30 Under 30: Zahoor Hassan’s plant-based haircare company is rooted in passion

Wythyn Beauty is still a family business for Zahoor Hassan.

Zahoor Hassan, 29

Founder, Wythyn Beauty

Life Story: Zahoor Hassan was born in Vancouver, and her three-year-old plant-based haircare company is based in Langley. But the roots of Wythyn Beauty can be traced back to the hardscrabble journey of her immigrant parents, who fled war-torn Somalia to build a better life in B.C. for their children.

“Growing up, my dad always instilled this message that the only way you can be financially free is to work for yourself,” says Hassan. Her father, a freelance translator, passed away a couple years ago—which, Hassan says, proved the catalyst for Wythyn: “I had been working through different jobs, but his death forced me to say, Okay, this is where you need to go. And you need to do it now.”

She went back to school, studying at the Blanche Macdonald Centre, and began researching and developing a new formulation for shampoos borne out of her frustration with the natural products sector. “I wanted to make sure that every ingredient was not only completely plant-based, but also was doing something for the health of your hair,” she says. Hassan settled on a 20-ingredient list, tested the product with friends and family, and eventually launched her e-commerce business in 2020.

Three years later, Wythyn—a small-batch operator—remains very much a family affair, with Hassan sourcing all materials from the Pacific Northwest and producing each bottle herself, while her sister makes deliveries and her brother handles financials and analytics.

Bottom Line: Wythyn sells an eight-ounce bottle of shampoo and conditioner for $32 each. It sounds like a lot, but Hassan says that “customers are aware of the differences between clean beauty products and drugstore brands.” Wythyn was profitable within six months of launch, she notes, and profits have tripled in the past three years.

Wythyn has also attracted the attention of a large international retailer through Wythyn’s Instagram channel. Hassan expects that distribution deal to close by year’s end, bringing Wythyn into the bricks-and-mortar world, and necessitating the hiring of a few helping hands to produce and distribute its product.