Ratner Companies' Rodney Cutler Talks Salon Education, Brand Creativity
Rodney Cutler courtesy of Ratner Companies.
Ratner Companies operates nearly 1,000 salons in 16 states, employs more than 12,000 stylists and includes a number of salon brands, including Hair Cuttery, Bubbles, Salon Cielo, Salon Plaza, and Cibu for Hair.
Started by Dennis Ratner, CEO and founder, Ratner Companies is one of the largest family-owned salon businesses in the industry today. They work to develop the salon professionals in their family of brands by keeping them inspired and engaged. To that end, Ratner Companies recently announced that Rodney Cutler has joined them as new Artistic Director. A celebrity stylist, salon owner, and Redken brand ambassador, Cutler will lead Ratner Companies in the development of key trends and lead the education team in bringing those trends to life. In his role, he will set creative direction for all platforms, from on-line video to in-salon visual assets, and lead education for the salon chain.
"I am particularly drawn to Ratner Companies because of its genuine commitment to the development of its salon professionals," Cutler says. "I am truly excited about the special heritage of the company, which was built by salon professionals Dennis and Ann Ratner, for salon professionals. I look forward to supporting the Ratner team as it continues to focus on elevating the salon experience and the craft of hair dressing.”
An Australian native, Rodney settled in New York City in 1992, and found a home with cutting edge Bumble and bumble Salon where he rapidly rose to be one of their top stylists. In 2001, Cutler opened his own salon. Now, with five salons in New York City, Cutler and his team work on more than 20 top shows each season at Fashion Week.
“We are thrilled to welcome Rodney into our Ratner Companies’ family of brands,” says Phil Horvath, president and COO of Ratner Companies. “His passion, artistry and noted ability to cultivate and shape today’s foremost trends in hair will align perfectly with Ratner’s continued brand evolution. Rodney will play a pivotal role in the ongoing creative elevation of our salon professionals and the expansion of our presence in the beauty and fashion industries.”
MODERN spoke with Cutler about what excites him as he joins this new crew and his approach to creating a collection and to working with a new crew.
MS: You joined Ratner Companies in April. What have you been concentrating on in that time?
RC: I’m fitting into their already-established dynamic, adding my expertise, and just trying to elevate it. I don’t have the authority to do whatever I want and if I did, it would be a failure. What I’ve found is we will get better results when we come together as a group.
We are looking to create a new collection that speaks to the hairdresser and to the consumer. We have to ask, how do you find a message that can be communicated through education that is inspiring and approachable? One that women and men will walk into the salon and say, I want that look, I want that haircut.
I think to work with vertical integration is critical. We are all on board, working together from day one. When we come up with a collection, the critical thing is that the whole company starts to feel a connection to the creative process and there is a reason for it.
MS: How do you approach the collection, concept to creation?
RC: Well, we always look at what is going on in the fashion world, the beauty world and who the brand is, already. What we don’t want to say is that red is in, bangs are in, and just throw it out there and leave it. We’re working collectively with marketing, creative, and education to flesh it out.
The other thing you must think about from a creative standpoint is where the brands sit on the cycle. We have to be strategic with what we release and when. Is it a brand that gets something before everyone else or is it a brand that needs a trend to become mainstream before trying it on? It’s about understanding the client base, the hairdresser, and the brand.
MS: Any changes in the works for education?
RC: Education is already working well but anytime new people come into an organization, it’s an exciting to start working together and to talk about what we want to do. We have had many conversation about being more progressive in the digital space. It’s not just about quality content but about delivering it in an effective way so that stylists will absorb and learn it well.