SANTA MONICA, Calif. — In a partnership of firsts all around, L’Oréal Professionnel, L’Oréal’s luxury salon line Kérastase and the salon-retail-agency-workshop Fred Segal Beauty, have teamed up on a concept here they believe will take the industry to where no salon has gone before.
This story first appeared in the May 16, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The collaboration inaugurates the Kérastase Institute, including a glass-enclosed Treatment Cabine and retail space; and the first full-fledged Color Bar, L’Oréal Professional’s first color consultation center in the U.S. and the second, globally.
Both aim to further integrate the consumer in the salon treatment process.
“There is such great potential [for sales] when the salon owner focuses on the treatment business,” noted Frédérique Besson, Kérastase vice president and general manager.
The Color Bar model initially tested in South Korea last year and showed a sales increase of 35 percent, according to Fred Segal Beauty chief executive officer Michael Baruch, who founded the company with creative director Paul DeArmas, along with retail pioneer Fred Segal in 1992. Baruch expects salon sales to increase 20 percent in the first year, eventually as much as doubling.
Seated at one of the bar stools at the Color Bar, a client can get “up close and personal with hair color” and the colorist. The evolution is not in the creative application, but in the service presentation. Other “tools” of engagement include color pens — a plastic casing around strands of hair, which, when the case is removed, the sample hair can be brought up to the face, providing a closer idea of the result than the traditional swatch books.
Similarly, the Kérastase Institute doesn’t simply provide treatments, noted Besson, but actually engages clients in its signature rituals: the specialist diagnostic, the bath (or shampoo) with a personalized therapeutic massage, and so on. The Treatment Cabine is appointed with Phillipe Starck for Maletti consultation chairs and Lavaggio Modern chair and sink units. Services start at $50. Besson expects first-year revenue for Kérastase to ring in at $500,000 at Fred Segal Beauty.
Instead of relegating many of these treatments to a back room, “it’s taking the kitchen into the restaurant dining room,” said Baruch. “We’re creating a greater likelihood that the client will be open to a service.”
Only one more Institute will open in the U.S., said Besson, at a New York salon that, although recently signed on, cannot yet be disclosed. A second Kérastase Institute is slated to open in Paris’ Galeries Lafayette in July.
The expanded partnerships prompted Baruch and DeArmas to overhaul its premises at the Fred Segal complex, resulting in a boost in space to 7,000 square feet from 4,500 and increasing its salon staff by one-third and its spa personnel by nearly 50 percent.
The newly improved spa, slated to open July 7, will completely occupy the former 2,500-square-foot salon-spa space.