By  on January 6, 2005

NUREMBERG, Germany — Douglas entered new beauty territory last month with the opening of the chain’s first hair salon in its renovated superstore here.

Under the name Douglas Hairdesign by Oliver Schmidt, Douglas premiered the first of what the company’s deputy chairman Claus Mingers said could become a fixture in the chain’s larger, 5,000- to 6,500-square-foot doors, as well as a freestanding concept.

The full-service salon is located on the third floor of the 20,000-square-foot House of Beauty, adjacent to a hair care area now offering both consumer and professional hair care products. The professional lines, which include L’Oréal, Kérastase, Redken, Wella, Tigi, Osis and Paul Mitchell, must be rung up at the salon’s register, but this marks the first time perfumery customers have in-store access to professional products.

Douglas moved fast to get this concept off the ground. Impressed with the new salon designs he saw presented in Bologna, Italy, last summer, Mingers went to Paris to talk to L’Oréal’s Kérastase division. “I asked if they knew a professional who could help us, and they suggested Oliver Schmidt in Düsseldorf,” he recalled. Next stop, Düsseldorf, where Mingers showed up unannounced at Schmidt’s salon in the Kö Gallery, one of the stylist’s five doors.

In November, “this whole thing would have been unimaginable,” Schmidt said in Nuremberg. “I was in the middle of cutting hair when [Mingers] asked to see me. He explained the idea in 15 minutes over a coffee, and I was in a daze. Three days later, we finalized the concept in Hagen.” All in all, it took Douglas less than six months to realize the project.

The most directional aspect, according to Mingers and executives like L’Oréal Professional’s German director Eric Royer, is that Douglas installed a full salon with real hairdressers who can advise about styles. It’s not just about offering professional products.

“We supported this project because it’s a real salon,” Royer commented. “What’s particularly interesting about bringing a salon into a perfumery like Douglas is that it allows Douglas to considerably improve the quality of service to its customers, which clearly demonstrates the added value of a hairdresser salon in a beauty world.”

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