Almost 40 years ago, good friends and colleagues John Paul DeJoria and Paul Mitchell decided to create a hair care company. With only $700 they opened a post office box, and used a female friend to be the voice on their pre-recorded answering machine greeting. Their first products were printed in just two colors – black and white – because it was inexpensive.
They were the originators of many products, like tea tree oil shampoo and Baby Don’t Cry, a tearless formula, and highly-ethical formulations. (They were one of the original professional beauty companies to not test on animals.) They also opened a number of Paul Mitchell Schools and salons – over 5,000 globally to date.
Fast-forward several decades and the company is still thriving, and remains ahead of the curve, and privately owned. And this month the brand breaks another barrier with the launch of Color+ Craft, a customized home color system. Andrea Espinoza, Marketing Manager for Professional Hair Color at John Paul Mitchell Systems, took a few moments to talk to Beauty Insider about the effort, which will hit all Paul Mitchell salons by the end of 2017.
Beauty Insider: What can you tell us about this new product?
Andrea Espinoza: Prescribed only by a licensed professional in a salon environment, Color Craft is an at-home hair color treatment, available in eight shades designed to enhance shine and increase vibrancy. It’s comprised of a liquid color concentrate and color treatment that is formulated to blend together for customizable color that does everything from adjusting tonality to extending the life of your existing color between visits. It takes only five minutes to use and washes out over time.
BI: Why was this product conceived?
AE: We are always trying to find new ways to be innovative and creative. In the hair industry there isn’t much opportunity to do that. The loyal customer in the salon is the hair color consumer. We found that 52 percent of our guests are trying to stretch their color longer than six weeks. Color Craft seemed like the perfect solution to help them do that. We thought, why not create a system where the salon could premix the perfect matching color for them to take home, which would prolong their color and protect their investment.
BI: Why is color something that’s of interest?
We have seen a surge in a desire for color conditioners and cleansers. We also saw an expanding trend for customization. We’ve seen this in fashion, but only in the last few years in skin care. It makes sense this should translate to hair care where it’s very specific for each individual. It took a year and half to create. We moved quickly because we know the professional market place moves incredibly fast. Hundreds of new products are introduced each week, and we wanted to be first to market with a unique customizable color product.
BI: What’s the marketing plan?
We’ll be doing salon demonstrations, and using still and video imagery of before and after of real customers online and at the salon. We’ll also be taking to social media; we’ve found that Instagram and Facebook give us the greatest response. We have some trade advertising planned, which will be our first roll out, and once the brand has legs, it will make sense to move into consumer advertising and target the consumer as well.
BI: Is there a new strategy in place?
AE: The brand heritage offers products that are created for stylists. This collection marks the first time their color line has been offered at-home. By introducing a customizable product, we are sharing ownership in the coloring process between the stylist and consumer, while still driving consumers in salon to receive the customized formulation that is developed by a stylist. This collection is able to be utilized on everyone and creates additional revenue in between salon visits with purchase of the at-home Color Craft kit.