On a pit stop in Los Angeles four years ago, former Northern California real estate executive Dawn Serpa-Duggar settled into Lèa Journo’s turquoise chair at the hairstylist’s pool side salon in the Beverly Wilshire Hotel for eight hours.
This story first appeared in the May 22, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
With a surgeon’s precision, Journo, who has been called “magic hands” and is known for doing the ’dos of Orlando Bloom, Kate Bosworth and Brad Pitt, snipped and styled to bring the natural beauty of Serpa-Duggar’s blond coif to the fore. “It did change my life,” said Serpa-Duggar. “I was newly divorced, and she gave me a psychological boost.”
Journo and Serpa-Duggar have now partnered in Lea Journo Cosmetique to give consumers the same boost that comes from feeling pretty. The company is introducing a prestige Lea Journo hair care line with nine products priced from $24 to $65 in July.
The products are 6.7-oz. Parfait intense hydrating mask, 1-oz. Revive French plum oil for hair and body, 8-oz. Lumière illuminating moisturizer for hair and body, 5-oz. La Forme styling lotion, 5-oz. Mirroir glossing cream, 8-oz. Pouf volumizing spray, 8-oz. Voila finishing spray, 10-oz. Hydra-Riche hydrating shampoo, and 10-oz. Hydra-Riche hydrating conditioner. Key ingredients include French plum oil harvested in southwest France to restore luster and smooth skin and hair, cashmere protein to strengthen hair and Tahitian vanilla extract to protect hair from sun damage.
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Journo, a native of France who opened her namesake Beverly Hills location in 2003 after helming five Lea Saint Karl salons in Paris and working for Sergio Bossi and Alexandre de Paris, explained in a thick French accent that the line is intended to enhance effortless sexiness — she labeled her aesthetic “hippie chic” — with lightweight products for all hair types that do what they say.
“How is it that one shampoo can shampoo, condition, give you body and fix your car? That’s impossible,” said Journo jokingly. “If it’s a good product, you don’t have to buy [another] one for dandruff, dry hair and oily hair.”
Journo and Serpa-Duggar’s approach was validated by a focus group conducted last October asking participants to evaluate the Lea Journo line and hair care brands carried by Sephora, such as Ojon and Frédéric Fekkai. “The big message was people wanted products that perform,” said Serpa-Duggar, who prior to partnering with Journo, founded, ran and then sold a real estate development company with her former husband. The focus group also revealed participants were underwhelmed by many prestige packaging efforts.
“When you buy makeup, the packaging is cool, fun and feminine. But right now, when you buy hair care, it doesn’t feel like that,” she said. “We tried to make the packaging glamorous and fun, like lipstick.” The Lea Journo packaging uses lowercase cursive lettering for the logo, and relies on silver and turquoise, Journo’s favorite hue that she described as a “happy color.”
Serpa-Duggar’s goal is for Lea Journo hair care to enter 50 stores by the end of this year, and she is targeting Sephora and high-end department stores. She estimated the brand would generate $5 million in retail sales in its first year.