Memo Exclusive: An Interview with Jackie Yu, the Founder and President of HairArt
Jackie Yu, the founder and president of HairArt
Jackie Yu, the founder and president of HairArt, has been a leading appliance and accessories manufacturer in the marketplace for 30 years. He has his roots in hair.
“I’ve been exposed to the business since I was a young boy,” Yu says. “My father began exporting hairnets to the U.S. and Europe in 1935. I learned how to process human hair at an early age and how to make wigs and hairpieces. I am the second generation in my family in the hair industry.”
The HairArt corporate offices and warehouse are located in Gardena, CA. MODERN SALON asked Yu, a respected industry veteran, to weave together the strands of his developing business with highlights of important events.
· In 1967: When I was 17, my older brother and I opened our first human hair wigs factory in China. After eight years, we closed the factory due to strong competition with South Korea.
· In 1976: My wife Doris and I moved from Hong Kong to Los Angeles. Once we felt familiar with the U.S. market and American culture, after about two years, we started our first HairArt Hair Replacement Center in Hollywood.
· In 1984: We started to import beauty tools like perm rods and opened an import division. MODERN SALON magazine even featured three full pages of our HairArt perm rods in an editorial.
· In 1985: HairArt created six extra-large rollers for setting the hair. These new tools replaced the beer cans some stylists were using at the time to set hair.
· In 1988: HairArt imported high-quality shears from Taiwan at a reasonable price. They were a huge hit! Now, most import companies purchase shears from Taiwan.
MS: What was the order of introduction for your different brands?
JY: HairArt began to import quality appliances from Korea in 1990. Our H3000 appliance line includes flat irons, hair dryers, brushes and clips, all from South Korea. The iTech collection of appliances and brushes are all in a color blend of red and white, with superior performance. HairArt now includes the H3000, iTech and T3 collection, featuring a selection of flat irons and blow dryers.
We are the only company in the world that offers 100% Virgin European hair mannequins. We have the largest selection, from budget to deluxe mannequins.
HairArt also introduced the HairArt Razarte, a razor designed by renowned hairstylist Hisahiro Yamamoto to revolutionize the way stylists can cut hair. It cuts at a perfect 45° angle, has an ergonomic handle for improved handling and styling, a unique head design for safety and ease of use, it is made of durable aluminum alloy, and uses an easy to change stainless steel double edge blade. We are proud to say it was a winner of the coveted Japan Good Design Award.
The hair extensions industry is growing quickly and has become one of the most profitable services for salons. Invisi-Tab Hair Extensions is a brand under the HairArt umbrella. The HairArt team and Ron King, a L’Oréal educator and salon owner in the Four Seasons Resident Hotel in Austin, TX, created 100% Virgin European Tape Hair Extensions, the only 100% Virgin European hair extensions in the world.
Two other growing categories are wigs and hair pieces. Our House of European Hair brand also has 100% Virgin European wigs, hairpieces and extensions.
MS: Where do you source your hair? What changes have you seen over the years in terms of supply and demand?
JY: Most raw human hair comes from China and India. Recently, however, fewer women are donating or selling their hair there and high-quality raw hair that is able to lift to a blonde color is becoming very rare.
HairArt sources hair from the U.S., Europe and South America. Our hair comes in different colors and textures and we offer virgin colors with the cuticle intact.
MS: Please describe your education to the hairdresser and how you reach them.
JY: Education is the key to success! HairArt offers classes on hair extensions, custom wigs and hair pieces as well as on razor and scissor cutting. We promote our classes at trade shows and on social media.
MS: What is something I have not asked that you would like the MODERN SALON audience to understand about HairArt?
JY: Charity is very important to us at HairArt. Since 2007, we have been donating 10% of the sales of our H3000 Pink Flat irons, blow dryers and brush collection to the National Cancer Society.
And as far back as 1985, we have donated free, or at our cost, custom wigs to low-income families who have children suffering with Alopecia.