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Estetica's Exclusive Interview: Aveda's Dominique Conseil

Sunday, 07 September 2014 15:32

The Aveda Global President talks about corporate stategies and sustainability in today's world, and what it means to continue cultivating the profound legacy of an industry icon.

In 2000, Dominique Nils Conseil, joined Aveda as Global President and never looked back. This multi-lingual native of Sweden immediately embraced the company's mission to uphold the daunting legacy of legendary Aveda founder, Horst Rechelbacher.

Tell us about the Aveda mission.
"Since 1978, our founder Horst Rechelbacher wanted to bring to beauty professionals and their guests products that would be best for them as well as for the Earth and its communities. The first verb in the Mission, “to care”, is central to Aveda’s values system. At Aveda, it is not Beauty unless it is also Good. We believe we can change the world by changing the way the world does business. It starts by changing the way we do business."

Since becoming President in 2000, which challenges have been most gratifying?
"Aveda has proven that it is possible to produce high-performing products while being environmentally responsible and financially successful. In 2000, Aveda was of the few voices of socio-environmental responsibility within the beauty industry. In the decade that followed, Aveda's initiative undoubtedly triggered the emergence of corporate responsibility in the beauty industry and increased sustainability disclosure. A good example here is that we were the first beauty company to introduce 100% post-consumer recycled PET into our product packaging, setting a precedent for other beauty brands to follow."

How has Aveda grown in the United States and the World since you assumed leadership?
"The brand is almost six times larger in sales revenues. In natural hair care, the United States stands out because of Aveda's spectacular footprint. Aveda enjoys a leading 27.6% share of the U.S. natural hair care market. Aveda also went from being almost exclusively North American to becoming global with successes in major markets like the UK and Japan."

Developments in store for the near future?
"We will not develop 'me-too' products that are already in oversupply in the market. Rather, we identify compelling global consumer and professional needs in which Aveda’s core values and vision can offer a meaningful base for differentiation. Our founder Horst used to say 'I am not me-too, I am how-to'. Our latest innovation and a global bestseller, Invati™ Solutions for Thinning Hair, is a spectacular example of this, becoming a significant growth driver for the brand and having a positive impact on the lives of many of our guests. I am confident that Invati™ and further innovations of this kind will continue to attract new, lifelong brand loyalists."

What exactly was Horst Rechelbacher's legacy?
"Horst led a life of extraordinary leadership, bringing holistic beauty to the industry. He was a life-long student who journeyed around the world gathering knowledge on the benefits of plants and Ayurveda, the ancient healing art of India. Wherever you are in the world, Aveda salon and spa professionals see beauty as a craft, not as a product result. They are unique in their pursuit of a higher art, of helping to make their clients not only look beautiful, but feel beautiful. Beauty is as Beauty does. To us, Beauty is not just a result, but also the process followed in pursuit of that result. This is Horst’s legacy."

What changes do you hope to make in the world with Aveda's green initiatives?
"Aveda believes that economic and environmental goals can be synergistic. We are committed to doing more with less and promoting better stewardship of resources. We celebrate being better today than yesterday, and know that our human engine will take us farther in addressing our sustainability challenges, so that we can continue to look forward to tomorrow."

How important is it to have an education team with some of the greatest artists in the industry?
"Education is everything in a professional business. Our culture of education and mentorship at Aveda –including the incredible talent and technical skill of our Aveda Global Artistic Team– ensures that today’s Aveda stylists will inspire future generations. We remain true to the belief of our founder that you should strive to learn and always be a student, no matter how experienced or talented you are."

What is Antoinette Beenders's role within Aveda?
"Empowering Antoinette to be the creative voice of Aveda is the best decision I've made. She helps us tremendously in all parts of business, with her perfectionism, ability to think through, and rare talent to tell a story with every image. Antoinette Beenders also drives the creative vision behind our brand. Whether on a Vogue Italia editorial shoot, backstage at New York Fashion Week, developing new styling products or creating the continuing education pieces to inspire stylists and students throughout Aveda’s global network, she holds true to her vision and conscience."

How important is color and color care in Aveda's business strategy?
"Color and color care is hugely important to us. Our groundbreaking approach to hair color began over 15 years ago with a search for natural ingredients that would deliver optimal, fade-resistant color. The result was Aveda’s Full Spectrum Hair Color in 1998. With its certified organic conditioning oils, Full Spectrum empowers creative colorists to realize their hair color vision and provides an enjoyable experience to their guests. We continue the growth and expansion of Full Spectrum Hair Color to the Aveda network of salons and are increasing the number of Exclusive Aveda Hair Color Salons."

What was a pivotal point in your career?
"From the moment I joined Aveda, I knew nothing in business would ever be the same again. I had to reinvent myself as a business leader, becoming a humble and persistent student of socio-environmental responsibility. It was also a pivotal point in my personal life, as for many who were touched by Horst Rechelbacher, who picked me to lead 'his daughter Aveda' as he said. Living with a deeper sense of responsibility is an extraordinary growth opportunity on the long journey to enhanced awareness."

What is your personal message to US professionals and the future of the industry?
"I would like beauty professionals to feel prouder for the immense difference they make to our fellow human beings by bringing beauty into their lives. Beauty professionals are healers who touch on our most sacred center, our sense of self esteem, which makes everything possible for us to accomplish. Thank you all."

Dominique Conseil, Worldly Leader

"As the world gets closer to touching upon the limitations of its natural resources, Aveda will only become more relevant. Equally timeless is Aveda’s holistic philosophy of beauty. . . I joined Aveda because I found its Mission both personally meaningful to me and relevant to the business era we live in. I felt it was my personal mission to nurture this very special brand culture."

 

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