Call it the magic touch.
This story first appeared in the April 13, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Farouk Systems, the makers of the celebrated CHI Ceramic Hairstyling Iron, are hoping to again shake up the hair tool category with the launch of the first-to-market touch-screen blow-dryer. The CHI Touch Dryer, which industry sources estimate could generate $50 million in its first year, will be previewed on the May 6 episode of “Celebrity Apprentice.”
“We are known for innovation,” said vice president of sales and marketing for Farouk Systems Jason Yates, who said the CHI straightener, launched in 2001, featured the first ceramic technology of its kind, and still accounts for 70 percent of Farouk’s business.
“This is the next chapter for CHI,” said Yates, who alluded to the Touch Dryer following in the footsteps of the brand’s original straightener, which sprouted its own namesake product line, a slew of limited edition versions from the brand as well as countless imitations. “We are constantly reinventing ourselves. Every time we make a leap, it’s because we developed something that is a game-changer.”
Farouk’s newest implement features a three-inch, four-color LCD touch-screen display, with three navigation tools and sliding scales, for speed, temperature and to activate the appliance’s ionizing feature.
“Most people get confused about ionization, about what it is and how much they need,” said Yates. “Infrared technology dries hair from the inside out, which moisturizes the follicle, prevents overdrying and adds shine.”
To take the guesswork out of the equation, Yates said users can choose their hair type (fine, medium or coarse) on the screen, and the dryer will adjust automatically to the amounts of frizz-relieving, static-reducing ions needed. Each dryer comes equipped with a built-in memory function to store preferred settings.
In addition to touting a touch screen, the dryer is also designed to be lightweight, quiet and efficient, promising to dry hair in half the time of its competitors with 1,800 watts of power. “It’s long-lasting, but very quiet,” said Yates.
The body of the tool is made with soft-touch rubber, which prevents slipping because of moisture that might be on hands.
The CHI Touch Dryer will be the main element in the upcoming “Celebrity Apprentice” episode, in which the two teams will focus on the product’s national launch. Yates said more than 250,000 preorders have already been placed.
The dryer, which retails for $199.99, will be available at select salons, J.C. Penney and Ulta. Farouk.com lists salons.