When she learned that she was being interviewed for a profile on her education team, Schwarzkopf US Education Director Linda Gilbride knew that she would be pulling out one of her favorite phrases: Team Work Makes the Dream Work. Gilbride, a hairdresser from a family of hairdressers and salon owners, oversees all educational aspects of the brand, working with their global partner, Henkel, in Germany, and with their North American partners in Canada. She was brought on board the Schwarzkopf US ship to steer them towards a goal—that of capturing hairdresser’s hearts and minds here in the United States.
“I was so excited to join Schwarzkopf US because of what I was hearing from George about how he wants to position and present us here,” says Gilbride. “George” is George Broder, General Manager of Schwarzkopf US, and the man who built the brand in Canada and who has been chomping at the bit to nurture that growth in the United States.
“George is a visionary and he sees us as the best kept secret in haircolor in the United States. Globally, we are in the top three around the world but here, we are the sleeping giant.” And with an amped up Education Team and a clear, concise message, Schwarzkopf looks wide awake and raring to go.
Gilbride is ramping up her Education Department and has built a management team that is dividing the US with a goal toward conquering it. “The Education Department consists of 17 people internally. We have National Education Managers for the east and the west and a National Corporate Trainer. We’ve created a clear, concise and consistent message of our brand that is being carried out.”
Field teams are supported by an Education Coordinator, a Technical Hotline, National Education Manager for BSG and internal administration. In addition, they have a Regional Educational Management Team—five on the east coast and five on the west. “We have our veterans and our fresh faces bringing our rich history and new flavor together. It is a beautiful balance,” says Gilbride.
Gilbride credits her Technical Advisors (“We call them our Message Carriers”) in salons around the country with sharing the Schwarzkopf philosophy. “We are always looking to expand our team with hairdressers who share our team philosophy and our passion for hair. We grow our company through word of mouth and our TA’s are our best advertisement.
Schwarzkopf has also created relationships with top stylists and spokespeople. “We have several very talented people that represent us on stage and those that train for our Essential Looks or EL Collection, our trend collection that we release twice a year. It is based on runway fashion and our team in Germany puts that all together. It’s what Schwarzkopf is known for throughout the world and we want that same excitement to be felt here.”
“We work with Michael Duenas who is so charismatic, he goes to celeb guests and on PR tours. Kim Vo is our ‘Blonde Ambassador’ for our entire blonding portfolio. And Nicole Hartman is our talented Fashion Director.”
At a recent week long, company-wide conference held in Santa Barbara , the sales and education teams worked together on team building exercises. “We’ve already had a big year for such a new team, “says Gilbride. “We relaunched our IGORA and VIVIANCE lines which was a huge undertaking. On the back half, we’re introducing some exceptional styling and care products that will broaden our portfolios. It all comes down to quality products that perform backed by a rich history. That is what we want our partners to understand.“