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Estetica's Exclusive Interview: Farouk Shami, A True Leader Who Cares

Tuesday, 14 November 2017 22:02

Successful entrepreneur and known for his humanitarian efforts, especially when, disaster strikes, Farouk Shami has announced an exciting partnership  between Farouk Systems and LG.

Farouk Shami and his worldwide family made of hairstylists from about 150 countries reunited once again at Farouk Systems Global Conference last month in Cancun (Mexico). There, we took the precious opportunity to meet with this legendary industry icon and talk about his entrepreneurial goals and all the amazing innovations taking place this year.

How do you feel about having your family of hairdressers around you here?
"Well, it’s really very exciting. Teaching and learning from each other, sharing our educational experiences. It’s very motivating for everyone. When we talk about innovation, innovation, innovation... that’s really our position in the world as a beauty company. Now with our new partnership with LG and the scientific resources that we now have access to and the artistic capabilities that Farouk Systems offers, nothing can stop us from becoming Number 1 worldwide. We have been Number 1 in the USA for the past ten years, and normally is difficult to become Number 1, but it’s even harder to stay Number 1. So that’s really where my focus lies: how can we remain Number 1 and become Number 1 worldwide?"

How did the incredible partnership between two companies like Farouk Systems and LG in South Korea come about?
"Actually, our distributorship in South Korea has been great. They sell BioSilk Silk Therapy like no one else. People love silk, they love the products that we make. And LG was very impressed. They are also in the professional beauty business: it’s a big company, worth about 165 billion dollars, but their profits in the beauty segment are much higher than in electronics. So they are interested in focusing on beauty. They like working in the United States, and they found out that Farouk Systems is Number 1 in the USA and that we could introduce them to the business. At the same time, for Farouk Systems, the reputation of LG in Asia, including China and South Korea, is amazing. So in 2018 we will be opening in China. Our prediction is to do 500,000 million in the first year."

Is it true that the next area of focus will be skin care?
"Yes, we will be introducing skin care over the next few months, because the demand for skin care in South Korea is huge. So we’re taking the best  technology and we’re making our own line under our brand name of Silk Therapy. It’s going to be some of the best skin care on the market, anywhere in the world. While this is a new segment for us, it’s not new for LG. And we’re working on other electronics, other surprises. Including tools. We will be working on a color machine as well. So we will talk about it in the future!"

We saw lots of innovations with the Royal Treatment line and well... we met Miss Universe here!
"Our relationship with Miss USA, Miss Teen, and Miss Universe dates back 15-16 years ago. We made the Miss Universe line, with all the girls from Miss  Universe using it, and it really expanded very well. Royal Treatment is a high-end line made with white truffle and silk. It’s a beautiful product, even with its packaging. Everyone loves it. You were the first hair product to use silk applied to the human body thirty years ago, especially to hair."

Tell us a bit about the success of BioSilk.
"When you read about silk and study it, learn more about it, it has 17 amino acids that can be found in hair and skin. And silk is positively charged and hair and skin is negatively charged, so they naturally attract each other. For hair repair, there is nothing better than silk. It’s the smoothest molecule that you can find, the strongest, the softest... it’s a luxury! It becomes an addiction. Silk Therapy has been the number one in the United States and Europe for the past 26 years now. And everyone copies it. We don’t have a problem with people copying us as long as we are the first. Our leadership is based on innovation. I can proudly say we have 30 patents, 25 of which are issued under my name, and five pending."

Which of your thirty patents are you the most proud of?
"We started as a color company. The true motivation for the existence of our company was to save hairdressers’ lives, since haircolor with ammonia and harsh chemicals is very, very dangerous. So we saved hairdressers’ lives by inventing SunGlitz and BioSilk hair color. SunGlitz was my first invention and first patent: a hair lightener. It put us on the moon, shall I say? People looked at us and considered us an innovative company. After that came BioSilk. Then we came out with the ceramic-ionic hair-dryer for CHI. We have had many other inventions, in haircolor especially. And we are preparing a big surprise for the market, hopefully by next year... we will make the easiest haircolor in inexistence!"

Will the next major innovation be in haircolor?
"It has to be in color, because color is still easy and simple, but most hairdressers don’t specialize in color. It’s mostly about formulation. We need to make it focus on the science and art. Because haircolor is the Number 1 service in salons worldwide, everybody is asking for color. And yet, color needs to be simpler and faster, and longer-lasting. And we will be the ones to do that..."

October was the first anniversary of the launch of Esquire Grooming. Tell us a bit about this venture.
"Esquire launched us in the men’s barbering category, where we had never been before. The name Esquire has been around for 84 years. So gentlemen are aware of it and know the name. It’s a high-end line that is moving very well in A-level, higher-end salons. Now we have a blow-dryer that’s for men only. It has a brush so a man needn’t use his wife’s blow-dryer. It’s having great success."

Everyone knows Farouk because of color and CHI for their tools. Tell us about the CHI Lava innovation.
"It’s a simple story. I was in Holland where we were doing education with my partner Bert, and we were in a restaurant and they recommended that I order steak cooked on a stone. And they serve you the steak on a piece of stone like marble. I thought it would cool off, but the waiter said that it would remain hot for an hour. So I asked if they could sell me the stone and they did. I brought the stone to our engineers, who cut it and used it as the plate on our irons. Because of all the minerals, the hair is so smooth and soft. Instead of heating only ceramic, you’re heating many different minerals that are good for hair and impart positive energy."

A true leader who cares
I want hairdressers to work in a safer environment. I want them to use better products, products that don’t damage hair or their health. And everybody respond to this. It’s a form of love between me and the hairdressers. It’s more than just a company: it’s a responsibility and a privilege to be a hairdresser and to be a leader. I need to always give back to this industry that I love. Without it I wouldn’t be where I am today."

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