Beauty Industry Veteran Robert Schaeffler recently joined DevaCurl, a curl-centric hair care brand that was launched 25-years ago, as their new CEO. “As a brand that has been able to achieve and maintain a high level of authenticity by attracting a broad, multi-cultural, and digitally-savvy curly community – we have a hugely exciting opportunity to build on that momentum,” said Schaeffler. “Now is the time to excite, inspire and build the business into the global leader of curly hair.”
With a proven track record for delivering growth, Schaeffler has hit the ground running. We asked him to point out some of his priorities for the year and going forward.
MODERN SALON: What is your focus for 2019 at DevaCurl?
ROBERT SCHAEFFLER: I think it’s normal in any brand journey that in chapter one, the focus is all around the founder and the products. In stage two, you bring in professional management and you can get pulled into the world of the end consumer.
The job now, in chapter three, is to ask, if we want to scale this brand what are the key levers—and that is our professional heritage. We were founded by two stylists in New York. Once you see our educators out in the field, when you see our salons, these are our key differentiators. DevaCurl 3.0 is all about focusing on the professional and showing them the love and delivering the support they deserve.
Another focus of this next chapter is enhancing the salon experience. We want to upgrade by bringing some digital aspects into the salon and making it a much more tailored experience. Also, we’re so proud of our hair transformation so we envision more exploration and use of our social media channels to tell our story and share these DevaCurl transformations.
We do not have a head of education so we’re looking to fill that role. That’s a key one to get right; you need someone who understands both the digital landscape and someone who understands the stylist community.
MS: Please talk about your emphasis on education.
RS: We have some excellent advanced education and I see the New York Academy becoming even more important for us. Our classes sell out immediately so that tells us there is huge demand for education around the cutting and care of curls. We want to add more days, more variety of classes, and more trend-based education. We’re not short of ideas, it is just a matter of prioritizing.
DevaCurl has such a vibrant, online community and we want to expand curl education to a majority of stylists out there through our digital and social channels because we know that’s where they live.
MS: How does DevaCurl plan to cultivate and grow this community?
RS: In a variety of ways but it will certainly include innovation that keeps the stylist in the front and center. We want to collaborate with them to be a force in the industry and someone that gives back to the stylist community. Being DevaCurl certified is a clear label of integrity and quality of education.
We’re not product-first or sell-first because we are serving the needs of the curly girl, first and foremost. It comes down to the relationship between a curly girl and the original influencer, her stylist. If her stylist recommends the product and shows her how to use it, then she is happy and confident with how she looks and feels.
And for stylists, if you know how to cut and care for curls then you are going to fulfill an unbelievable need in the market. You’re going to increase your net pay, your salary, and your business because this is an underserved aspect of hair and you’ll be a sought-after expert.
MS: Final words?
RS: It is so powerful to witness that emotional connection between the curly girl and the stylist in the salon, and how important that professional piece is to making our products come to life. I saw this little girl, maybe five years old, with this gorgeous head of curly hair, and after her service, she was beaming and smiling and almost crying tears of joy. That made me fall in love with the brand.
The message we really want to send to the industry and to the community is we appreciate how much they support us and how much love they give to us. We have not forgotten them and in this next chapter, we want to give the love back.
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