Family Affair: Three small product companies are making it big in the professional beauty business.
Despite the big boys' domination of the marketplace - Unilever and L'Oreal to name just two - a few indie brands are making an impressive dent in what some consider an already crowded market. Their allure: less saturation in regional marketplaces; little-to-no diversion; and more one-on-one contact with the founders, who are quite often former stylists and/or salon owners. Factor in the detail that consumers are far less brand loyal these days and you've got at least a minor melee in the marketplace. Monitoring the spiraling success of many indie brands, HOT has selected three companies that promise to enjoy fiscal growth and many more devotees in 2011.
Ladies and gentlemen: Start your engines!
18 Months in the Making: Surface
Officially launched in the States in June 2009, Surface is swiftly becoming the wunderkind among new hair companies.
Based on being respectful of the planet, people, and pro-beauty community, family-owned Surface brand is gaining considerable ground in the salon marketplace, thanks to its active, natural-based formulations that deliver results on a par with the most successful, synthetic-sated products on the market. The other key to the company's dynamic success: Wayne Grund, longtime salon owner, stylist and product-maker, who has managed to infuse his love and respect of the pro-beauty industry into every last drop of shampoo, spray and cream.
Surface offerings are divided into five sub-lines:
- Trinity Strengthening uses amaranth, keravis and soy proteins to maximize damage repair.
- Bassu Hydrating infuses moisture and shine with babassu, argan and flax seed oils plus aloe.
- Awake Therapeutic uses botanical extracts, fermented minerals and vegan proteins to improve scalp health and encourage healthy hair growth.
- Surface Styling products deliver targeted results through the use of natural sugars, cornstarch and Tourmaline Kiyoseki Crystal Fusion.
- Smooth & Healthy currently represents a single proteinsmoothing treatment that's void of aldehydes or methylene glycol.
"We're a real, hairdresser-driven company that's based on stylists' needs and clients' demands,” notes Grund. “We're also extremely involved with education that includes hands-on workshops and business seminars, and provide proven salon marketing materials on a monthly basis. As a result, a vast number of our accounts are enjoying double-digit growth, even during these recessive times." (For a listing of classes: SurfaceHair.com/Professional)
|Brand-new Bassu Gold a combination of argan and babassu oils - produces shiny, moist results without any of the weight associated with synthetic or petroleum-based products.||Bassu Hydrating Oil tops the list of the company’s bestselling strengthening and oil products respectively.||Push Styling Powder and Theory Styling Spray are the top styling aids in the Surface lineup.|
Two Years in the Making: Number 4 High Performance Hair Care
One-time Pureology formulator Rick Hough and marketing madam Toni Wells are capturing the imaginations of chic-minded beauty pros with Number 4, a slick, high-performance beauty brand.
To establish the personality and intent of Number 4 High Performance Hair Care, CEO Rick Hough and Brand Director Toni Wells are doing their dead-level best to create a cult following. “Our mission is to provide the best haircare products on the planet, while making Number 4 an object of desire,” beams Wells. “We’re accomplishing this by collaborating with leading scientists around the world and infusing our brand with cultural elements that consumers can relate to, embrace and love.”
Simply put, Number 4 products reflect elegant, high-end and active formulations that are super-concentrated, 100% vegan, and sulfate-, paraben- and gluten-free. The company also nixes the use of color-stripping or drying alcohols. In her typical tongue-in-cheek fashion, Wells quips, “We’re also devoid of bad taste and anything that’s toxic to humans, our environment or rare vintage couture.”
To ensure that the brand remains on the leading edge of results and cultural relevancy, “our Number 4 Style Bureau—the trendforecasting arm of our company—frequently collaborates with talented stylists, artists, photographers, environmentalists, fashion designers, and more,” Wells explains. “This information not only helps us to determine where Number 4 will be heading next, but also discover new ways to actively improve the state of our planet.” (To learn how you can participate in the Number 4 Style Bureau, email email@example.com.)
Currently, Number 4 consists of four collections—Essential, Hydrate, Volume and Style—for a total of 17 SKUs. (Intel: Hough reports that the Lumiered’hiver Reconstructing Masque is one of the company’s top sellers.) All products embrace the brand’s proprietary Liquid Complex Culture, which embodies four complexes that collectively provide anti-aging, strengthening, color-preserving, and purifying results. “Although we’ve purposely kept our product numbers within manageable limits, our brand will continue to morph as styles change and technology reaches new milestones,” notes Wells. “In fact, based on feedback received by our Style Bureau, we’re poised to launch a color protection treatment serum.” Release date: first quarter, 2011!
|Volumizing Shampoo and Conditioner are infused with lemongrass, organic oatmeal, golden seal and gooseberry to create conditioned and voluminous strands.||Anti-static and humidity-proof Blow Dry Lotion and Styling Foam contain conditioning resins and soy proteins for hold, strength and stylistic results.|
10 Year Mark: Eufora Int’l
The Bewleys have developed a separate, male-dedicated culture to ensure that Eufora HERO for Men is a sterling success.
Eufora has become a household name—or at least a recognized salon brand—but it didn’t come about without determination, integrity and immeasurable amounts of sweat equity on the parts of founders Don and Beth Bewley.
“We wanted to create a brand that was by and for beauty professionals,” Beth states. “Early on, we developed educational systems, trained many educators and eventually founded the Eufora Academy. And, without exception, we made a vow to strictly support independent salons. We’ve had so many offers along the way to divert or expand the scope of our distribution, but we’ve always—and will always—decline these quick infusions of cash. Don and I have a dream—one that’s being fulfilled every day—by keeping our word to our loyal network of salons and supporters: Eufora stands as a professional brand for the heart of our industry— independent salons.”
Knowing the risks that are intrinsically part of building any product brand—Don had been intimately involved in developing and promoting Aveda in the Ohio area before the Bewley’s briefly considered assuming control of the Aveda distributorship in the San Diego region. “It was a golden opportunity,” Don admits, “but Beth and I soon realized that we wanted to build our own product company…to be completely in control of our mutual destiny.
So what’s different about Eufora Int’l today? Aside from launching a total of 42 Eufora products and rolling out Eufora HERO for Men, not much has changed. “We’re definitely focused on continual innovation of our product lines, but then we’ve always been centered on doing this,” Beth smiles. “Our network of salon owners and stylists have talked to us about their needs from the very onset of founding Eufora and we’ve always listened.”
|Hero is a separate Eufora division that focuses strictly on male clients.||Illuminate Shine Mist and Beautifying Serum are two of Eufora’s top-selling products.|