Modern Exclusive: Bumble and bumble Looks Forward
The Bumble and bumble (Bb.) brand began as a New York salon, opened by Michael Gordon in 1977, and evolved into a product line now under the Estee Lauder umbrella. Peter Lichtenthal, president of Bumble and bumble at Estee Lauder Companies Inc., shares news on future plans for the brand.
What is your current company-wide focus/mission?
“Bumble and bumble began as a New York City salon in 1977 and everything we do has grown out of that salon culture. The four pillars of our brand – our salon heritage, education foundation, our fashion and editorial expertise and product innovation – begins with the salons. This is why we have such a unique connection to our Bb. Salon Network – we understand what it takes (both the challenges and the triumphs) to run a salon business in today’s challenging world. Additionally, we’ve recently named Laurent Philippon as our global artistic director and we are integrating his creativity and vision into many different areas of the company.
And how do you plan to carry that out in 2015?
“Our focus is, and has always been, on these four key pillars. We ensure that everything we do benefits our Bb Network; we communicate our own New York salon’s best practices and learnings; our educational programs, either at Bb. U or in the field led by our Bb. Live teams are designed to inspire owners, managers and stylists with the best in business and creative education. Our products are developed by and for stylists, while making sure that their clients will love them, too. And we bring the most cutting edge trends and techniques to our network from our work in fashion and editorial -- the real testing ground for new looks. For 2015, we’re going to be bringing new products and education to our network that address current industry trends, and how our network can capitalize on them. For example, the blow dry has become a huge trend. We’re launching a collection of products and two stylist-designed brushes which will allow our network to offer the best in blow dries to their clientele.
What challenges have you faced in recent years due to the economy and how have you weathered them?
“All business, both large and small have been effected by the economy. These challenges have weeded out the more resilient, stronger and responsive brands who have weathered the storm, as have so many salons in our great network. Clients have become more selective across all categories and we have learned that the highest standards of service, connecting with clients in new ways like social media, are the keys to keeping them engaged, while a great cut, color and products will always be fundamental. Still, we need to go further.
How do you reach hairdressers?
“We reach the hairdressers in our network in a number of ways. First, and most importantly, through education. The education which stylists receive at Bb.U is best-in-class, from advanced cutting techniques to styling (both foundational and advanced) as well as personal development. Our ‘styling your career’ class, which enables them to merge their creative careers and their client service, helps stylists think of themselves as ‘brands’ so they can attract and retain clientele. It’s been one of our most successful classes that we’ve ever developed. In the field, our Bb. Live Educators, all trained hairdressers, bring the best of our cutting and styling classes directly to stylists in our network. From classic cutting classes to seasonal trend classes, our Bb.Live program brings the best of Bb. U into salons around the country. We also communicate to stylists via our Bb. Network dedicated website and via social media.
Talk about your education philosophy.
“At Bumble and bumble, we believe that great education can be transformational. Our business education helps owners and managers develop their salon’s culture and delves deeply into how to run a successful salon. Our classes provide insight into increasing salon profit from both service and product sales, motivating their stylists and employees, merchandising, selling techniques, even scheduling. Our creative education inspires stylists to advance their skills in cutting, styling and coloring, as taught by our best stylist educators from our two salons who bring real life experiences from behind the chair and backstage at Fashion Week into the classroom.
What is the advantage to a salon that joins your network?
“There are many advantages, from our extraordinary products, to the time they spend with our business consultants in the field, to in-depth, best-in-class education at Bb U. As a product company that runs two world class salons, we are best equipped to lead our network by example, and share our successes with them. Our heritage of product innovation leads the industry; we create iconic products and even create new categories. We were the first to launch a sea salt styling product with Surf Spray; now there are dozens of imitators. Created by and for hairdressers (and loved by their clients), Bumble and bumble products are a key draw for clients to seek out salons in the Bb. Network.
How important is Fashion Week to the Bumble and bumble story/mission?
“Fashion week, and our work in editorial and connection to the editorial world, is incredibly important and central to our identity and DNA. It keeps us on the leading edge of hairdressing. All our styling products are tested backstage to make sure they meet the exacting standards of our stylist, and we create the trends for the next season. The styles our team create working with some of the world’s leading designers become the basis of education classes, in-salon inspiration, and buzz-building social media content.”