NEW YORK — One of the salon industry's most premiere hair care lines — Barex Italiana — has undergone a facelift to up its appeal with stylists and consumers. Gone is medicinal-type packaging; in are color-coded bands defining hair types its five lines address: fine, frizzy, dry, normal and color-treated hair. A styling line rounds out the offerings, which grew from 20 items to 24 during the revamp.
Guita Dovas, founder of New York-based OloffBeauty, maker and marketer of Barex Italiana, Aetó Botanical collection and JOC color, said she simply wanted to keep the brand's DNA — weightless shine — and make it easier to understand.
"The challenge was to get products into the hands of stylists. That is what I strongly believe we have achieved with this line by formulating products that address different hair issues and by making it easy to identify which products are best for a certain hair type," Dovas said. All of OloffBeauty's products are made in the company's manufacturing plant in Bologna, Italy.
Some of the new items include Colour Confidante, a leave-in conditioner-mist designed to give body and shine to colored or bleached hair. Then there's Delicato Shampoo, which falls within the fine hair series, and uses cotton seed and sweet almond oil to plump up hair. Shampoo in the dry hair range now contains rice oil and castor oil to moisturize hair. Also, eight styling items are available, including Cristalli Liquidi, a serum to provide color protection, volume and shine, which can be used as a base with other gels or creams.
Despite upgrades, prices did not increase and average $24.
Barex is sold in approximately 900 "A" salons — upscale salons with 10 or more chairs — as well as a few "B" salons, across the U.S., 600 of which take in the full line. "These salons are in need of exclusive products," said Dovas, explaining that many premiere lines are diverted and hence available in many outlets, even drugstores. Barex items, which are sold directly to salons, are also beginning to appear in select specialty stores, such as Planet Blue, Clyde's Chemist and Cosbar.
The new Barex items entered salons six weeks ago and initial feedback has been positive."We are hearing that the line is 'so easy to understand,'" Dovas said. By keeping her line tight, she believes stylists are not intimidated to try them.
"One of the first questions they ask is, 'You don't have 60 stockkeeping units, do you?'" she recalled.
Sales of some items are increasing due to some tweaks, such as Glossing Pomade, which now rolls on instead of being packaged in a tub.
Dovas said OloffBeauty could end 2006 with sales of $5 million, up from $3 million last year. By year-end 2007, Dovas predicted, sales should double, due in part to a growing sales force and customer base.
"We are opening about four or five new salons every 10 days," Dovas said. But increasing customers' bottom line is just as important to her.
"Retail sales are important to salons. It is difficult for stylists to sell products, but with the new packaging, the customer can [go to the salon's retail area] and choose it herself."
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