At the 2016 Davines World Wide Hair Tour, our very own Sergi Bancells had the opportunity to speak with Davide Bollati, the founder and chairman of Davines. Bollati shares his experiences throughout the course of the hair tour’s now-20 year life, and gives his insights for the future of Davines.
Davines’ World Wide Hair Tour is celebrating 20 years. So how have things changed from the first one to this one?
“The first one was more casual, more instinctive. We were looking for stylists who were not necessarily Davines stylists, but stylists who had interesting collections from different parts of the world, many of whom had very few clients. I remember that some of them went onto the stage with their own salon capes and it was much more informal. Today it is a real event with stylists from all over the world, a grand showcase of all things Davines and what stands behind it with a certain level of fidelity. The world of Davines stands for and shares specific values. So now we have a container to showcase these values, which is a lot of hard work, but is important for the company values.”
The launch of Your Hair Assistant is very exciting. It’s more than a standard line of new products, but that of a great artist Angelo Seminara, very heartfelt and with a level of craftsmanship that represents the history of Davines.
“Angelo is a great perfectionist and stylist and has earned our profound esteem for his vision. He is very demanding. He has put his products in the workshop and in the structure, and we are all happy. We think it is a very innovative product, to the point that all our tests and with all our training teams it has been proven to be quite revolutionary in terms of the working methods and reducing work time. It reduces brushing time, while increasing the brushing performance. I was surprised to hear experienced, successful hairdressers, who own salons and have 10-20-30 employees, say: ‘Goodness, I was convinced I knew how to do something, and instead with this product and technique I reduce my brushing time by 30 per cent.’ This is extraordinary, but now we’ve become used to the extraordinary.”
On a personal level, how pleased are you with the I Sustain Beauty project?
“I Sustain Beauty is still small – we’re still as the beginning with its first edition. But with the second edition it will become more important. Now that we have also launched the Davines B Corp Certification, we have become the first company to launch something like this in our industry worldwide. Putting together the B Corp project and the I Sustain Beauty, it’s a natural marriage, because B Corp also means using business as a force for good – for our suppliers, clients, and collaborators. In this case, I Sustain Beauty is something truly beautiful that enables us to be coherent with our corporate mission.”
How important is it for Davines to hold shows like this one in the United States?
“This is the leading market in the world. We began a few years ago with baby steps, but instead today we have taken off and it’s extraordinary how the American market is getting involved. Maybe because we represent something different from the American hairdressing culture. Let’s say that the dominant traditional American hairdressing culture, when it first meets Davines face-to-face, is perhaps a bit shocked. Instead today the reaction is extraordinary because we have hairdressers who love us. They have embraced us 100%, especially in markets that are more aware of these issues, like California –our most important market– but even in smaller states we have Davines salons that sustain beauty.“
Your head USA manager today promised that Davines products will never be found diverted.
“When it comes to diversion, Davines is a hard-liner. We track everything down and sometimes even have to change distributors, because we require a certain discipline to protect the work of all of us. We made a decision to remain in the world of hairdressers, so we take diversion very seriously as one of the worst things that can happen. The fact that we have a certain organic approach, well-balanced, not aggressive – and the fact that we are not particularly obsessed with growth makes it possible for us to control our distribution and avoid this type of dynamic. But it’s very difficult. We have to be very coherent and follow every minimum transfer and passage. The principle is very noble, but enforcing it is very difficult.“
What plans are there for education in the future?
“Let’s say there are two possibilities for growth in the American market: one is diversion, while the other is education. We chose education, which is also the most expensive. We believe we have worthwhile content, a company with established and useful values, for a world that is changing in our favour towards sustainability. So we feel we can take a further step in our educational service offerings, that go beyond knowledge to include the culture of Davines. We think this could be a winning culture – with this culture of using business as a force for good and sustainable beauty can save the world. This could be the perfect culture for high-end salons where we intend to position Davines here.”
What are the main challenges Davines will face in the future?
“The challenge is not to lose our way. Our main enemy is paranoia. If we cannot continue in our intent to improve with this positive spirit, to always want to do more and do it better. I think we have a brand name with a great potential for growth and can look forward to many satisfying achievements in the future. I think that currently we may be at 4% of the world market, so we have lots of room to grow coherently and in keeping with our values. Our challenge is to maintain our coherency, but we are going that.”
But you are hungry for growth…
“Of course! But the fact that we want to be the best all the time is something natural. As a business man, not wanting to grow means you don’t want to be a businessman. However, in my case, it’s not so much a matter of growing for the sake of growing, but growing with a certain level of quality. I like to say that we must deserve to grow. And we can deserve growth with projects for a higher purpose, and through battles worth fighting.”