Industry driving force behind Olaplex and Prestige Hair Care Trends – WWD

Skinification, premiumization and ritualization are the trends driving the premium haircare industry, said JuE Wong, CEO of Olaplex.

“Women today are asking – if I can get this much for my skincare, why can’t I do the same? [for hair], especially since the scalp is a continuation of the skin, ”said Wong, discussing skinification – referring to the rise of sophisticated formulas used in hair care products that have typically been used in skincare. skin.

“The other thing is, when you’re ready to look at hair skinning, you’re also willing to pay a bit more,” she added, speaking with WWD Editor-in-Chief Allison. Collins.

Consumers are willing to pay a higher price for technological, quality, and results-oriented products that work, she told the crowd. And, as with skin care, there is an element of ritual that is adopted with hair care, keeping a consumer coming back.

Founded by Dean Christal in 2014, Olaplex – a patented, bonding hair brand – made headlines this year after its initial public offering on the Nasdaq, raising a $ 1.8 billion IPO with a valuation of about $ 16 billion. The company expects it to end the fiscal year with at least $ 580 million in net sales.

“The majority of this growth is in our core customers and core growth products,” Wong said.

A major key to the brand’s success – now a team of 120 people (all working remotely since 2014) – has been linked to its initial popularity in the professional hair community who used Olaplex on their clients to repair color damaged hair. and discoloration. In fact, 35% of Olaplex customers are professionally referred, Wong revealed.

“They’re ready to refer their customers to us, whether it’s online or in-store, and 50% of our direct customers have actually told us that they also buy from professional and specialty retailers,” she said. . “So this synergistic omnichannel is really powerful. “

The business world provides the brand with “authority and credibility,” Wong added, while specialty retailers like Sephora build brand awareness and the direct-to-consumer channel provides consumer insight.

The company is looking to develop its flagship product and launch a constant stream of new products. “We will continue to review two to four products per year, and one specific for professionals,” Wong said of product development – a one to two year process. “But it has to be incremental for our business. He cannot cannibalize what we already have. And in the event of an event where a product could be cannibalized, we would like to make sure that it also attracts a new customer.

The executive lists North America, Italy, Germany, Spain and Asia – particularly China – as the top premium hair care markets today and in the future. “China is a $ 9 billion market,” she said. “The total premium hair care market is $ 77 billion. China already represents more than 10% of this total prestige.

Discussing the differences between the markets, Wong said, “North America and Europe see them more as damaged hair… because they do things to damage their hair. The Asian community doesn’t recognize that there is damage, but what they do recognize is that they can prevent the damage.

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