Louis and Doreen Guarneri, founders of American Culture, have spent their lives in the professional salon industry. Louis’ parents were distributors and hairdressers. Doreen followed her life’s dream and became a hairdresser. They have been “a couple” since high school and recently spoke with MODERN SALON about the beauty industry in general and their company in particular, especially the new Pure NV Botanical Keratin Therapy products.

MS: WHO IS AMERICAN CULTURE?

DOREEN AND LOUIS GUARNERI: American Culture is a family-owned company, founded by hairdressers (both of us) and devoted to making products that help hairdressers improve their lives and business. We use ingredients that, first and foremost, respect the health and integrity of the hair. Simply Smooth is our line of keratin smoothing treatments and hair maintenance products formulated with botanical extracts to work with the hair’s own keratin. We develop all our products to meet the needs of working professionals and we stay focused on doing what is best for the hairdresser: high performance products and high quality education.

MS: DESCRIBE YOUR NEWEST PRODUCT, PURE NV.

DG AND LG: Pure NV is a line of botanical keratin therapy care and treatment products that we developed in response to the constantly evolving news and reports surrounding keratin treatments. Pure NV is free of parabens, sulfates and sodium chloride. There is a real awareness of allergic sensitivities so we formulated the Pure NV line to be free of all potentially problem ingredients. Pure NV is an aromatherapy product with great fragrances and is supportive of hair that has had color or keratin services. For us, 2011 was, to a large degree, a year of keeping up with the almost constant evolution of the keratin category’s changing regulations. We took what we learned and put it into Pure NV.

MS: WHAT DISTRIBUTOR SUPPORT DO YOU OFFER?

LG: My family was in the distribution business and my parents put all their efforts into a brand, which they lost. Then they went with an unknown brand called Matrix and with the mentorship of Matrix Founder Arnie Miller, their whole life and career changed.

We built Pure NV as a brand for the independent distributor and it will stay with the independent distributor. We offer a long-term contract and assurances they will not lose the business.

DG: I provide training at each new distributor launch. Most of our education right now is offered through distributors. I have been traveling almost non-stop of late with Simply Smooth launching internationally in Spain, Ukraine and Russia.

MS: TELL US ABOUT YOUR TIES TO THE SALON INDUSTRY.

DG: We began dating when we were 13 and 14. I always wanted to be a hairdresser. Lou’s family owned a distributorship, so through my boyfriend, I was introduced to the industry. Lou and I both went to beauty school. Lou went to learn more about the industry and I went to work behind the chair. We like to say he wanted to talk the talk and I wanted to walk the walk.

I still see many long-time clients at our company salon, American Culture The Look Salon. The salon is established in the community and has a very diverse clientele. American Culture products are developed and tested in the salon.

LG: Doreen and I look at the business differently, but we combine our strengths to the best advantage for American Culture. I am more focused on profit potential and Doreen’s focus is on making the best products.

MS: WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT THE BEAUTY INDUSTRY?

DG: I love doing hair and I love sharing information, skills and products to help other professionals improve their businesses and become more motivated.

LG: There is nothing I don’t like about this business. My goal is to give back to the industry more than I have received.

MS: ANY OTHER PRODUCTS IN DEVELOPMENT?

DG AND LG: Two new things. We have amazing irons that are made for performing keratin treatments, but can be used for any flatironing service. The tools are called The Cure and are for both in-salon use and retail. The irons are longer and narrower than traditional irons and heat to 450° F.

In 2012 American Culture is launching a hair color line, Pure Color. Pure Color is simplified and reduces inventory with only 60 shades. Like all American Culture products, Pure Color is keratin and botanical based and has something that hair color brands haven’t had for a long time: double pigmented shades. In that respect it is similar to older tube color. Pure Color is a tube color and will be packaged in larger tubes to contain several applications. We are excited about 2012.