By  on September 1, 2006

Rodney Cutler's hair philosophy could be summed up as hair today, hair tomorrow — at least when it comes to the launch of his latest product, Protectant Treatment Spray, which he hopes will protect tresses from damage.

"We felt that there was a real need for a protective spray which also offers treatment benefits," said Cutler, who owns two eponymous Manhattan salons, one on 57th Street and one on West Broadway. "It's lightweight and heat-protective and lightly coats the cuticle, but doesn't weigh it down." It is also designed to detangle hair. "It creates a barrier between the hair and the heat, so you're actually conditioning as you're styling." That will come in handy when Olympus Fashion Week begins Sept. 8, as Cutler is teaming up with Redken to do hair for more than a dozen runway shows, including Cynthia Rowley and Twinkle.

The spray, which will retail for $21, will be available in late September. While Cutler wouldn't comment on projected sales, industry sources estimated that the new spray could do $500,000 or more in its first year on counter.

Cutler's distribution now consists of about 100 doors, including Victoria's Secret Beauty. "We started at Victoria's Secret Beauty in 13 doors and are now expanding to 70 of their doors — they have been great partners," said Cutler. His products have also entered a number of beauty boutiques, and in early October, Cutler will make his first appearance on QVC during a segment titled "Saturday Night Beauty." Cutler will also enter the Studio at Fred Segal, which will be the first retailer on the West Coast to handle the line.

"Our growth has been slow but steady, and that's the best way, I think," said Cutler. "We've tried to align ourselves with retailers who are as enthusiastic as we are. It doesn't benefit anyone if the products just sit on a shelf somewhere."

He also thinks that many consumers need to be more realistic about what a product can and cannot do: "No product is great for all hair types," he said. "I'd rather have a product that works great for certain hair types than do a mediocre one that ‘sort of' works for everyone."Cutler's line currently has 14 products, including shampoos, conditioners, styling products and treatment items, ranging in price from $14 to $21.

Speaking of products, Cutler is currently developing several styling items that are intended to provide similar protective benefits. "There's no sense in doing a me-too product," he said. "Because we don't have pressure corporately, we can grow in a way that is very organic. We're only adding things when there's a need for something — and we take the time to do it right." That being said, Cutler said he hopes to have several new products on the shelves in 2007.

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