‘I stuck to my intuition’: Why the founder of a Gen Alpha-centric deo brand avoids genderless positioning

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

Founder of Neon Goat has her sights set on dominating the market for tween and teen boys. [Neon Goat]
Founder of Neon Goat has her sights set on dominating the market for tween and teen boys. [Neon Goat]

Related tags Deodorant Fragrance Natural ingredients Australia gen alpha

The founder of a Gen Alpha-centric deodorant brand has her sights set on dominating the market for tween and teen boys, which she believes has been sorely overlooked.

One of the golden rules of marketing is that if you “try to appeal to everyone, you end up appealing to no one.”

Jackie Baron, founder of Neon Goat, a natural deodorant brand targeted at tween and teenage boys, is no stranger to this cardinal rule.

Before starting her brand, Baron had experience as an advertising account director at a New York-based global advertising agency.

She told CosmeticsDesign-Asia that one question she gets asked often is about positioning Neon Goat as a genderless brand.

“I’ve been challenged by that question, but I had to stick to my intuition. I realise I might be focusing on a narrower market than if I said anyone and all teenagers can use this. I think it’s just very cool in 2024 to be unisex. But when I put my advertising hat on, what I’ve learnt is that there aren’t many products that can speak to everyone.”

Baron added she had to tap into the tween psyche to understand what would make the product appeal to them and decided that she needed to develop a brand that cater to boys.

“If my daughter uses a product, my sons will say okay I’m not using that. The feedback was from the boys themselves. They don’t want to use a product their sister is using.”

Despite this, the overall branding of Neon Goat is entirely gender-neutral, including the scent.

“The scent is citrusy and very neutral. It’s beautiful and I use the product as well but I’m not going to go out there and say mums use Neon Goat.”

A problem to be solved

Launched just a year ago, Neon Goat was created for tween and teen boys who Baron believes are often overlooked in the market.

“I have two boys and the idea sparked when my eldest was about 10 and he was spraying on one of those deodorants that weren’t meant for someone his age… Even the size of the deodorants wasn’t made for the smaller hands of an eight or nine-year-old. In the end, I created a smaller size that they could use easily.”

After two years in development, Neon Goat launched with two products: a sweat spray and a deodorant.

According to the brand, the products are vegan, cruelty-free, naturally fragranced, and dermatologically tested.

Additionally, they also contain native Australian ingredients such as Kakadu plum and quandong.

“I wanted to support native botanical ingredients and I knew from research that they have various effective properties. And having these botanicals is just part of the values of being Australia-made,” said Baron.

Baron’s ambition is to corner the market on personal care products developed for tween and teenage boys.

“No one is talking to these seven or eight-year-old boys. I also have a daughter and I love shopping with her in Mecca and Sephora, but I would love to buy products for my sons as well. But there’s no shelf or category for them. And trust me when I say boys spend more time in front of the mirrors than their sisters. They love their skin, the love fragrance, exercise… They love it as much as the girls so why aren’t we creating the appropriate products for them?”

The company recently won the Pitch Fest event at the Naturally Good expo in Sydney, where CosmeticsDesign-Asia Editor-in-Chief Gary Scattergood was on the judging panel, along with Ann Cattelan, CEO of the Go Vita Group, and Martine Cooper, CEO at healthylife.

In the next year, the company expects to be launching new products.

“We’re still in the realm of deodorant products but there will be other products in the future. I want to own the tween and teen boy category,” said Baron.

It is also looking to expand in the retail space, which Baron believes will be crucial.

She added that she has observed growing opportunities for more premium brands in channels like supermarkets as education and awareness about ingredient quality continue to increase.

Beyond that, Baron has her eye on overseas markets.

“I’m in touch with various global networks and there’s a belief that this belongs in markets like Singapore or the States. Singapore for instance, I’m told it is ripe for the market. People there are spending on these products, it's hot and humid… I would love to expand to Singapore, and I will get there.”

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