Memo Exclusive: An Interview with Karl- Heinz Pitsch, Sexy Hair President and CEO
The Sexy Hair Tribe gathered during the week of January 22, 2017 in Torrance, CA to talk about what’s coming in 2017 and to celebrate some important milestones. Karl- Heinz Pitsch, Sexy Hair president and CEO, was understandably proud of the million-dollar mark his team had hit for their fundraising efforts on behalf of the support program, Look Good Feel Better. The Sexy Hair educators, sales executives and members of the leadership team have all contributed to this six year campaign. Here Pitsch shares some of the other high-points from 2016 and talks about his plans for the year to come.
MS: You achieved a major fundraising milestone this year. Tell us about your work with Look Good Feel Better.
KHP: Look Good Feel Better is a free, public service support program that helps people with cancer deal with the appearance side effects of cancer treatment. The Sexy Hair family has held walk-a-thons, cut-a-thons, and warehouse sales to fundraise and support the good work happening through Look Good, Feel Better. Giving back has always been part of our culture; we believe that caring is sexy. The side-effects of cancer and the treatments can be devastating. The mission of Look Good, Feel Better aligns with what we do, too. We both want to empower women to be their best selves.
During our annual walk-a-thon at the Santa Monica beach, we show solidarity and support for those who have been afflicted with cancer. We wear shirts with the names of friends, family members and colleagues who are battling or who have lost their fight to cancer. We show up for them.
MS: Tell us about the launch of the new marketing campaign we’ll be seeing soon in trade magazines.
KHP: Michael O’Rourke, an iconic stylist and educator, was the founder of Sexy Hair Concepts and he also designed our cutting system, Structure in Motion, in collaboration with Rafe Hardy, our artistic director. Michael always encouraged stylists to explore their creative potential. So with this new campaign, we are staying true to our beginnings and emphasizing the important role of the hairdresser. We put the salon stylist front and center.
Our new imagery features the model in a stylist’s red chair, sending the message that our focus is on the professional. We also show more elaborate, artistic hair because we were really inspired by our teams and their talent. The artists on the photo shoot had earned the privilege of being there and we are so happy to be showcasing their work in this new campaign.
MS: You are ramping up your educational offerings and your trade show presence.
KHP: Yes, we’re going back stronger into trade shows in the coming year. If you want to reach out to stylists that is the place to go. We’ll be doing 33 shows in the US and many more internationally. It is double what we did two years ago. We’re also doing much more education in stores. In our industry, we all say that education is important but this is a goal we have been working toward for two years and we will be keeping our educators very busy. Our education is done on a regional basis and we cover the nation so it is affordable and attainable. We want stylists to think about Sexy Hair first when they think about haircutting and styling education.
MS: Can you give us a brief rundown of some of your first quarter launches?
KHP: In January, Sexy Hair introduced Long Sexy Hair, a line specifically for extension-wearers and women with long hair to add moisture, shine and to promote detangling.
Over 140 educators will be covering the country to demonstrate the new tools from Sexy Hair which we are launching in February. They include Style Lock Pro-Hair Dryer with Sensor, Smooth Lock Pro Flat Iron and Curl Lock Pro. We are very excited to be offering these tools.
Also in February, Sexy Hair’s Express Yourself Challenge will be launching. This is a styling challenge and a chance to win a trip to the Alternative Hair Show in London.
Then in March, we’re introducing Glow Getter Root Glitter Gel, which is an iridescent glitter gel in a squeeze tube with sponge tip applicator.
MS: You will be joining other Henkel North American professional hair care brands in a new facility in Culver City, soon. What has changed—if anything—since the acquisition of Sexy Hair by Henkel?
KHP: The acquisition has not really changed how we run Sexy Hair from a sales, marketing and education side. If at all it has enhanced our commitment as a professional salon brand. Henkel bought Sexy Hair to strengthen their presence in the salon industry in North America as well as internationally. Our increased focus in shows and education is a testament of this brand promise.