Seventh grade is reminiscent of braces, study hall whispers, and the best attempt at flirting I could muster while hiding my flushed face from a boy next to my locker. For Laura Schubert and Lillian Tung, 7th grade was the beginning of a business partnership.
The Co-Founders of Fur—the brand exclusively focused on intimate hair care—have literally grown up side by side, attending grade school, college, and grad school together before deciding to start a company. When Laura came up with the first lab sample of Fur, she knew who she wanted as her partner: “We often joke Fur is our first child.” When Fur first came into fruition, “people genuinely couldn’t believe this was a viable business idea,” said Schubert; “I was calling chemists in 2014, and people would hang up because they thought it was a prank call.”
Image courtesy of Fur
I remember seeing an ad from Harper’s Bazaar in the 1920s that stated, “the fastidious woman today must have immaculate underarms if she is to be unembarrassed.” The attitude towards women’s body hair has been historically precarious, much more so within the context of pubic hair. The ethos of Fur seeks to undermine this stigma by providing options in tandem with education: both ingrown concentrate for those who choose to shave, and/or oils for those who groom their pubic locks; provided in tandem with information. In other words, Fur promotes grooming your vulva how you so choose; an effort that prevents polarization and brings together a community of individuals with vulvas who can feel accepted regardless of their choices. The point is that there is no one way of grooming; it’s inclusivity embedded in the DNA of the brand and product execution.
When I asked Tung and Schubert why they took this judgment-free route, they were quite clear on their aversion to a “bush is back” campaign. “[We wanted to] encourage exploration, [not preach] that hair removal is the end-all, be all,” Schubert said. “In reality, these types of binaries actually further the shame women feel around their body hair.”
Fur has constructed their community intentionally, without falling into the laundry list of brands who have adopted feminist lingo to reach a certain profitable audience. Long before banks participated in PRIDE or corporate responsibility became “cool,” Fur was shaping a movement, rather than a trend.
According to Schubert, “our language isn’t coopted just to cash in on what people believe is a fad.” This is why their site aims to educate across levels of grooming. Perhaps you’re in 8th grade shaving your vulva for the first time with absolutely no idea what to do beyond your razor in hand; or, maybe you’re a 30-something in New York who has stopped obsessing over the whims of a pubescent-like presentation and would like to give your hair a chance to grow and be loved. Regardless, Fur has created a product and space for you.
“Fur is just as much a source of education,” say the Co-Founders. In an age where self-care is seemingly part of every ad campaign or message you see, we still have not quite mastered how to discuss intimate hair care with women. Nowadays, “people wouldn’t wash their face with body soap, but they would shave their pubic hair against the grain… [without] anything to soothe their skin afterward.” If we’re going to talk wellness, we need brands like Fur that give a holistic picture of what parts of our body are being ignored.
Image courtesy of Fur
In a new wave of liberation—one where vibrators are openly discussed and the refusal of archaic customs is “posh”—where does a company like Fur fit in? By integrating pubic hair care into the larger care routine discourse, Fur is expanding the self-care vernacular. Otherwise, the co-founders are continuously proactive in their aversion to gendered language that is often “bread and butter for ‘cool girl’ brands; terms like ‘girl boss’ or other female-centric vocabulary alienate our fanbase, as well as reinforce binaries that exist in the beauty space.” Fur’s marketing efforts are rooted in respect for a diversity of choices, education on stigmatized subjects, and building a community that they will underline was grown from nothing.
As they discuss what’s next for Fur, the two have nothing but high hopes. Their newest product, inspired by the bath beads of the 90s (now vegan), is, for Schubert and Tung, “the natural next step” in focusing on “an extension of the Fur… ritual.” With a brand based in empowerment by action and options, these two partners have really made their 7th grade selves proud.