Connecting with Spilo: Updates and Interview with Mark Spilo

Los Angeles-based Spilo Worldwide is overseen and owned by CEO Marc Spilo who took the reins from the founder, his father, Charles Spilo.  A manufacturer, importer and distributer, the Spilo portfolio of brands includes Master Barber, Mehaz Professional and Flowery Beauty. MODERN asked Marc Spilo to share his thoughts on his business today.  Vice President of Marketing Nikola Cline was also invited to talk about a recent rebranding effort.  

 M: How has your business evolved over the years?  Spilo has been in business for a very long time – what are the biggest challenges your company has faced in recent years?

S: It’s true, our business continues to change, which is essential to it thriving. Our goal is to build on the legacy of integrity, creativity and service that started 73 years ago by Charles Spilo, my father. Today and in the future, staying true to those core values is what will help take our business to the next level.

Each and every day my team and I focus on bringing the very best of beauty to our customers- whether it’s developing it ourselves or partnering with other exceptional brands. Staying fresh and current is a big challenge, but it’s one we fully embrace. Our industry demands products that are high performance and speak to the exciting trends happening in fashion, beauty and design. I’m proud to say we have risen to meet those challenges.

M: Distribution has consolidated enormously in the past decade, how has that effected your business model?

S: Our diversification helps keep us nimble. Success lies in having unique products and programs that help support various business models and not just one path. We are able to offer our customers a full spectrum of unique products, at a variety of price points, which have a point of difference in today’s crowded beauty landscape.

 M: How do you see the internet impacting distribution of professional products?

Technology has been a driving force in our industry for some time now. We’ve embraced it at Spilo by offering a more extensive web presence and online ordering system for our professional customers. We debuted a brand new web site in July. But the worlds of professional and consumer are certainly not as clear cut as they used to be. Our job is to start with experience and relationships first and develop a responsible distribution model that supports the professional channel.

M: You have a portfolio of brands that you own – do you see acquiring more brands in the future and if so, what product categories do you find attractive moving forward?

S: Our brand portfolio is the heart of our company- in fact, we recently refreshed over 400 skus in five of our signature brands to get us where we want to be today and in the future. We’re always open and looking for new hair, skin and nail brands to acquire, as well as to grow brands here at Spilo. Our team has the ingenuity and experience to both create and grow brands.

M: How is the health of beauty stores, what are the challenges your customers are facing?

S: They’re growing!  The convenience stores offer is attractive to many people in our industry. The magic will be in stores that not only have the right product assortment, but an experience that creates loyalty and offers expert knowledge within the community in which they sell.

M: Are there new channels of distribution that you are looking at?

S: We’re always interested in distribution best practices and how our industry is evolving. One thing I can tell you is that we remain committed to the professional industry.

 M: Why do you think there has been a resurgence in barbering, and what opportunities do you see in that category?

S: The new trends in barbering over the past few years are incredibly exciting! The style directly reflects what’s happening in fashion- tailored suits, bespoke details and a groomed, less organic look.

Our connection with barbering has certainly developed- we’ve got a great network we communicate with regularly on new product development and, generally, what’s happening in the industry. Quality is of utmost concern for this discerning group, as it is for us here at Spilo. We’ve been excited about new developments in razor blades, like the new 25% sharper Personna blades, as well as expanding our line of products under our Master Barber brand. Barbering tools are getting better and better! All of the products we feature for barbers are in a special Spilo Barber Shop catalog we put out twice annually.

 M: Nikola Cline (vice president of marketing), will you please share a bit about the rebranding that Mark Spilo mentioned?  How long did it take, what was the process, and why was it felt necessary at this time?

C: After joining Spilo in fall of 2013, I quickly realized that we had untapped opportunities within our product and brand catalog. Great brands are about bringing a memorable experience so we updated packaging, refreshed our branding and developed a whole host of new products that are trend-driven and truly exciting.

Refreshing 400 skus at one time is a herculean task, but my amazing team brought the muscle to do it and the imagination to really innovate. Every single product was considered. We made product upgrades, added reusable packaging, and introduced new items wherever possible. Marketing, Purchasing and Sales worked hand in hand to make it all happen smoothly- it was a massive undertaking, the biggest refresh in Spilo history for sure. And it all happened in eight months. I have a deep admiration for their knowledge and talent. They made the impossible look incredible!

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