Category Climber: Exclusive Interview with 12 Benefits' Troy Maier
The brands that fall under the 12 Benefits Group umbrella all share a similar reason for being—to help hairstylists improve their craft and their experience while performing it. Founder and President Troy Maier and his team combine 60 years of professional salon industry knowledge that includes experience at every level or production, including research and development and manufacturing. Their home base is Tampa, Florida. The 12 Benefits products include five SKUs aimed at protecting, polishing and perfecting hair without the use of sulfates, glutens, salt, formaldehyde based preservatives, animal ingredients and petrochemicals. They also boast multiple benefits. For more on this brand and the others in the group, MODERN SALON spoke with Maier.
When was the company started?
“I founded our company, 12 Benefits Group, in 2009 and started selling the 12 Benefits brand in 2010. We have three brands and in addition to 12 Benefits we have Mad About Color, color refreshing blow dry creams and stand + deliver, compression knee-highs for beauty professionals.”
What was your launch strategy for 12 Benefits?
“We began with only one flagship multi-benefit product that every stylist could use to deliver treatment blowouts and a product customers could use at home to perfect her hair. This product is called 12 Benefits Instant Healthy Hair Treatment.”
How were you received?
“We began in 2010 with one distributor from the Midwest of the U.S. with tremendous success. Stylists tried 12 Benefits, loved its performance and transferred their enthusiasm to their customers. In 2011 we signed on with SalonCentric and have enjoyed tremendous growth.”
Who are the key executives at 12 Benefits?
“In the spirit of my maternal grandfather’s business, Kenra, my own company, 12 Benefits Group is also a family business. My uncle, who has been a cosmetic chemist for nearly 50 years is our chief scientist. My immediate family members also work with me.
What need did you see in the market that you thought 12 Benefits could fill?
“True innovation is rare in professional beauty. Marketing expertise is how many brands become successful. On a personal visit with my uncle at his laboratory, he showed me a product that was rejected for launch in 2007 by the company for whom he was VP of R&D after the sale of my grandfather’s company, Kenra. My uncle believed his formula was the best daily hair treatment he had made during his career mostly because it had numerous capabilities. He was convinced its performance was unmatched in the conditioning category. Now we have five multi-benefit products and a robust pipeline of innovative formulas waiting to launch.”
How are you reaching the hairdresser?
“We have partnered with the distributor SalonCentric and a few other independent distributors. We also enjoy limited direct-to-consumer relationships with niche retailers such as Urban Outfitters. We also attend a variety of industry trade events and simple word-of-mouth has been advantageous for our company.”
Are you actively seeking distributors?
“Yes. I regularly speak to other independently owned family distributors about the multi-benefit category. Recently, we signed on with Modern Beauty Supply for distribution in Canada.”