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Gail Federici Discusses Launching a Beauty Start-up

The chief executive officer of Federici Brands LLC is all about filling a void.

Gail Federici

Gail Federici, chief executive officer of Federici Brands LLC, is all about filling a void.

In 1989, Federici teamed up with John Frieda to create a line called Frizz Ease to address frizz, something she felt was a blatant gap in the market. What was once a start-up, is now a landmark franchise and Federici hoped do the same with her latest venture, Color Wow, a line created to cover grown-out roots for color-treated hair.

Color Wow’s hero stockkeeping unit, Root Cover Up, was not the only one on the market but, according to Federici, consumers were complaining that none of the competitive products actually worked.

“We wanted to come up with something different to separate us from the rest,” she said, referring to Root Cover Up and its portable packaging. “Our very talented creative team came up with ‘the next handheld device to change your life.’ That tag line telegraphed the fact that this was something different, this was new technology. And it’s been really effective.”

Critical to Color Wow’s launch, Federici used the same methods applied to making John Frieda a top hair-care brand.

“For a small company, the key is to find out where is best to invest,” she said. “We are not jumping on the social media train in a major way because the cost-benefit ratio doesn’t really work for us. During my five years in the music business, I was a big MySpace evangelist. That platform really, really delivered the results that we were after. Today in the beauty business, we haven’t found anything comparable, but we do view the opportunities offered by the Internet as very important for start-ups. We are implementing a new online strategy that we believe will better serve our end goals and this will become part of our distribution strategy.”