Byline: Kerry Diamond

NEW YORK — Breaking into the hair care market can be, well, a hair-raising experience, especially in the prestige category.
Inexpensive mass brands, with their multimillion-dollar ad campaigns, have dominated the market for so long that many customers have a hard time spending more than a few dollars for shampoo, conditioners, gels or hair spray.
But none of this concerns Victoria Hume, co-founder of the Mine hair care company. Based on the reaction to her line of products, Hume believes there is a demand for items that are results-oriented but with a lighthearted edge.
It’s no surprise that Hume got involved in the beauty business. Obsessed with makeup, glamour and especially hair since the sixth grade, she would spend afternoons cutting pictures from W — then a biweekly newspaper — and hanging them in her bedroom.
Hume had worked in a number of salons, including Frederic Fekkai and Peter Coppola, when she decided to take things a step further by launching her own products. Her first venture, in 1998, was a makeup line called Mine, which she followed in May 1999 with hair products under the same name.
Hume has two partners — Donna Pascoe, a stylist at Coppola’s salon in Boca Raton, Fla., and Burton Machen, a stylist who splits his time between Coppola’s New York location and the John Frieda salon in Los Angeles — who helped develop and fine-tune the line.
At the suggestion of her father, Hume met with an industry consultant who recommended she dump the cosmetics and concentrate on hair. After all, he pointed out, hair was what she knew best. She agreed.
The result is 11 products, including Cherry Tuesday shampoo, String of Pearls conditioner, Gello Shot styling gel and Barbee Blast Spray on Shine. The two bestsellers are Moonshots Rich Sage Oil and Smooth Sailing Straightening Glaze. Prices range from $12 to $20.
The Mine line also includes two children’s products — Hoolie Coolie shampoo and Hoolie Coolie conditioner. Priced at $16 each, the products come with a magic marker and a name space on the packaging so kids can make the products truly theirs.
Everything was repackaged late last year in bottles and containers that feature a new logo — an illustration of a towel-clad Mine girl with flowers in her hair and a daisy between her teeth.
A mud styling product and a gel for men will be added within the next four weeks.
Mine is sold in more than 20 stores and spas, ranging from the Beauty First Salon in Dallas to the Scarlett boutique in New Hope, Pa. Sephora started selling the line this March in 14 locations.
According to industry sources, Mine is expected to do more than $1 million at retail in 2000. Hume might just hit that target, as she’s modeling her company on one of the industry’s leaders in the bath and body care segment — Kiehl’s.
“I read an article about Kiehl’s, and it talked about how generous they are with samples,” said Hume. “Every time I go out to dinner, I carry samples with me. If I’m at a bar, I give samples to everyone in there. I’ve gotten so many clients that way.”