Shauky Gulamani is the man behind the amazing success of FHI Brands. Shauky spoke to ESTETICA about his amazing innovations, goals & inspiration.
Shauky Gulamani joined FHI Heat as Shareholder and President in January 2012 and within a few years transformed the hair tool company into a multi-million dollar global brand: FHI Brands. Shauky’s experience and ability to create thriving, groundbreaking brands comes from his artistry as a hairdresser, salon owner, educator, sales agent and distributor.
Since taking the helm of FHI Heat, in 2012, Shauky has filled a void in the professional market with his leadership and innovations, particularly the Stylus™. This now legendary inventor shares with us his vision for the brand and the industry.
After 13 years in the beauty industry, what’s going on with FHI Brands?
“Our goal for 2016 is to look at every one of our business units and really focus with each on how to expand the products that already exist. We are also looking to expand on the international market. We are already in the USA, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Australia, Hong Kong, UK, Italy, Spain, Poland, Holland, France, and South Africa. And we’re looking now to expand in other European countries as well as more Asian markets.“
What do you think is the secret for the success of FHI Brands?
“It’s being consistent, the quality of our products, and always being on the forefront of innovation. Another key concept for FHI Brands is simplification. To simplify means envisioning things from a hairdresser’s point of view, so that they understand every tool perfectly. Of course, we provide consistent and constant education to professionals so they can make the most out of each of our products.“
Let’s talk about the Stylus™ revolution. How do you feel about what happened last year after launching of Stylus™?
“Well, with Stylus™ we actually created a whole new category, an amazing tool that did not exist in the beauty industry. There was no thermal heated brush on the market prior to the Stylus™. And because of the success of Stylus™, now we’re extending the brand to the Blow-Out dryer, which we launched in January and is doing phenomenal. In March we presented the Stylus Successor, which is the new generation of Stylus™ – which works on a dual heating system. On that note, we are also working on five new items in the Stylus™ brand, and we came out with 12 products with the Stylus™ liquid line that we launched in March as well. So we see Stylus™ becoming a very strong aggressive brand for us with new technology and enormous opportunities in the global market.“
Stylus™ sold out in days… and that wasn’t the first time for you. How do you feel the first days after launching a new product?
“Well, the key thing for me is that, when I create a product, I always develop it from a hairdresser’s point of view. It’s interesting that when we launched the Stylus™ and I started to talk about the tool, hairdressers who heard about it caught on to the idea immediately! The reason is simple: we always had them in mind while we were developing the Stylus™.“
Another revolutionary concept you launched 6 months ago is Neo Bond™.
“Yes, and we are very happy that a big company like JCPenney with more than 1,000 salons has chosen Neo Bond™ over all the other options on the market: they tested six products and they thought that Neo Bond™ was the strongest one that tested out. They had 65 of their top key educators test it and then overwhelming decision was that the resulting texture of hair was better than with the other products, and the process was simplified as the developer needn’t be adjusted. Ours can be used with all chemical services to prevent damage before it can even begin. The concept is that it creates new bonds and buffers existing ones, delivering added elasticity, strength, enhanced condition and suppleness.“
Tell us about the new generation of blow dryers and the recent launch of BlowOut.
“A lot of hairdressers are doing blowouts and more blow-styling in the salon, and the traditional blow-dryers are not ergonomically designed with service in mind. So the first thing I did as a hairdresser was to hold it the blow-dryer by the nozzle. So I thought: ‘Why not make a dryer that doesn’t have a handle and make the nozzle ergonomically designed so that I can hold it much more comfortably while doing my blowouts?’ And the other thing we did was to take the concentrators and actually make new ones that are diagonal. Now when I am doing a blowout, I am holding it ergonomically, with no undue tension in my shoulders or my hands. So we simplified and made it better for the hairdresser to perform the services. The biggest issue we face as hairdressers is carpal-tunnel and not being able to continue doing blow-outs. So my honest goal is simple: ‘How do we make products that will make our job as hairdressers easier and better to do?‘“
How do you envision your business both in the USA and in the international arena in the next few years?
“In the U.S. I’m really looking to double our business this year. As far as international expansion is concerned, this is obviously all new business and I think that’s going to come from the innovation and the success of the Stylus™ and Stylus Successor. These items don’t exist in the beauty market, so what we are really doing is building new categories: we are not competing against other brands, we’re introducing a new one.“
You admit that one of the secrets of your success is being first a hairdresser. Another one is that you never stop…
(Laughs) “Right… and I don’t plan to! I truly care about my fellow hairdressers, so there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t immerse myself in a supreme effort to break barriers and push our industry forward.“
We even see you sharing your knowledge and inspiration on social media every single day, including weekends…
“Yes! Knowing I can contribute is what wakes me up each morning. I think what keeps me motivated is that when I do that sharing I get many comments back from people, mostly hairdressers and consumers who message me saying, ‘Thank you for developing this,’ or ‘thank you for making my life easier.’ They keep me going everyday, to continue creating things that will help this industry.“
What are your five-year goals for FHI Brands?
“This is a unique company, so I hope FHI Brands will be the biggest name in the professional beauty industry, always striving to stay on top and on the cutting-edge of technology and innovation.“