Finding success in the crowded hair care arena is difficult — if not impossible — for brands not tied to a multinational conglomerate or, at the very least, a hairstylist with global appeal. But beauty executive Bob Salem plans to “reinvent the hair care paradigm” with Blue Space Brands, a company that aligns Salem’s beauty concepts with the charms of a multifaceted brand and strategy consultant.
This story first appeared in the March 13, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
At first glance, Blue Space’s overall strategy doesn’t appear too different from a typical small hair care company armed with a fresh concept and a distribution strategy that aims first for the web, then TV and finally a prestige brick-and-mortar retailer. But Blue Space’s consultant, Michael Flutie, offers the company a crack at his vertically integrated Talent Brand Management and Brand Strategy Firm, one that develops technology and content for interactive media. What this means is that Blue Space’s breakout range, HerCut, can launch online with video content that aims to get the brand’s message across in an innovative way for broadband and mobile distribution with e-commerce capabilities. The interactive content produced by Madwood Media, Flutie’s New York-based content-development, production and digital distribution company, also contains a retailer cooperative marketing resource that aligns consumer interactivity with a retailer’s particular message. The fact that these Webverts, as they are called, are viral, also helps.
“For the first time under one roof there is a company that unites talent brand management, interactive marketing production and digital media distribution with concept driven brands, product development and retail distribution,” said Flutie.
You May Also Like
HerCut, which has been formulated to target a woman’s specific haircut as opposed to her hair type, has targeted over 300 Web sites, social networks and blogs that host beauty-involved consumer communities to reach possible users, Flutie said.
Flutie recently served as the architect behind multiyear fragrance deals for Tim McGraw and Faith Hill with Coty Beauty. His current client roster includes beauty expert Kyan Douglas, actress-model Jaime King and Manhattan dermatologist Lisa Airan, a fixture within Vogue magazine’s social pages. And this week Douglas agreed to serve as HerCut’s product ambassador; the line plans to launch June 1 on hercut.com.
In addition to Flutie’s Web expertise, HerCut may have a leg up on the competition given Salem’s beauty résumé. Prior to Blue Space, Salem cofounded professional hair care brand Profound Beauty and held senior level marketing positions with Aveda and L’Oréal. With regard to the Blue Space Brands team, Salem said he does not have any outside investors. His collaborators include Maria Laguardia, product development; Joe Cincotta, formulations, and Tian Wang, developer of molecular complexes. Industry sources project HerCut could generate sales of $15 million in its first year, once it gains its prestige retail, digital media and direct response TV distribution.
Salem said HerCut offers products that are formulated to bring out the best of such classic cuts as The Bob, The Blunt, The Shag, The Long Layers and The Pixie. Each range has its own star product, or catalyst, as the firm calls it, that is meant to “optimize the haircut’s behavior from beginning to end,” said Salem. For example, the catalyst in The Shag has been formulated with polymers to add texture with dimension, and to provide lift at the root to yield layers that move. Long Layers’ catalyst uses a cationic complex to connect and control layers. The Blunt’s catalyst utilizes strand compression to diminish space between fibers to deliver uniformity. Catalyst items sell for $22 each. Shampoos and conditioner are available, too, and address each of the cuts and will sell for $19 each.
To bring his beauty concept of hair care for haircuts to life, Salem reached out to lead Prada illustrator Liselotte Watkins for HerCut’s quirky art, and Creed Strategic Imaging for packaging.
“This shifts the hair care paradigm from products by hair type and style to products for type of haircut and its performance,” said Salem. “HerCut makes a haircut work. And that shift touches every product we will make with this brand, and simply redefines hair care as we know it today.”