LOS ANGELES — Long before Daisy Fuentes capitalized on her MTV hosting fame to build multimillion-dollar apparel and fragrance brands at Kohl’s Corp., she was an aspiring hairstylist — and now she’s finally entering the hair industry with Daisy Fuentes Style Pro, a hair care line by Beautology Brands Company.
This story first appeared in the January 9, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“I was enrolled in cosmetology school, and I was going to open my own salon. I’ve always done all of my girlfriends’ hair,” said 42-year-old Fuentes, recalling her career goals as an 18-year-old. Segueing to her current goals, she added, “Finding high-quality products that actually worked and had safe ingredients was a priority for me and, in the search for that, I found that the market was really lacking in that area. I really wanted to be groundbreaking.”
Daisy Fuentes Style Pro will hit stores as early as March with a tightly edited line of nine sulfate- and paraben-free stockkeeping units that are intended to lay the groundwork for what Beautology chief executive officer and president Stuart Straus calls a multicultural beauty brand. The products, which are priced at $7.99 and $9.99 and contain orchid and tuberose notes, are Smooth & Straight Conditioner and Shampoo; Curls & Waves Shampoo, Conditioner and Mousse; Ultra Deep Conditioner; All Day Hair Spray; Straightening Blow Dry Flat Iron Finishing Spray, and High Shine Finishing Spray, the hero of the initial lineup.
“It’s the kind of thing you want to throw in your bag and, at the end of the day, when you just want to touch up and give your hair a little texture and a little extra shine, you can spray it,” said Fuentes of the High Shine Finishing Spray, the product she singled out as her favorite from Daisy Fuentes Style Pro so far. “It’s almost like that red-carpet must-have.”
Fuentes, whose Dianoche fragrance franchise has spawned bestsellers for Estée Lauder Cos. Inc.’s BeautyBank at Kohl’s, said she has grown to genuinely understand her customers, women she described as not making “a big fuss about being gorgeous.” In turn, she stressed that her customers put their faith in her because she is deeply involved in overseeing brands that bear her name and has extensive knowledge about beauty and fashion honed from being in front of the camera.
“I’ve been in the business of beauty and fashion all my life. I get to experience really inside information. I get to hang out and work with the top hairdressers, the top makeup artists, the top fashion designers and stylists. That really gives me an edge as to what’s going on in the marketplace,” said Fuentes. “When you say my name, people do know me, they have an image. That image really speaks for the brand and that’s what it represents, so it’s a little bit easier to bring a new item into the marketplace because the customer already has a sense of what to expect.”
Although some companies might have pigeonholed Cuban-American Fuentes’ audience as Hispanic, Straus has a wider view. “It’s really a multicultural consumer looking for a true beauty brand,” he said. “Every brand that has come out says they’re going to be multicultural, but they have no roots in that area and they assume that everyone is alike. I don’t know how many brands I’ve seen that only have [products] for curly, thick, wavy hair. They think that everyone that is considered multicultural has one type of hair, and that is so far from the truth. This brand doesn’t assume that. This brand assumes that there are people with straight thin hair, curly wavy hair [and] we have some answers that hopefully are healthy answers to giving people beautiful hair.”
Daisy Fuentes Style Pro is expected to enter 11,000-plus doors in its first year, including Walgreens and Rite Aid, and Straus estimated it would generate $12 million to $15 million in first-year sales. About 25 percent of sales will be put toward advertising beginning in April with newspaper inserts and in beauty, fashion and lifestyle magazines. Photographer Craig De Cristo shot the ad campaign last year in Los Angeles.
Beautology, marketer of Charles Worthington London and Chemistry Salon Labs as well as Daisy Fuentes Style Pro, wouldn’t disclose the terms of its contract with Fuentes, but Straus and Fuentes expressed interest in fostering Daisy Fuentes Style Pro over the long haul. “We have a lot of ideas, so I do hope that they make a lot of room for us on the shelf because we’re on a roll,” said Fuentes. “We’ve got something really good here, and I plan on standing behind it and supporting it 100 percent. I think the customer will love it, and we already have some ideas brewing to add more styling products.”