Another America’s Beauty Show (ABS) has come and gone. It was a good show and a busy weekend for all. Here are my key take-aways and insights from ABS 2014.
The guy haircut category is hotter than ever, but, you knew that - The big guys had big footprints. American Crew looks as strong as ever. The current American Crew collection is one of the best in recent memory. The haircuts are more real and salon marketable than we have come to expect from them. They are real cuts you can REALLY use. Johnny B just keeps getting bigger. This is nice to see as I am a fan of the brand. Not a lot of new product in their world, but the size of their presence keeps growing right along with the enthusiasm for the category.
Hardware gets attention - The clipper brands all were rocking their stages. Whal has new tools. Andis has new packaging and educational content. Oster draws big crowds. Stylists are clamoring for clipper education. Barber shears, razors and other guy related tools were in big demand.
The little guys are everywhere - The guy hair care product game is deep now. Lots of small names are seeking niches in the guy hair care arena. I put me and my ClipperGuy brand in this portion of the conversation. My brand sold well for a first outing on a show floor. The world of the web lets small brands reach far and wide. A narrow niche is a lot wider when you can engage guys from Sydney, Australia to suburban Chicago easily through online social tools.
Shave and skin is coming on strong – The guy category is bigger than firm hold styling gel. I have experienced this with my brand and saw more evidence of it on the show floor. My best selling item at the show was my shave cream. My Flattop wax was hot, too. There was less interest in my shampoo and my standard gel. Guy brands are doing well to look at the hair on the other half of the head. The Duck Dynasty beard has fortunately peaked. Thankfully that trend was short lived, but beard enthusiasm has not abated just yet. Beards are groomed in well and lengths are controlled. Products for beard grooming and conditioning are in high demand.
Stylists are hungry to learn – It appears to be OK for salon pros to claim not to know enough about guy haircuts. This is the exact opposite of hair color. Every beauty school grad is a hair color expert. Stylists are comfortable asking the guy haircut questions. In both my classes the questions were insightful, penetrating and deep. I could easily have just staged a 1 ½ hour Q and A session and it would have been a packed class.
What did you take away form ABS in the guy hair category. Please comment and share here.
I will declare ABS 2014 a big success and look forward to seeing many of you at premiere in just a few months. Safe travels.