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Henkel North America to Bring Professional Hair-care Brands Under One Roof

The division is seeking to maintain the individual identities of its four professional hair-care brands while leveraging shared resources.

More than two years after acquiring Kenra Professional, Sexy Hair and Alterna from TSG Consumer Partners, Henkel North America is combining them physically with Schwarzkopf Professional at a headquarters for professional hair care set to open in Los Angeles next year.

The move will transition the Henkel division’s far-flung operations in New York, Indianapolis and the Southern California communities of Chatsworth and Culver City to a single location that’s yet to be determined. As with most corporate integrations, the trick for Henkel North America will be to foster the qualities that made the brands interesting to the company in the first place while strengthening them with the power of the parent.

“Coming under one roof doesn’t mean giving up the existing culture. I see it in the opposite way,” said Stefan Mund, regional head of Henkel Beauty Care Hair Professional North America. “We would like each company to bring their specific DNA and culture into our new building, and we will develop together as a team with a holistic professional culture by maintaining what makes Kenra, Alterna, Sexy Hair and Schwarzkopf Professional unique.”

To help sustain independence of the professional hair-care brands as they merge at an address, their separate general managers will stay put. Mund heads Schwarzkopf Professional, and the general managers for Alterna, Kenra Professional and Sexy Hair are, respectively, Raphael Grange, Robert Schaeffler and Karl-Heinz Pitsch. Munt stressed that they will be charged with fortifying the distinct business models that caused the brands they lead to flourish. In the third quarter, Henkel disclosed its salon business posted positive sales advancement.

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“Continuity in the leadership team is very important,” said Mund. Between the brands, he added, “We have a friendly, amicable relationship, but, at the same time, each has a very specific role and responsibility, and everybody has P&L responsibility as well. We want to make sure we can do the best for every business by focusing on its success in the market. The market is big enough for all the businesses.”

Even before Henkel North American opted to relocate its professional hair-care brands, Mund pointed out the firm has stoked their growth as it mingled them under a larger corporate umbrella. He mentioned, for example, that Schwarzkopf Professional has notched double-digit percentage sales increases in the U.S., and that Alterna’s Caviar range of products has mounted double-digit percentage sales lifts in the U.S. and abroad.

“Roughly 40 percent of our current sales are generated by product launches in the last three years, which means a very high innovation rate. We want to maintain if not accelerate the growth, and we want to make sure we remain agile as an organization to be able to react to market trends,” said Mund. He suggested the professional hair-care brands have been particularly effective at responding to customer demand in the hair-color segment, a bright spot in the salon industry. He highlighted Kenra Creative Neon and Igora Royal from Schwarzkopf Professional as standout hair-color launches.

Mund is busy searching for the right facility to house Alterna, Kenra Professional, Sexy Hair and Schwarzkopf Professional. Among several considerations, he is taking into account employee commutes and the attractiveness of the building. The headquarters are expected to occupy 8,000 to 10,000 square feet and include a learning center Mund dubbed a “lighthouse” for hair-care professionals.

“We will not only be able to do practical and theoretical training on site, but we will be able to showcase our overall abilities to drive business by presenting what our future innovations can deliver and by providing [salons the] opportunities to see what their retail spaces should look like to drive sales,” said Mund. “The lighthouse will be something very new for the market. Nobody else has a similar concept, and it will probably attract a lot of customers to stop by for inspiration.”