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Gimme-5 with Leo & Franck Izquierdo: How IGK embraces the Rich Kid Attitude with kick-ass products

Tuesday, 22 November 2016 15:24

Millennials. They are SO misunderstood. IGK is a new treasure chest for the beauty junkies of the swift, uncommitted and free generation that now finance the majority of beauty business in the country.

What millennials love? A story. A visual story that can fit and adapt to our hectic lifestyle... and IGK is a brand that thrives in the concept of a kick-ass lifestyle.

IGK is a team of four innovative stylists from various parts of the globe, Chase Kusero, Frank Izquierdo, Leo Izquierdo and Aaron Grenia, from vastly different backgrounds unified in a single vision: to create products designed to fit the lives and needs of the client and hairstylist. By focusing on the needs of theirr clients, IGK blocks out the noise and deliver exactly what their look demands — easy solutions for the most current looks and cuts with multiple styling options.

The product lines are aimed to the salon professional and consumer, and are centered in the three main cities that there are IGK salons; NYC+LA+MIA, plus pop-up salons in culture capitals throughout the world. Every formula they create is inspired by the stylist, his signature city and the nuances of what's trending in that space and time.

We spoke to Leo and Franck Izquierdo brothers in their Miami Salon, who explained a bit about the process that lead to the product design and creation.

So tell us a bit about yourselves and then how you met Chase and Aaron.
"We are French, but we are a brand of four friends and we met ten years ago. Chase is from the West Coast and works with the big fish in Los Angeles. He was working in the celebrity crowd all day, but it is a category of celebrity that is really grungy but expensive, like Johnny Depp, Robin Williams, Sophia Ritchie, and all these new kids that arrived with an elegant rock and roll look. We were working for a product brand, were traveling around the U.S., and we were styling celebrities as well. When you do celebrity you built a career and clients. What happened with Leo, Aaron, Chase, and myself, was that we were sharing celebrities all the time, because when you have one in Miami then someone is there, when there’s one in NY, we have someone there too. So this is how we started the relationship between Chase and us. After all these years, we decided that we had to create a movement because nothing was really exciting for us. We were being artistic and involved in education but it was not really us. All the clients were using different products, which made it difficult. They had a different idea of what was being done at a hair salon. Professionally it’s amazing, but when you really look at what’s going on in the markets or in the street, there is a gap. So we decided it was time for us to create our own brand."

So what do you feel that you can do now that you have your own brand as opposed to working for a brand that you do not own?
"I think that we closed in on our consumer. We are more exciting for the hairdresser. And they have fun working with our product, and for the consumer, it is fun to use it. The first thing that we wanted to do was education, 100%. We were doing events in NY, and we had a hundred people coming to us for education like a pop-up class and we started that because we were really busy. We wanted to give these crazy kids education. To explain to them that, yeah, these crazy colors are cool but you cannot make money from that. It was just so different to our vision. Chase was from L.A., Aaron was from NY in the world of fashion, and we had just arrived from Paris. We knew that we were on a different page and shared the vision."

Which were the main challenges along the way?
"Well, the part that had us really frustrated was the concept of the product. We have to care because we have so many hair salons, in NY, Miami and L.A. Three strong cities that to 60 to 80 women a day – that’s about 2,000 girls a month. So we have a category of women, which is the area that frustrated us the most – what they want, we just didn't have it. The millennials all wanted coconut oil in the hair before they walked about, and we would get requests for these new idea of products that didn’t exist, so we developed it out of all of these frustrations, education, and social media. I think it was a wave, and we decided to ride it. We were strong on social media as well, so the fact that we have more than 20,000 followers, we get a lot of feedback, and then we started to bond. After we opened the salons and then we created the brand when we started talking to Luxury Brand Partners (LBP)."

When was the connection with LBP, how did that happen?
"We did the hair of Natalie Sterling and she worked for LBP at the time. They were carrying their own lines and I tried them, but I told them that it still didn’t fit, and that we were interested in creating our own brand. It happens. We’ve worked for Toni&Guy, then it was TIGI, then it was a couple of other brands; Aaron worked for L’Oréal, and after for Wella and Privee; and Chase was working for Sebastian and L’Oréal, so we had already done a lot. All this experience in education was useful to create something, because nothing is as cool as what we wanted, or really what it should be. So we flew in Chase and Aaron to Miami and we started to flirt with the idea. Say you have 10 products in the line, they’re strong. Some people don’t understand that in four months it’s too late as we already have new products for 2017, because we base it on trends and fashion. The product is what people are asking for right now, so after we met Natalie and Tev Finger, we had an amazing connection and they have something I really respect: they know how to do business, but they open minds of the hairdressers. We were immediately excited on both sides."

You guys have a very unique approach to style and the celebrity clients give you the digital exposure, so how do you attract your Millennial clients to not only buy product, but also keep them coming back?
"I think that Millennial consumers buy something because it’s good and because it's cool. They like social media and posting about the product, so the first thing they are going to do is take a photo, then post about it on Instagram. It’s really connected with the lifestyle, and within this lifestyle, there is a code. And this code is what you are going to wear and how you are going to look. We created a brand of products where people can recognize themselves in it. This is all about the names, packaging, and the story behind the product. Any young client will spend any kind of money on jeans, cars, glasses, wallets, but even the category of “Rich Kid” is something they associate with. Tattoo, piercing, they all have their own demon, and this is what motivates them to tie this into their social media. You need to play with them. They don’t trust or care, but they might not think of posting a selfie with their parent’s hair products."

For more information about IGK Hair and to discover the products please visit IGKhair.com

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