I managed 93 countries before I started this assignment and all are very different in terms of the level of the stylist. In some countries, there is no licensing program while in others they have incredible apprenticeship programs. In the Middle East, beauty is incredibly important and the money they spend is astronomical. In Asia, social media is huge so people are demanding quick access to trends and styles from the US and Europe. Latin America, Brazil and India, it is all about care of the hair and spa treatments for the hair. We’re leveraging what we’re learning in these different markets to reapply it globally.
How do you see ecommerce of salon products evolving in the U.S. market?
It’s opportunistic, it’s becoming a part of the industry and we need to understand what it can become in the future. For me, always, the focus is the stylists. They are at the center of everything we do and we need to be able to reach them. In the U.S., when so many stylists are booth renters, sometimes the best way to reach them is via the convenience of ecommerce but we need to really define how we want to leverage it. Ecommerce is also e-education. We can touch more stylists with technique style education, and more frequently, because it is live and it is immediate.
How can professional products maintain the cachet they have?
One way is through innovation and we have really changed the game, making real step changes. The second way is around creating services. If we just put shampoo in a bottle and sell shampoo, the consumer can purchase that shampoo from whomever they want. But if we create a premium service experience, the salon can charge more and the consumer can walk away with a different experience. That is how we maintain our cachet versus losing it to a transaction that can happen anywhere.
Many of the new successful brands have come from smaller entrepreneurial companies with niche products like oils, nails or keratin products. What innovations will P&G bring to salons?
We were a little worried, actually, because of the amount of incredible innovation that we will be presenting but we will also be spending a lot of time making sure we are supporting it. We’re not going to launch and leave products, we’re going to launch and leverage.
We just introduced Color.id additive for our permanent colors, Koleston Perfect and Illumina Color, which allows you to put color on color without foils and without bleeding; that launch is about changing behavior and about reducing the amount of time that clients spend in the salon. Stylists can really push their artistic talents to the limit.