Byline: Andrea M. Grossman

NEW YORK — A partnership between John Frieda Professional Hair Care and an unlikely retailer — Tower Records — has yielded a business deal making beauty a permanent fixture alongside CDs.
According to Kevin Winnik, director of trends and special projects for Tower Records, John Frieda’s hair care products sold so well in Tower Records stores over the past two months that the chain is planning to sell Frieda’s products throughout next year, instead of terminating the project after Christmas, as originally planned.
In addition, Tower is also considering stocking other vendors, such as hair color products by Clairol, Winnik noted.
Shipments of John Frieda products and customized displays arrived at 81 Tower Record stores in August. Sales have exceeded expectations.
“They are doing fantastic,” Winnik said. Stores have “gone through 40 percent of stock, and 35 of the 81 stores have already done reorders, some as many as four reorders,” Winnik added. That would roughly translate into an initial sell-through of at least $45,000.
Each store ordered an initial 92 units of hair kits filled with trial-size products — dubbed Rock ‘n’ Roll Hair Kits — which are geared to customers wanting to copy the jagged, full-bodied, rough-around-the-edges look of their favorite rock stars, such as Jon Bon Jovi and Courtney Love.
Several individual stockkeeping units of John Frieda products were sent, too.
Good thing, since sales data revealed that Funky Chunky texturizer — a leave-in gel that defines sections of hair by creating a chunky look — became the number- one selling John Frieda product in Tower Records stores. Behind sales of Funky Chunky is the Sparkle and Shine Rock ‘n’ Roll Hair Kit, which includes a 2-oz. container of Secret Weapon styling creme, a sample-size bottle of Frizz Ease and multicolored hair clips. The kit retails for $6.99 and Funky Chunky retails for $5.50.
The deal to sell hair products in Tower Records came to light earlier this year when Ken Baumstein, vice president of marketing for John Frieda, used his connections in the music industry to see if hair care could fit in with a music retailer’s product mix. Baumstein, who was a senior marketing executive for 15 years at a number of record companies, including RCA and EMI, tapped Tower Records first.
“[This] helps John Frieda reach a potential customer base in a different environment, separating John Frieda from the competition,” Baumstein said of the partnership’s potential.
Luckily, Tower Records was looking for a partnership itself, one that would help beef up its low female customer base.
“One of our main focuses was to develop a [program] to attract females and we were trying to find the right hot and trendy manufacturer. It was tough,” said Winnik, who explained that 70 percent of Tower Records customers are male.
Stefanie Gendreau, general manager for Tower Records’ Seattle store on Mercer Street, said the displays catch the attention of “women waiting in line” and that the displays make “shopping more interesting.”
Gendreau’s store has made four reorders of John Frieda product.
“I think it fits right with the atmosphere of the store. We have sold many different types of products like action figures and sunglasses. It fits right in like when we sold CK One.” Tower Records is now looking at revamping the John Frieda program for next year. “We will keep it in next year, but change the graphics and signage for the stores and displays,” Winnik said.