Unite Hair Care’s mission to spread to top salons across the globe has reached a major milestone: landing in Urban Retreat at Harrods.
This story first appeared in the August 27, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
It seems as if the Carlsbad, Calif.-based brand’s strategy of entering eminent U.S. salons about six years ago — including Ken Paves, Cristophe Beverly Hills and Warren-Tricomi — before kicking off wider domestic distribution four years ago and, more recently, going global, has paid off. Unite is now in roughly 1,400 salons in the U.S., 150 in Canada and 200 in Europe, and could cross $10 million in wholesale sales next year, according to its founder, Andrew Dale. “For the past four years, we have grown 38 to 41 percent every year,” he said. “We are doing about 5 percent of what our potential is to do. We are going to keep plodding along at the rate that we are and open new distributors in the right way. We want to get into premium, high-end boutique salons around the world.”
“Looking at the marketplace and the reason why we have continued to grow in a horrible economy [is the reason] that we are resonating with consumers and key stylists, because we are transparent,” said Ian Trombetta, marketing director for Unite. “We are able to move quickly and respond to consumer and stylist needs faster than the behemoths out there.”
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At Urban Retreat, which Unite entered about a month ago, Dale said the brand is finding success by pairing its products with popular straightening treatments, notably its 7 Seconds Dry Shampoo, which can be used posttreatment when hair can’t be washed with wet shampoo and conditioner. So far, he estimated the salon was ringing up about 1,600 pounds or nearly $2,500 in U.S. dollars in Unite wholesale volume weekly.
Out of Unite’s 30 products, its bestseller is 7 Seconds Leave-In Conditioner for $20.95, which is intended to serve as a thermal protector and to detangle and nourish hair. In January, the brand will launch Go 365 Hairspray for $24.95, designed to, with clicks of the nozzle, enable users to achieve three different spray strengths.
Although Unite also plans to introduce a flat iron, Dale said he doesn’t want to flood the market with products. “We only release a product if fashion dictates a certain look where we need a product to produce that in the hair or if there is a new ingredient that we believe should be added,” he said.
The emphasis on fashion is fundamental to Unite’s purpose as a brand. Dale said he created Unite to pull hairdressers into the fashion industry by educating them about fashion trends and, when possible, getting them to work on fashion shows with the brand. “Unite doesn’t look at the industry as the beauty industry — it looks at it as a fashion industry,” Dale said.
Handling hair for fashion shows is becoming a bigger and bigger part of Unite’s enterprise. The brand will work on the Fashion Mavericks event from Sept. 17 to 18, which showcases emerging designers, during London Fashion Week and designer Tara Subkoff’s show at Milk Studios in Manhattan on Sept. 15.