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Gimme-5 with Andrew Dale, UNITE Haircare Founder & CEO

Wednesday, 10 December 2014 18:44

At the UNITE Global Session 2014 in San Diego, Andrew Dale, UNITE Haircare Founder and CEO, welcomed over 1,000 hairstylists to what would be 4 days of informative discussions, education and displays of creativity and fashion. Estetica Magazine got the opportunity to discuss over lunch the vision he has for the hairdressing industry, the importance of branding and how he sees the future of UNITE.

Do you find it difficult to consider yourself a boutique brand?
"Interesting. Would you call the W Hotel a boutique hotel? I would. I think when you walk into a W Hotel it gives the boutique feeling. They’re everywhere, all over the world but it gives the boutique feeling. I believe boutique doesn’t mean size, I think it means feeling. I’ve always really felt that. Gucci is worldwide, you walk into a boutique and they’re all the same. Gucci is a massive brand – but it’s a feeling opposed to the size. This is UNITE's 11th year: my background included work for other companies, but after that I sat back and thought, “You know what I think I could do this.” I didn’t want to do just about another shampoo. It was about a brand for hairdressers. I didn’t see too many brands that hairdressers controlled. I thought: let’s try and do this slowly, hold on to it. Not try and burst out of the gate. I think we’ve done very well with our message from day one."

Why UNITE and not branding it “Andrew Dale” products?
"I didn’t really want my name branded on everything. It’s not about me. If I can help the hairdresser grow their business and make money. That’s all I need to do. The word “UNITE” really came from hairdressers uniting together. It may seem a little bit corny but it’s not. It’s a simple name but UNITE is really what we are all about. I want hairdressers to succeed. I want hairdressers to grow."

How important is for UNITE to be linked to the fashion’s world and working with so many session hair artists?
"Session work really has a big part in what UNITE does. I love the fact there are many session hairstylists around the world using UNITE products and UNITE hairdressers working backstage in countless shows. A celebrity session stylist that uses UNITE products that we are proud of is the amazing Kevin Ryan who has worked with magazines such as Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, I-D, Time and many more. So you see this is where UNITE and fashion really bound together very well. It helps us in new development of new products that we want to use. We also believe that when hairdressers start working with hair in a more creative way during session work, it gives them some great ideas for hair cutting, shapes, techniques and working with different hair in different ways."

Your Paramount Business programs are really successful… Why?
"Because our goal is hairdressers that attend our business seminars they are able to add a minimum of 10 percent to their revenue by the end of the year. This is important, really important for us. We organize our seminars as break down classes. So we’ve got tables of eight. And the first thing we do is getting salons to start thinking like brands rather quickly. When you start thinking of yourself as a brand, you automatically think that you are business. You have to think of the brand first. A business can become cold, a brand becomes exciting."

What are some of your best branding tips?
"I think what we go through with branding is we get them to look at other brands to start off with. We first get them to look at pictures like a Prada ad, a Tom Ford ad, an Apple ad, a Nike ad and we don’t put the name of the company in it. We just say, “You obviously know who is this, right?” Branding becomes consistency. Branding is like an ongoing campaign. If you’ve got a website, business cards, salon venue, color theme within the salon should be all the same throughout. Hairdressers really tend to want things to happen within 45 minutes... it’s just how we are and what we do all the time! It is really getting them to focus on their branding."

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