Modern grooming brand Faculty has received an investment from USC Trojan quarterback Caleb Williams. The young athlete is officially a co-owner of the brand and will be included in campaigns, collaborations and revenue partnerships.
The 19-year-old freshman started his college career as an Oklahoma Sooner and took the field as a starting quarterback midway through the season, but in January he transferred to USC.
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Williams is also well known for his grooming habits, which include painting his fingernails, a practice that began with his mother who is a nail technician. He said he’s been around nail art all his life, but started practicing the art after seeing his favorite artists like rappers A$AP Rocky and Lil Yachty get into nail art.
“You know, some people love him, some people hate him,” Williams said. “Anyway, I don’t care. I’ve never been one to care much about what people have to say or think about me. I just do what I feel and if people like it, if they don’t like it, it doesn’t matter. I think everyone should express themselves as they see fit. If the fact that I paint my nails while playing football helps some people feel more confident in expressing themselves, then that’s great.
Faculty co-founder Fenton Jagdeo said Caleb was introduced to his team in late 2021 and the team was interested in the young athlete as they explored the NIL decision. They found a natural connection to nail art, which is the Faculty’s main product offering.
The brand launched its first nail polish and nail stickers in 2020, and the following year received $3 million in seed funding from Esteé Lauder Cos. Inc. and contestants Maisie Williams of the HBO series “Game of Thrones” and multi-platinum recording artist Iann Dior (stylized as iann dior), among others.
The Faculty is also launching its new nail polish colors on Monday: stratus/white, fader/black, terra firma/red, lambert/blue and 303/yellow, as well as new nail stickers and merchandise such as clothing. , socks, a baseball cap and a bottle of water. The polish and new decals are $12.50 and will be available in the US, UK, and Canada.
Additionally, the Faculty has signed on as the exclusive cosmetic partner for the New Orleans-based two-day Buku Music Festival.
“This is the first real test of our power and the dollars Esteé Lauder has entrusted to us,” Jagdeo said. “It dawned on us that direct-to-consumer sales depended on the appearance of retail. We want to own our story as much as possible.
He added of Williams: “For Caleb, when you get him early, you start interacting with his audience. We’re interested in bringing in young athletes, we’re interested in the demo so we can show the comfort of expression. As we start to grow, expect to see product collaborations, expect to see campaigns. We’re still in the early days of the relationship, but expect to see this He mentioned his mental health efforts, so we’re thinking about how we can tie them together.
This partnership is NIL’s latest and one of the first to involve men’s skincare, skincare or personal care. Brands like Head & Shoulders and Gillette have relied on athletes like longtime Pittsburgh Steelers Troy Polamalu and most recently Odell Beckham Jr., who recently invested in oral care brand Moon and joined as an ambassador.
“Football comes across as hyper masculine,” Jagdeo said. “It’s a test of strength that’s pumped with testosterone. The faculty can proliferate in an environment like that with the tension of masculinity and the way the sport evolves. Caleb is great because he’s one of the archetypes par excellence to explain why cosmetics are purely psychological.
Although the new partners won’t be doing a traditional campaign, the Faculty turned to filmmaker Antonio Chicaia to produce a short film titled “Daydream,” featuring everyday activities and hobbies enhanced with nail colors.
“We’re here to make you feel good,” Jagdeo said. “We are here for the new wave of masculinity.”
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