Salon recommended hair care versus pharmacy/retail brands has always been a source of angst for this professional and working hairstylist whom also writes about the beauty industry. In an exclusive interview with the Long Island Hair Care Examiner on Monday, Nicole Desir, Vice President of Brand Management for Beanstalk, provided an insider’s perspective on the beauty brand business and the impact it has upon hair care.
Celebrities and beauty leaders are rushing to bring branded products to the market that offers consumers a unique, personal experience. Recent celebrity business ventures have signified a trend in the health and beauty industry of celebrities moving beyond product endorsements to branding products and in some instances, taking part ownership of the items they are endorsing, such as Jennifer Aniston and Katie Holmes.
For over ten years, Nicole Desir has been diligently toiling behind the scenes at Beanstalk, the Omnicom-owned licensing agency that represents world-class corporate brands such as Cover Girl and Max Factor, as well as celebrity clients including Salma Hayek, Paris Hilton, Iman, and Carmindy. Nicole is responsible for the strategy development and implementation of the Salma Hayek Health and Beauty program launched in the U.S. in 2011 exclusively at CVS Pharmacy, and was integral in the expansion of the Mary-Kate and Ashley licensing program into cosmetics and fragrances. Prior to joining Beanstalk, Nicole worked on brands such as Victoria’s Secret Beauty and Elizabeth Arden, and since joining Beanstalk more than ten years ago, has led various client programs.
Not long ago, this professional reviewed Alterna Haircare’s Caviar CC Cream, one of the latest beauty endeavors of Katie Holmes. Unfortunately, the hair care product didn’t perform up to par and received a poor assessment, not customary of the Long Island Hair Care Examiner. As this celebrity beauty trend continues to rise, and salon clients choose more affordable, yet less effective hair care, picking Nicole’s brain on the subject seemed apropos.
Long Island Hair Care Examiner: As a professional hairstylist and writer, I receive many samples of products. One that I have recently reviewed, which Katie Holmes put her stamp on, was Alterna Haircare’s Caviar CC Cream, and it was absolutely one of the worst products that I have ever used.
Nicole Desir: And that is the worst-case scenario. Anytime a celebrity puts their name on a product, they want the consumer to believe they have a right to be attached to that product. People start to question the reason behind the endorsement: is it just a business opportunity, etc.
I believe Katie Holmes has a stake in the company and she’s involved in the development of Alterna Hair Care and the marketing of the product. She is the co-owner and spokesperson. Did you feel the same about Living Proof?
Long Island Hair Care Examiner: I haven’t actually tried Living Proof and I have to say, I am nervous about that because I am a huge Jennifer Aniston fan, and I am afraid I won’t like it.
This is a big issue for professional hairstylists. We use and recommend professional products, yet we are constantly battling the brand names that get celebrity endorsements. We have a line that we promote from soup to nuts, such as shampoo, color, styling products, etc., so that it all works synergistically. Salon products are of course slightly more expensive than pharmacy/retail brands, however Alterna Haircare is in the same pricing stratosphere as professional products. If you are going to waste that money on a subpar product, then spend it on a better brand that is recommended by your hairstylist. Professional hairstyle brands guarantee the product, but they are not mass marketed, which is why they cost more.
So the problem arises when a client asks for a hair product recommendation, but then they find something cheaper and less effective. It may provide immediate results, but not the prolonged conditioning effects of salon recommended items. We are talking about celebrity branding etc., but in the professional beauty world there are better products. Should the salon brands go out and use celebrities to market their products?
Nicole Desir: I certainly understand your frustration and appreciate your passion. We at Beanstalk have certainly looked at the professional space to see if there is a way for the celebrity stylist and the celebrity to create something targeted for professionals. I do think the professional audience is a unique one. You are exposed to so many more products and have a different level of experience and obviously expertise than the average consumer. There is an opportunity here to use the celebrity and the celebrity stylist, which is such an important relationship. Imagine what a powerful partnership that could be, but it’s going to take the right product with the most authentic, viable person to be able to articulate the brand. It’s an exciting time in the beauty category to watch how it is evolving right now.
As always, the Long Island Hair Care Examiner only recommends salon quality, professional products. Feel free to email for recommendations.
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The author receives no compensation from any PR Firm for the above recommendation and is not responsible for any effects, positive or negative, that may occur. Follow Deirdre on Twitter, like her on Facebook fan page, Ask the Pro, read her hair care and beauty blog or email her any questions or comments.