By  on January 7, 2005

NEW YORK — The professional beauty market is just plain misunderstood. At least that’s the judgment of the man who has ambitions of transforming the industry in a fundamental way.

“We’re seeing a world that is completely underdeveloped in terms of a retail opportunity,” asserted Bob Salem, a former Aveda executive who cofounded Profound Beauty Inc. with Nikos Mouyiaris, president of Mana Products Inc.

After six years of testing and research, Profound will introduce its 30-item “diversion-proof” hair care collection to salons next week. The company will officially unveil the products — including shampoos, conditioners, treatments and styling products — Saturday afternoon at The Salon Association Symposium taking place in San Francisco.

In a first for the professional beauty industry, the company will also grant stock options to salon owners and stylists who sell Profound products in their salons. This weekend’s event will mark the first time Profound Incentive Equity stock options are granted since the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission declared Profound’s regulation A offering effective on May 18, 2004.

By offering salons a piece of ownership, Profound seeks to dramatically grow the $14 billion professional beauty products industry and earn a place as a leading player in the market, going head-to-head with brands such as Kérastase, Aveda and Bumble and bumble. According to Salem, “Salon owners have spent years building professional brands that they have no stake in.”

Profound’s full-barreled launch follows a six-month test market of select products in 100 salons across six metro areas.

The fledgling brand has made in-roads with at least one high-profile salon owner. In June, hairstylist Yves Durif cleared front-end retail space and the back bar of his Upper East Side salon to make room for Profound products, ending his long-standing deal with Aveda. Durif opened his eponymous salon seven years ago as an Aveda concept salon and still counts its founder Horst Rechelbacher as a close friend. While his decision to end a distribution contract with Aveda was admittedly emotional, Durif reports his retail sales have doubled since June. Once he gets the entire Profound collection in place, Durif anticipates retail will account for 20 to 25 percent of his business.

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