Memo Exclusive: An Interview with Condition Culture's Donya Litowitz
An entrepreneur and professional with more than 15 years of experience, Donya Litowitz, chief executive officer of Condition Culture, uses her years of branding and project start-up experience to lead the beauty and pet products company she founded in 2010. She was part of the launch of the global trend of feather hair extensions with Featherlocks.
Condition Culture includes a variety of hair and pet accessories including Puppylocks, Knotties, Tassel and Tassel Tattoos, and Colorsmash temporary hair color. Recently Litowitz spoke with MODERN SALON about the success she has had with Colorsmash Color Kissed Hairspray, a spray-on temporary hair color that won an award for its packaging innovation.
MS: What does the term “Condition Culture” represent?
DL: Condition Culture was founded with the idea that self-expression should be easy and accessible for everybody. We create products that allow for individual style and that create a culture of beautiful. We were founded with my twin sister who is a hairstylist (and no longer part of the company) and we wanted to offer products and accessories that stylists for can recommend to their clients because they are the experts. People expect their salons to know about the next emerging trend.
MS: The feather extension craze was huge and you were poised to capture it with Featherlocks. Are you seeing a resurgence in the trend?
DL: We were considered the originators of the feather extension. We were first to market and are still the only professional brand for feather hair extensions. We negotiated an exclusive with the highest quality feather farm before everyone jumped in. We have had steady sales--not like 2010 and 2011--but there is still a surge every spring and summer and we sell very heavily in Europe. Other markets don’t chew up and spit out trends like the US does. In other areas, the life cycle is much longer.
MS: Colorsmash Color Kissed Hairspray won the first U.S. ADF&PCD New York Packaging Innovation Award for hair care/hair color. Tell us more about it and about the success you’ve had with Colorsmash.
DL: It was surprising but so gratifying because we’re such a new brand. The actuator in the packaging is what allows for the innovative formulation of the spray. It is the first direct color application delivered in an aerosol without the use of iron oxides. It is delivered as a very fine mist that applies a very even, professional-looking color that won’t transfer. The formulation is translucent so you still see the natural high and low lights in the hair. It also features sparkling luster, brighter color and higher chroma than natural mica-based particles.
We are working with independent distributors and selling direct to salons, and looking to expand distribution.
MS: How are salons using and offering Colorsmash?
DL: We suggest it as a service in the salon, priced similar to how they might price a blow dry service. Hairstylists apply the product at the salon and the client takes home the bottle. It’s good as a finishing spray because it does have a light hold.
We’re adding to the color variety and our next release in spring is going to be a teal. We are developing some other new colors and some innovative products that will complement the color spray and the brand in general.
MS: What’s going to be the next big thing in beauty?
DL: The next big thing in beauty will be the continued health-conscious focus. The future is going to be about not just anti-aging but about finding more and new ways to take care of yourself, overall. We have, for instance, added nutrients in our hairspray because we know that the health and the look of the hair are equally important.
MS: How do you support your efforts and how are you reaching the hairdresser?
DL: We are supporting with advertising, with a presence at trade shows, and with lots of education. When we work with distributors we learn their model and find out how we can help them. We’ll participate in sales meetings, provide sales kits—whatever best works for them. Slowly, we’ll be building out a network of educators.