Fekkai Brands wants to restore the Frédéric Fekkai nameplate to the number-one position it once held in professional hair care.
The range will be available at Fekkai’s seven salons along with an exclusive retail launch with Ulta Beauty. The retailer confirmed The One by Frédéric Fekkai will bow in about 690 doors and online at ulta.com. In 250 of the doors, The One by Frédéric Fekkai will be part of the new prestige hair-care presentation including elevated signage and display.
Prestige hair care is certainly gaining traction. The NPD Group said that as of May, the category had expanded 13 percent year-over year — besting makeup as the fastest-growing segment in the prestige market. The One by Frédéric Fekkai is the second premium hair-care company in the past two weeks to sign on to Ulta Beauty. Last week The Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. said Bumble and bumble will debut online in August on ulta.com and in 500 doors in September.
Interest in premium is good news to the new owners of Fekkai, who acquired the brand for an estimated $50 million. That was a keen deal compared to the $400 million P&G paid when it snapped up Fekkai from Catterton Partners in 2008.
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Industry sources say Fekkai today is a $90 million brand that many think could more than double in sales in the next few years. Experts believe a catalyst of that growth could be The One by Frédéric Fekkai, a line expected to hit $20 million in first-year sales with the potential to ring up $75 million after three years on the market.
Joel Ronkin, the chief executive officer of Fekkai Brands, said that, under new leadership, the luxury hair-care brand has developed a blueprint to expand the business with product innovation, elevated distribution, global expansion, a web site redesign and a marketing and advertising campaign. There will also be stepped-up use of influencers, a fresh approach to social platforms and a new app for the Fekkai salon.
Frédéric Fekkai, considered one of the first and best-known of the celebrity hairstylists, remains an adviser to the Fekkai brand he founded. In a statement, he said he’s impressed with the direction of the new line. “The technology, aesthetics and positioning take the brand to a new level,” he added.
Ronkin, who left his post after 16 years at Elizabeth Arden to help rebuild the logo, said Fekkai’s name is synonymous with hair. Fekkai, he said, remains a globally recognized salon with more than 200 stylists, colorists and salon professionals. “Our products come to life in the salons, not the reverse. We felt we needed a brand that reflects what you see in the salons,” Ronkin told WWD during a tour of the Fifth Avenue salon ensconced in Henri Bendel.
The One by Frédéric Fekkai will not replace the original Fekkai hair-care line launched in 1995 and is still sold at select retailers such as Target, Kohl’s and Shoppers Drug Mart. Amy Sachs, chief commercial officer for Fekkai (and another former Arden executive), said those formulas will be tweaked to reflect the original ingredients. That lineup once sold at Neiman Marcus and Sephora, which dropped the brand after it went mass. Although P&G bought the portfolio to make headway in prestige hair care, the company broadened distribution to the mass market.
The new line is a more sophisticated assortment borrowing tactics from the skin-care industry. Targeted at women 25-plus, The One by Frédéric Fekkai was developed with Norwegian Sea Extract, according to Noreen Dodge, chief marketing officer, which is used across the entire range. Formulas also incorporate skin-care technologies and trends by infusing each formula with environmental protectors that help combat the effects of pollution. The One has been tested and reviewed by Fekkai’s stylists. “They are our toughest critics,” said Sachs.
The line is segmented into five collections including Everyday, Color, Restore, Antifrizz and a range of styling products. Calling upon his experience at Arden, Ronkin said The One by Frédéric Fekkai features a fragrance developed by International Flavors and Fragrances.
The packaging sports rich jewel tones and metallic hues inspired by the signature marine complex (and tops to help easily identify the shampoo from conditioner). Each is named for hair solutions for hair types. They include: The Universal One, an everyday shampoo and conditioner; The Brilliant One, color-care shampoo, conditioner and mask; The Ultimate One, restore shampoo, conditioner and mask, and The Tamed One, antifrizz shampoo, conditioner and balm.
There is also a styling and finishing collection with a leave-in conditioner titled One to Believe In, a heat activated lift and volume spray called One Up, a high-performance multitasker dubbed The Gifted One, a dry shampoo called One More Day, a texturizing and thickening spray named One and Then Some, a hairspray One to Hold and individual dose creme called One to Go. Prices range from $26 for dry shampoo and leave-in conditioners to $42 for hair masks.
A multimedia campaign is in the works for the fall while the initial media spend will be targeted to Ulta Beauty. The One will have its own web site and social media platforms. “Fekkai will launch a modern retail experience that brings its salon expertise to life online. Editorial content and product features will allow Fekkai stylists to connect with a wider audience, empowering customers through direct exposure to these experts,” said Ronkin. “We understand that consumers today are savvy and the brand needs to provide engaging content, access to the Fekkai stylists and an overall luxury experience at all consumer touch points.”
Will the Fekkai brand name resonate with today’s consumers, especially a younger audience? “They have to rebuild the brand,” said Jeanine Recckio, founder of the Mirror Mirror Imagination Group, a marketing, trend forecasting and branding agency. “I know the people involved and I give them a lot of credit,” she said, adding the goal will be to restore the luxury heritage of the brand in order to introduce it to and educate younger consumers about Fekkai’s heritage.