Ted Gibson — hairstylist to stars such as Lupita Nyong’o, Angelina Jolie and Deborah Messing — has packed up, moved to Los Angeles, and started a new business with husband and business partner Jason Backe.
“We kind of laid low for about eight months until we decided what it was we wanted to do,” Gibson said. “And we discovered that we want to take over L.A.”
To do that, Gibson is launching Starring by Ted Gibson, which includes a new, high-end product with a new small-format “entertainment” salon concept located in the La Brea District. The business was unveiled April 20 at 10:25 a.m. — a time selected by Gibson’s astrologist, Nancy Murdock.
What wasn’t unveiled back then was the distribution strategy.
Starring will be exclusive to Amazon, where it will be the first professional beauty product ever launched exclusively with the e-commerce giant. According to Gibson, the brand is partnering with Amazon Luxury Beauty and Beauty Exclusives, a new program.
“As a disruptor, they’ve made everyone in the beauty business feel really uneasy,” Gibson said. “What we decided to do was, as innovators with a voice — we do education, we speak all over the world, we do hair shows, we’re visible within the beauty community — we decided we wanted to be the first.”
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Amazon makes sense in 2018 because the salon model has shifted so dramatically, Gibson said. At one point — pre- Drybar, Instagram and Internet shopping — he was running three large-format salons, the last of which closed in late 2016.
“Salons cannot afford to put a $10,000 or $15,000 opening order on their shelf anymore,” Gibson said. “It’s not happening, it’s not viable — the way women want to shop and the way hairdressers think is not that way anymore.”
While the new product line has the same name as a line he planned in 2016, that project never came to market. “The reason we didn’t do it is because the salon was taking every last drop of money from us,” Gibson said.
Starring is set to launch Sept. 6 during New York Fashion Week, where Gibson will be keying a number of shows. The first product is Shooting Star Texture Meringue, a $52 styling product, which will be followed by several others — but not too many, Gibson said, noting his goal is to launch eight to 10. The salon is likely to open in November or December, Gibson said.
“It’s a product, it’s a salon, but it’s also a place for the next actress or the next influencer to be discovered,” he said.