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Kao Names Harry Josh Ambassador, KMS and Goldwell

Josh will focus on product education through social media and industry events.

Kao Salon has entered a new partnership with hairstylist Harry Josh.

Josh, who will serve as ambassador of the Americas for brands KMS and Goldwell, will focus on product education in his new role. The bulk of his duties will be media- and consumer-facing, including social media content, press and industry events.

The appointment was in part due to the coronavirus, since stylists haven’t been educating consumers on products in salons. “We asked ourselves what we need to do right now to help our salons because obviously, what we’ve been through is unprecedented with the lack of traffic,” said Scott Guinter, general manager of Kao USA’s salon division. “Traditionally, professional salon products are recommended by the stylists. Well, consumers are now less educated in terms of new offerings and technology because they’re not visiting stylists.”

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Josh brings not only social media prowess — his Instagram alone has more than 200,000 followers — but a star-studded client roster. His goal is to help Kao’s salon brands cut through the clutter of the ever-saturated hair care market. “We’ve partnered with influencers over the years, but Harry is a marquee name,” Guinter said.

The company and Josh had worked together before, he said, so they made sense as new partners. “I had a contract with Kao for about eight or nine years, and during that time, I learned a level of product education and innovation, and it was superior to other brands on the market at the time,” he said.

“We’re at a point where the industry is flooded with hair products, every celebrity hairdresser makes a product line. I believe there’s going to be a return to heritage brands. We’ve been so inundated with tiny brands everywhere, that we are needing to go where the history is, and where the proof is in the pudding, and where a company can survive 20 years because the innovation and the funding is there,” Josh continued.

Many of the conversations around beauty online aren’t sufficiently educating consumers, Josh said. “We have lost authenticity through Instagram because so many people are alleged experts overnight, not because of their education, but because of their following,” he said. “You go into an Instagram, and you see a beauty page. Say someone’s doing a smoky eye. What you’re seeing in that 30 seconds is the opening of a product, and the end result with zero education. It’s happening so fast, that the whole world has become accustomed to that. It’s going to be my job to slow it down, open up the minds, get them to really understand what it is they’re doing and why they’re doing it.”

As coronavirus restrictions lift, though, Guinter was optimistic about the future of Kao’s salon divisions. “A year ago, we were told we wouldn’t be doing in-person visits to salons. Now, there’s a tremendous thirst for people wanting to go back, and be in person,” he said.

For more from WWD.com, see:

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