieb.co, and view their products on the Target website here.

Sadie Bowler (pictured) is the co-founder and CEO of SadieB. She is a marketing major at the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business.

About the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute

The Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute is a nationally ranked hub for student entrepreneurship and innovation at the University of Utah and an interdisciplinary division of the David Eccles School of Business. The first programs were offered in 2001, through the vision and support of Pierre Lassonde, an alumnus of the Eccles School and successful mining entrepreneur. The institute now provides opportunities for thousands of students to learn about entrepreneurship and innovation. Programs include workshops, networking events, business-plan competitions, startup support, innovation programs, graduate seminars, scholarships, community outreach and more. All programs are open to students from any academic major or background. The Lassonde Institute also manages Lassonde Studios, a five-story innovation space and housing facility for all students. Learn more at lassonde.utah.edu.

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