BeautyNewsNYC had the opportunity to speak to Nava and Tamar, co-founders of recurrent, on their backgrounds, company, and their partnership with Hope & Comfort.
Tell us a little about yourselves and your backgrounds:
Tamar Rosenthal is co-founder and former CEO of Dapple Baby, a company focusing on safer products for homes with babies. She is a mother of five, three of whom are teens.
Nava Unterman Ulmer is a writing and communications expert, former college professor, and experienced in leadership and professional development. She is a mother of two.
What is recurrent? How and why did you get involved?
Nava: recurrent is a line of non-toxic, effective, eco-conscious skin and hair products designed for young adults, delivered straight to their doors. We set out to create an innovative new line of products that young adults can feel good about using, knowing that what goes on their bodies also goes into their bodies.
Tamar: As I saw my own teens’ embarrassment about basic hygiene questions and needs, Nava and I started discussing what’s out there. Questions came up like, “Why is asking for basic hygiene products so mortifying for teens?” and “What products are out there that are specifically designed for young adults?”
We quickly realized there are no products that really represent Gen Z needs – and that’s contributing to the stigma around hygiene and body changes. If we ignore their needs, they’re never going to feel comfortable in their own skin.
Nava: The hygiene category for teens has been outdated for literally decades now. We saw a huge gap in the market and knew a solution couldn’t wait. We had to do something – fast.
How has the pandemic impacted your business?
Nava: We launched recurrent during COVID-19, and although we are an e-commerce company, we had big plans to spread the word about recurrent through in-person experiences and opportunities – all of which had to be significantly postponed due to the pandemic. We’re also finding that although young adults historically have loved being online, during the isolation period, and having school via Zoom, they’re getting device burnout.
Tamar: We had to think really creatively about how to reach them when in-person connections, as well as online exposure, could be potentially limited.
What is the role that teens and young adults play in your company?
Tamar: It was extremely important for us to create a company for young adults by young adults. We run an ambassador program to allow feedback from actual teens to inform decisions about the product line and educational resources provided. The program is ongoing to ensure we’re continuing to meet the needs of teens.
Nava: The daily grind that runs the company is driven by teens, which is another unique element to what we’re doing at recurrent. We have a high school student managing research and outreach; our blog is curated, researched, and written by college students; a recent college grad runs our social media accounts. Teens are an integral part of running the company every day. It’s exciting to tap into their creativity and innovation as we fill this gap in the market for their demographic.
Talk to us about your partnership with Hope & Comfort:
Nava: The goal of our partnership with Hope & Comfort is to combat hygiene insecurity. Hygiene insecurity is the inability to regularly access and/or afford basic hygiene products for everyday use such as soap, shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, and toothbrushes. There are hundreds of thousands of young adults under the age of 18 who are experiencing hygiene insecurity. SNAP benefits (formerly known as ‘food stamps’) do not cover any basic hygiene products. In fact, there is no widespread local, state, or federal ‘safety net’ program that provides essential hygiene products to youth in need.
It is a non-negotiable to help combat this hygiene poverty nationwide and give ALL young adults confidence by supporting them during the most awkward stage of their lives.
Tamar: It’s an extremely important part of our business, not just because it’s important to us to give back, but because the mission behind the products they use is extremely important to Gen Z.
We want teens to be able to do their part to address the hygiene insecurity among their peer group, and they can do just that when they use recurrent. For every 10 boxes of recurrent we sell, we donate 1 box to someone in need.
What are your hopes for recurrent, now and in the future?
Tamar: Our hopes for recurrent… they are high! Our goal is for recurrent to become a staple in every household raising teens, that we become synonymous with teen hygiene– both products and education.
Nava: Our company is built on seven pillars, and at every inflection point of recurrent’s growth, we check in to make sure we are meeting each one of the pillars: Relatability to Gen Z, product efficacy, sustainability, education, clean ingredients, teen community and working towards ending hygiene poverty.