Last month it was reported that John Paul Mitchell Systems (JPMS), a leader in the professional haircare industry, promoted Jason Yates to serve as its new vice president of sales and marketing. In addition to overseeing the marketing division, a position he has held for over three years, Yates is now heading up global sales, leading a sales team of over seventy professionals in the field.
Yates began his career 25 years ago as a hairdresser in the UK, working his way up from salon apprentice to manager, ultimately becoming the managing director for a group of 22 salons. MODERN SALON asked Yates, who joined JPMS as the vice president of marketing in 2012, what he sees ahead for Paul Mitchell as the brand celebrates 35 years in business.
MS: In announcing your new role, the press release quoted John Paul DeJoria, co-founder of John Paul Mitchell Systems, as saying you will take Paul Mitchell to the “next level”—what does that mean to you?
JY: The next level, to me, is about two things. First, looking at our existing customer base and how we enable them to become more successful and I believe we do that not only with new products and amazing education but by really helping them become better, more successful business owners. One of the steps we’ve taken this year was hosting our first ever Business rEvolution seminar, which is our ongoing commitment to helping salons grow their business to be more successful in their place of work. Ultimately it doesn’t matter how much product we have to offer, if hairdressers don’t have the knowledge to become better retailers than their business will struggle to grow.
Second, where I believe we can get to the next level is through new customers. We do this by having a larger offering and portfolio of brands that attract different types of salons. Not all salons are created equally, just as all stylists are different and looking for certain type of brand that fits them. At Paul Mitchell, we are not a one-dimensional company. We have seven different brands with each one having a different type of salon and customer it appeals to. The more we pursue that, the more we will be able to take the company to the next level.
MS: What was your impression or perception of Paul Mitchell before you came to work with the company? What is your experience now?
JY: I’ve always had the utmost respect for the brand. It’s an iconic brand with a very good reputation. I noticed a cult-following. People that were in the Paul Mitchell circle stayed there and that speaks volumes about the brand’s commitment and dedication to those customers.
I would say as I started to get involved at the company, I quickly realized that Paul Mitchell is the best kept secret. Our dedication to the professional industry is unique and sets us far apart for the competition.
Q: You have introduced some incredible tools, recently, with truly advanced technology. How do you think hairdressers evaluate tools and make their purchasing decisions?
JY: Hairdressers want something that is tangible and that they ‘get.’ They don’t want to have to try to understand technology or marketing lingo and our job is to harness the very best in technology but make it simple and easy for them to understand. And that’s really what Neuro is all about: intelligent styling, tools that work, that are smarter and make their job easier. Tools that enable them to work at a quicker pace with consistency in performance, a superior product that helps them provide the best guest experience.
MS: In addition to marketing, you are now heading up global sales. Would you say you are a marketing driven or a sales driven company?
JY: I think we are an education driven company. Sales and marketing and education being in alignment is vitally important because everything we do is geared towards helping make hairdressers be more successful. Our main focus is hairdressers and education.
MS: John Paul DeJoria has put the company in a trust so that it will stay in the professional salon market. How does Paul Mitchell put the hairdresser front and center?
JY: As a hairdresser myself, I think it’s very exciting and appealing to me. As a salon owner or stylist, I can see why they would want to partner with Paul Mitchell. We are, and will always be, dedicated to the professional hairdresser. It’s the most important thing to us as a company.