Don’t stylists know a brand has to be where the consumer is? Alterna Haircare, subsequently, is defending its July 8 appearance on QVC.

It seems the professional-only hair care brand (best known for its Caviar Hair Repair and Bamboo lines) upset hair stylists with its one-hour show, which aired from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. Pacific time. Alterna, a tightly-distributed salon brand, which also sells to Sephora and Ulta, received a dozen negative posts on its Facebook page by stylists and salon owners when they learned of the QVC news.

Alterna’s announcement of their appearance on QVC went up on Facebook at 1:31 p.m. on July 8, and asked fans and friends to “tune in to our first 1-hour show as we introduce 95 million QVC consumers to our products.” While the post received 43 “likes”, 12 comments (about half the total number of comments) were negative, ranging from “I’m thinking this is not good news” to “Alterna is selling out” to “what an awful thing to happen to a prestigious luxury line.”

Alterna met the backlash head on, reassuring stylists it remains a professional brand and that it sees QVC as “more awareness for our salons.”
Joan Malloy, President of Alterna, said the driving force behind going on QVC is to spotlight salons and to drive business through their doors. Alterna, which is owned by TSG Consumer Partners, has sales of approximately $40 million, according to sources.

“We would never do anything to alienate our salon partners. They’re the heart and soul of this brand. We’d like to get them to understand how QVC provides three things: awareness, education and demonstration. Selling on T.V. also creates these great sound bites that stick with the consumer. Our stylists should watch our QVC segments as it might even help them sell certain items that struggle a bit [on shelf].”

The issue of a professional-only brand selling to the masses via a shopping channel harkens back to when prestige beauty brands upended the status quo of selling solely in brick and mortar retailers to also include selling on T.V. Times have certainly changed. Today, selling on T.V. is often worked into a brand’s distribution strategy.

Alterna tested the home shopping waters in February with an 8-minute show. Monday’s appearance sparked concern as the show was announced on its Facebook page, unlike February’s stint.

Joan added that she did expect some concern from stylists about the QVC appearance but she wants it to be known that since entering Sephora in 2011, sales of Alterna in salons jumped 25 percent for the year.

“It creates awareness and builds demand. Bamboo, which we put in Sephora last year for the launch, did so well that we had stylists asking us to put Caviar [Hair Repair line] there as well.”