Procter & Gamble’s Salon Professional division is banking on brand-building, education, innovation and partnerships with stylists to help develop the global hair care business.
This story first appeared in the November 19, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“We now have a stable of five brands that is designed to talk to every hairdresser segment in the market,” said Robert Jongstra, global president P&G Salon Professional, referring to Wella Professionals, Sebastian Professional, Sassoon Professional, Nioxin and Kadus Professional (also known as Londa or Clairol, depending on the region). “That will make the market grow.”
Jongstra was speaking in Paris during Wella’s annual International Trend Vision Award (ITVA) event, which was attended by 2,000 people and held on Nov. 6. Thumping music resonating from the catwalk, where Wella’s program included a presentation of its four Trend Vision 2011 looks, conceived by Eugene Souleiman and Josh Wood, Wella Professionals’ global creative director care and styling, and global creative director color, respectively.
They were: “Lumina,” which is futuristic, sophisticated and luxurious; “Glamazon,” a multitextured, tribal-inspired and golden-hued look; “Passionista,” full of glamour and sex appeal, and “Polaris,” which is sculptured and full of contrasts.
Also on the catwalk, colorists and young stylists from around the globe competed with their imaginative renditions of those trends.
A new Wella initiative, called Making Waves to Shape a Brighter Future, was announced at the ITVA event. The partnership among Wella, hairstylists and UNICEF was created to educate underprivileged young people in Brazil with life skills, including a hairdressing element. It’ll be kicked off in January in Rio de Janeiro, Fortaleza and Belém, where Wella is to fund the development and operations of three hairdressing classrooms and courses in UNICEF centers.
A mentoring component begins in July, when some Wella stylists from Germany will go to Brazil to share their skills and experience with students. Other countries are to later join the program.
Among key successes for P&G Salon Professional, which has been focusing on developing all of its brands, is Sebastian. It was relaunched in mid-2008 in North America, where it’s been growing by double digits yearly. In the first half of 2009, the brand was reintroduced in Western Europe “and it’s off to a great start,” said Jongstra. Next up for Sebastian is China.
System Professional’s care collection from Wella was revamped and relaunched in late 2009 in Western Europe.
“It’s had a great first year,” said Jongstra.
Another achievement for his division — from a geographic viewpoint — has been the North American business.
“The last two years have just been outstanding,” said Jongstra. In 2008 and 2009, the division notched up high single-digit annual gains there.
“And that is in a market which is down 8 percent [in 2009],” he said.
In North America, P&G Salon Professional has been focusing on building its capabilities.
“It started with making our sales force and our educational people not just experts, but outstanding experts in what [our] products are about,” explained Jongstra. “The results have just been outstanding.”
New products P&G presented at the Mondial Coiffure Beauté trade show included a whipped conditioner from the Sebastian Color Ignite line, due out on March 11 in the U.S. and Europe, and Wella’s System Professional styling collection that was launched on Nov. 1 in Europe.
North America, Germany and Japan are P&G Salon Professional’s largest markets.
“But there’s a big shift going to happen over the next five years,” he said. “And that’s to the developing world.”
Jongstra added the Chinese market is “exploding,” and India “is going to explode,” as is Brazil.
“In [emerging markets], it’s critical that you build your local capability because — the same as in North America — you need to get an organization that is capable of debating and agreeing with stylists on a one-to-one basis [about] what’s best for their business,” said Jongstra.
He believes that the salon industry is getting better step-by-step, and that it is full of opportunity.
“I think this market deserves to grow a lot faster,” he said.