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Stylist Neil Weisberg and colorist Amanda George combined their talents three years ago to create Beverly Hills celebrity beauty mainstay Neil George Salon, and now the duo is at it again with a new hair care line set to launch in September.
This story first appeared in the July 25, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“I would like to be the Californian Frédéric Fekkai in the sense of where he has positioned himself in the market,” said Weisberg. “We definitely want to go that [high-end] route because that’s where the salon is.”
The Neil George line is kicking off with five items: orange blossom-infused daily products Everyday Cleanse shampoo for normal to dry hair and Everyday Moisture conditioner, and Indian gooseberry-driven treatment products Intense Repair Mask, Intense Illuminating shampoo and Intense Illuminating conditioner. All items come in 7.3-oz. tubes and are priced from $20 to $38.
Shaped by their salon experiences, the two attempted to delicately accommodate stylists’ need for weightless hair unburdened by residue and colorists’ desire for performance on even the most impaired tresses.
“We didn’t want to start with some kitschy little idea. We wanted products that worked with people for everyday use rather than give them something that they’ll never use,” said Weisberg.
George discovered Indian gooseberry through Karina Patel, an Indian business partner of her husband, and Emad Ghobrial, owner of concierge service Preferred Group, and proceeded to research the ingredient, which is ground into a paste in India and applied to stop gray and enhance glossiness.
If there’s a star product in the line, it’s the Intense Repair Mask. Often dissatisfied with the results of the masks on the market, George used herself as a laboratory to test the Neil George mask. “My hair is completely colored, and with the masks, I do know when they are going to perform or not. This mask really performed,” she said.
Weisberg and George’s distribution targets are prestige department stores and upscale salons. It is expected the hair care line will enter 100 doors in September and generate $1.5 million in first-year sales. “It is really not about quantity at this point, it is about quality,” said Neil George director of operations Brad Jones, who formerly held the same position at Ted Gibson, of the retail strategy.
Weisberg and George met while working at the Chris McMillan Salon in Los Angeles in 2003 after both moved to the U.S. from England in the early Nineties. Unlike establishing the Neil George Salon, frequently patronized by the likes of Cameron Diaz, Reese Witherspoon and Hilary Swank, Weisberg admitted that product development and sales is “something completely different that we have to learn.”
But they’ve been happy with the process so far. Of the line, George concluded, “We really felt like this is who we are — elegant, clean, nice-looking and it works.” �